Upper Peninsula Across the River at DuskThe highlight of the grantmaking season so far was Laurie and Terry’s trip to the Upper Peninsula—and not just because of the scenery. They were up north to visit community foundation grantees as well as attend the Pediatric Obesity Round Table hosted by the Superior Health Foundation. The weather was spectacular, grantee partners were more than gracious, and the Health Fund developed a strong network of potential new partners for our activities in the U.P.

At the end of 2015 we made grants to 5 community foundations in the U.P. We met with three of them on this trip: Marquette County Community Foundation, M&M Area Community Foundation in Menominee, and Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula (a consortium of most of the rest of the UP).

In Marquette we attended class at one of the local elementary schools where they were conducting the PE-Nut (Physical Education and Nutrition) program. The program was an interactive activity based learning about what to eat and why—we had almost as much fun as the kids. As Laurie has become very fond of saying, “little dudes rock!”

The Community Foundation for the Upper Peninsula was in the middle of their regranting process, so while we didn’t have the opportunity to see any of their programs in action, we developed a good understanding of the breadth of activities and geography covered by the Foundation.

Finally, our third community foundation visit was the backpack program out of the Carney Nadeau schools, which we covered in a recent blog post: Supporting Food Security in the Upper Peninsula.

In addition to our grantee visits, the Pediatric Obesity Round Table provided us outstanding contacts for future grantmaking. The meeting featured providers and health leaders from across the region, and the day was spent discussing solutions to a wide range of health issues facing children in the U.P.

While the main purpose of the meeting was to assist the Superior Health Foundation with its 2016 focused grant program, the meeting also provided a chance to really understand the issues and key players making improving health outcomes in their communities.

The Health Fund is committed to learning from our grantmaking, our grantees, and our state’s diverse communities. Keep watching the blog for the latest lessons from our site visits across Michigan!

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