To help get to know the Michigan Rural Network as individuals and organizations, the MRN will post a profile of a member organization every week. This week’s member organization is The Barry Community Foundation.

The Barry Community Foundation was formed in 1995 and is one of 65 community foundations in the state of Michigan. Over the course of this time it has been able to build assets to nearly $17 million to fund a wide array of local initiatives. The Foundation is moving away from reactionary grant making towards a model of focus-driven grant making to help identify and make sure all the aspects of community life are being developed.

The Foundation partners with a few other agencies to help contribute to the HomeTown Partnership effort in Barry County. The HomeTown Partnership model of community development is based on the 4 pillars of Community Assets, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Youth. The Foundation helps invest community assets and time into these pillars. One recent achievement is the partnership receiving funding from the Michigan College Access Network to help build the Youth pillar of the community. With access to this network, Barry County youth will have access to post secondary admission/selection advising, financial aid advising, scholarship and grant opportunities, early awareness programs and college site visits.

Working with other organizations in the county, the Barry Community Foundation shows how a rural community can work towards becoming self-sustaining by building community support and forming partnerships.

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