Come Home Award program lures St. Clair native home again

Posted on August 28, 2017

For the past decade, Erin Raymond has dreamed of returning home to St. Clair. This summer, her dream became a reality with the help of a $5,000 Come Home Award from the Community Foundation. 

The “Come Home” reverse scholarship program is an innovative talent attraction program launched by the Community Foundation in 2016.  It pays recent college grads with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) degrees up to $10,000 to move back to St. Clair County to live and work.

Erin Raymond and her husband, Charlie, recently bought a house in their hometown of St. Clair. “After graduating college, both of us were unable to find jobs locally, so we headed to New York. Our main goal has always been to get back to our roots and be near our families,” Raymond said.

Raymond added, “Now that we have twin toddlers, we want so badly for them to grow up knowing their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all happen to be the same age.”

Raymond has a master’s degree in reading and literacy and will be starting at Marysville Middle School this fall as a STEM teacher.

But it wouldn’t have been possible for Raymond to receive the $5,000 award, which will pay off student loans and help with moving expenses, without support from donors.

Raymond is the latest of six college grads to receive the Come Home Award.

This particular Come Home Award was funded by St. Clair area donors who want college grads to move back to St. Clair. And this is only one example about how those donors use their multiple endowment funds with the Community Foundation to support their hometown.

“The method and mean of charitable giving are evolving and having a local Community Foundation, which can help a donor meet their charitable giving plan and provide innovative ideas such as the Come Home Award, is a great asset for both the donor and the community,” said Will Oldford, Community Foundation trustee and president of Eastern Michigan Bank.

“By creating a fund, a donor can impact an area that is important to them, such as providing an incentive to help ease a financial burden for the next generation in exchange for younger people setting up roots in our community,” Oldford added.


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