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Partnerships promote tourism

Posted on May 27, 2014

As the tourism season began last Memorial Day weekend in Michigan’s Thumb Region, three community foundations and Northstar Bank have joined forces to support cross marketing and advertising efforts.

The groups are hoping to expand their support for tourism by placing 4 mobile touch-screen kiosks at locations in Sanilac and Huron County.  The first kiosk was placed Friday, May 23rd at the Lexington Welcome Center.

The mobile kiosks feature tourism websites that cover the three counties:, produced by the Blue Water Visitors & Convention Bureau; produced by the Huron County Economic Development and produced by the Sanilac Tourism Council.

According to Joan Nagelkirk, director of the Sanilac County Community Foundation, the mobile touch-screen kiosks will initially be placed at the Revolution Café in Harbor Beach, the Port Sanilac Welcome Center, the Lexington Welcome Center, and in the care of the Sanilac Tourism Council who will rotate their kiosk between area festivals and fairs.

The $11,000 cost for the two-year pilot program was funded partially by Northstar Bank, with locations throughout the region, and by the Trina Buskirk Fund and the Oldford Family Fund, donors to the Sanilac County Community Foundation.

Tom Kreh, senior vice president of Northstar Bank, said, “We viewed this gift as an investment in this regional tourism effort, and in turn it’s an investment in our combined economic prosperity.”

The three community foundations have been focusing more on regional collaboration for the last two years, with an initial focus on tourism.  Just recently they announced another two-year pilot program that led to the hiring of Mackenzie Price as the first full-time foundation director in Huron County. 

Ms. Price will split her time between efforts in Huron County and collaborative efforts in Sanilac and St. Clair Counties.  Her hiring was made possible by business owners in Sanilac County, Mr. & Mrs. Clinton F. Stimpson, who helped complete the funding for the pilot program.

“We’re seeing a much higher level of donor and stakeholder interest in regional efforts,” added Ms. Nagelkirk. 

The new philosophy of regional collaboration among the three community foundations took a dramatic turn recently when the Sanilac County Community Foundation helped their community raise more than $125,000 in the “GiveWhereYouLive2014” event that was spearheaded by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.

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