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Our History


Local attorney Ray Dresser Jr., and then Sturgis Journal publisher Harold Pringle acted on their shared vision for the Sturgis community and the Sturgis Foundation was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization.


SACF launches a low-interest student loan program. These low-interest loans were made to area students after they have completed their first year at college. More than $450,000 was loaned to more than 100 area students to help finance the cost of their college education. Today, these student loan funds have been converted to SACF’s largest college scholarship fund.


The Kirsch family dissolved its family foundation and gave assets of $51,188 to the Sturgis Foundation along with an office building, which the Foundation owned until 1995.


The 1980s were years of steady growth in assets from bequests such as the Cornelius Geimer estate, the Gladys Welty estate, and the Laura Schulte estate. By 1990, the assets of the Sturgis Foundation had reached $1,413,000.


SACF chaired the capital campaign for the Doyle Community Center. Foundation Vice President Leonard Eishen chaired the fundraising committee. Upon completion of the Doyle Community Center, the Sturgis Foundation turned the ownership of the building over to the City of Sturgis. The Foundation still holds the endowment for the Doyle Center and has permanent office space in the building.

Delores Schenk leaves her entire life savings to the Sturgis Area Community Foundation for the formation of a scholarship fund to help students with financial need.


SACF was awarded $250,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Michigan Community Foundation’s Youth Project. This money has been placed in a permanently endowed Youth Advisory Council Fund. Today, the Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council serves as a leadership development program for local high school students with an endowment of nearly $1,000,000.


The Constantine Area Community Foundation became the first geographic affiliate fund of the Sturgis Foundation. White Pigeon followed with the establishment of the White Pigeon Area Community

Foundation as an affiliate fund. Both geographic affiliates have grown since inception and continue to enhance the quality of life in their respective communities through grants, scholarships and support for community programs and projects.


By year 2000, the Foundation had experienced tremendous growth and
held endowment funds for several local agencies including Sturgis Public
Schools, Camp Fort Hill, the Sturgis Community Pool, and Sturgis Neighborhood Program.


The SACF endowment pool surpasses 



During COVID -19 Pandemic, SACF partnered with GT Independence to establish the Sturgis Community Emergency Hardship Fund. More than $130,000 in emergency hardship grants were delivered to local residents who were experiencing financial hardship due to workplace closures at the onset of the pandemic shutdowns.


Today, SACF is a $30M foundation with 155 philanthropic funds that return more than $1.1M to the community every year through grants and scholarships.


Through grants from the Newell A. and Grace A. Franks Fund, the historic Sturgis Depot Building was relocated and transformed into the Sturgis Museum - At The Deport, an interactive museum of the history of the community.


The Newell A. and Grace A. Franks Fund was established as a permanent fund to support and enrich the quality of life in Sturgis.

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