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Community Foundation supports SC4 housing project

Posted on June 6, 2017

The Community Foundation has agreed in principle to provide $750,000 in financing to St. Clair County Community College to support a new student housing development in downtown Port Huron.

The college recently announced plans to acquire a building in downtown Port Huron, just a short walk from campus, which they will renovate and convert into the college’s first student dormitory. 

The funding from the Community Foundation will be structured as a low-interest loan repayable within ten years.  Mike Cansfield, board chair of the Community Foundation, said, “The Foundation has a strong interest in expanding our regional impact by occasionally tapping into our investment funds to make low interest loans such as this.”

The Community Foundation is the largest grantmaking organization in the Blue Water Region, and in 2016 provided more than $2 million in total grants. However, the Foundation has almost $63 million in assets under management, including real property and significant investment holdings. To complement its grant making programs, the Foundation occasionally utilizes low interest loans, separate from its grantmaking efforts, to expand local impact. 

“Mission Investing is making quite a bit of news on the national front,” added Cansfield. “Just recently the Ford Foundation in New York announced it was setting aside $1 billion for mission related investments. While we don’t have that level of financing, we are willing to tap into our invested funds from time-to-time to support local projects that impact our strategic priorities.”

The Community Foundation’s top strategic priority is Community & Economic Prosperity. Within that category, the Community Foundation has collaborated with donors to support significant projects such as the courtyard in St. Clair, the Marine City boutique hotel, and the Blue Water River Walk.

Under its Mission Investing Program, the Foundation has also made low interest loans to support improvements to the Atrium Café, Casey’s Pizza & Sub Shop and field improvements for the Emmett Little League. 

Higher education is a competitive market and students make college decisions based on location, cost, academic programs offered and the overall collegiate experience. Housing offers students a greater connection to campus and boosts overall satisfaction, retention and persistence toward degree-attainment.

The Huron Avenue location of the proposed housing project will also extend the SC4 campus into downtown among the restaurants and businesses, and further identify the city as a college town.

“Mission investments allow us to stretch our assets and increase our impact,” Cansfield said. “And we are really excited about the vision of the college to offer student housing and help turn Port Huron into a college town.”

View Mission Investing Frequently Asked Questions as well as the Foundation’s current Priority Areas.


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