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Dear Friends of the Bay Harbor Foundation,

The Bay Harbor Foundation has worked for nearly twenty years to address the immediate needs of the Little Traverse Bay Region, and we are fast approaching $3,000,000 in funding provided to nonprofit organizations operating in Emmet and Charlevoix Counties since our founding in 2003. As we work to meet immediate needs, we have also been striving to reduce future needs by inspiring the workers and leaders of tomorrow to reach for the training and education that will ensure their success for many years to come.

Education has long been touted as a way to increase one’s odds of earning a good income, and in 2008 we created the Bay Harbor Foundation Scholar Program to help young men and women achieve their dream of a college education. Since then, we have distributed more than $660,000 in scholarships through this program and have supported 197 undergraduate college students. More than 80% of these students have come from Emmet and Charlevoix Counties and many have returned to the area after college to pursue their careers.

We are proud of the success of our grant awards and scholarship programs, and are now working to further address community needs by creating a vocational scholarship program, which will help young people and adults working in Bay Harbor who wish to “reskill” or “upskill” so that they can obtain better jobs in critical fields. The importance of these trades programs cannot be overstated, and they present a wonderful opportunity to those who long for a well-paying job, but lack the time or resources to pursue a four-year degree.

Our work can’t succeed without the generous support of donors like you. Over the last two years we have been working hard to find additional ways to keep our overhead low so that you can be certain that your gift will have the greatest possible impact on the needs of the Little Traverse Bay Region.

Please help us continue our work and expand our mission now and in the future.


Candace Fitzsimons
Executive Director

Our Mission

We are a charitable, nonprofit community organization dedicated to helping our neighbors through donations, grants, programs and professional mentoring. We operate with the highest level of financial integrity and are trusted by both our donors and our recipient organizations.

The Mission of the Bay Harbor Foundation is always foremost in our hearts and minds as we work to improve the quality of life experience in the Little Traverse Bay Region  The Foundation continues to make a difference by strengthening our community one person at a time.  We work diligently to follow the needs of the community, and we take great care to make sure that we are meeting those needs.

 The Bay Harbor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Our federal identification number is 37-1491024.


In 2003 a group of Bay Harbor property owners, business owners and employees who wanted to make Northern Michigan a better place, came together to address their desire to channel charitable efforts through what would become the Bay Harbor Foundation.

 In 2008, the we created the Bay Harbor Foundation Scholar Program. Since then, we have awarded 331 scholarships totaling more than $680,000. 

207 individual students have benefitted from these scholarships. 82% of our recipients were residents of Emmet and Charlevoix County, and most attended colleges and univestities within Michigan.

In total, the Bay Harbor Foundation has provided nearly $3,000,000 in grants and scholarships to help improve the quality of life for people in the Little Traverse Bay Community.

2023 Board of Directors
Jason Allen, Chairman
Mac Waldorf, Vice Chairman
Rod Phillips, Treasurer
Trish LaPorte, Secretary
 Kathy Abrash David V. Johnson Judy Phillips
Debra Goodman  Scot Morrison James T. Ramer  
 Michael Higgins    Craig Stolzenfels

Bay Harbor Foundation Staff

Candace Fitzimons, Executive Director
Christy Schneider, Administrative Assistant


Our Board Members Share Why They Like Being a Part of the Bay Harbor Foundation


"Being on the Board of the Foundation provides an opportunity to serve the community in which I spend my summer months. Bay Harbor isn’t my primary residence, but I still feel it’s important to support a diverse range of organizations that have a high impact lifting up the Northern Michigan Community."
Mac Waldorf, Vice Chairman


"As residents of Northern Michigan we have always wanted a vehicle to help where we could. The Bay Harbor Foundation has been that vehicle."
Rod Pillips, Treasurer


"It’s so important to give back in Northern Michigan. Working with the Scholar Program has been wonderful, because we are making such a difference for kids working in our Bay Harbor community. I’m excited that we are expanding our scholarship awards and that we’re moving into providing new vocational scholarships. This will also make a difference in the quality of life for people working in the Bay Harbor Community."
Kathy Abrash


"I’ve always enjoyed serving the community, and especially in Northern Michigan there is such a need to give back."
Debi Goodman


"We’re a hands on group dealing on a basic level to help the local community. We’re all involved, all struggling to make a difference. We’re a small organization, with a small Board that is down in the weeds doing the work, and I’m proud of the work we are doing."
Jim Ramer