2021 Year in Review

U.P. Nonprofit Conference Returns

Grow & Lead hosted the 2021 U.P. Nonprofit Conference in October. Seventy- seven organizations, represented by 112 individuals, came together to learn, network and be inspired.

Keynote speaker Brad Gingras presented on intergenerational communication. His message and humor set a strong foundation for the day.

Nine workshops were held on topics including communication, evaluation, frauds and scams, fund development, grants and volunteer recruitment. The day closed with a session on gearing up for GivingTuesday.

Support from donors and sponsors helped keep registration rates low for all attendees and provide 15 scholarships to members that needed financial assistance to attend.

Honoring Outstanding Students Without Gathering

In April, Grow & Lead hosted the 28th annual Excellence in Education Week awards program. Instead of an in-person event, a full-color, magazine-style booklet recognized 48 area high school seniors for their academic achievement. A section on each student included their future plans and the educator that made the biggest impact in their schooling. In addition, the booklet highlighted 25 Marquette and Alger county educators that received professional development awards to further academic training or enhance classroom activities. A digital version of the booklet is available for download on the Grow & Lead website’s Excellence in Education page.

Kicking off Giving season with #give906

Giving Tuesday, an international day of generosity, has continued to grow in the Upper Peninsula, with 2021 being a big year for participation.

Grow & Lead again coordinated the region’s official Community Campaign, #give906. Through this initiative, a giving guide on give906.org, was created that allowed U.P.-based nonprofits to post their projects and links. Media throughout the region shared information on the site, making it simple for donors interested in learning more about GivingTuesday to find opportunities in one place.

Additionally, Grow & Lead supported participating organizations by posting content on social media, hosting bi-weekly planning coffee chats and providing one-on-one assistance to answer any questions they had regarding the campaign.

Making a Difference to Our Members

Grow & Lead is grateful for our member organizations. It is a privilege to work alongside passionate people, helping them stretch their capacity to expand services, reach more people and deepen community impact. Here are two of the amazing organizations we had the pleasure of assisting in 2021.

Caregiver Incentive Project (CIP) works toward ending the national shortage of qualified in-home caregivers. Its mission is to educate the public on the need for caregivers, provide financial incentives to prospective caregivers and provide training for new caregivers.

Founder Eric Paad was inspired to form the nonprofit by his daughter Dorothy Paad, an active college student who requires 24/7 care. Eric reached out to Grow & Lead for help establishing CIP. Staff has continued to coach Eric as the organization has grown.

“Grow & Lead’s advice, coaching, connections and assistance has been well thought out, spot on and actionable,” according to Eric.

Since obtaining 501c3 designation in Spring 2019, CIP has established a scholarship fund for those entering the field and launched a Caregiver Academy which provides training to caregivers. CIP recently received support from Michigan Health Endowment Fund to develop a “caregiver pipeline,” a model to recruit, train and place caregivers that can be replicated throughout the state.

“CIP would not be the successful organization we are today without the outstanding people at Grow & Lead,” Eric said.

MATI: Masonic Arts, Theatre & Innovation Company has gone from concept to bustling creative hub in under two years. Based in the Masonic Building in Marquette, MATI was formed to create space for artists of all mediums to hone their crafts and share their artistic innovation and vision with the public.

MATI offers use of the building’s 296-seat theatre, commercial kitchen, banquet room, studio space and more. Its Masonic Arts Theatre Fellowship has produced three theatrical productions this year and has five slated for 2022. MATI recently conducted a successful Patronicity campaign with funds matched by Michigan Economic Development Corporation to support a mobile drive-in theatre.

MATI Executive Director Ryan Engle says they can set up the drive-in, including a 16 by 28 ft. screen, anywhere there is a power source. This summer, they took the show on the road to Newberry.

“The drive-in has been great for families during the pandemic because they can tune in by radio in their own cars,” Ryan said.

Grow & Lead has provided MATI with assistance in establishing IRS tax-exempt status, strategic planning and continued consulting.

“The support we’ve received from Grow & Lead has been invaluable,” according to Ryan. “We wouldn’t have gotten from an idea to where we are without them.”

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