Battle Creek Community Foundation: 45 Years And Counting!
The Battle Creek Community Foundation has been offering a big helping hand in the Cereal City for nearly a half-century. President and CEO Brenda Hunt was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins, and talked about future plans, including a 45th Anniversary Event and improvements at the Rink and Kool Family Center.
Hunt, who joined the Battle Creek Community Foundation in 1993 as a program officer, says the organization was formed by several community leaders who were already heavily involved in other foundations. "Elizabeth Binda, Russ Mawby, the Kendalls, and Bob Miller, Sr. all put some dollars in to start a community foundation to so that all the community would have access to endowed philanthropy. So, a long, rich history and their vision and foresight is why we're here today."
Hunt says the Community Foundation will have their annual meeting on August 14th and hold it in a unique location. She says they are going to work with the owners of The Rink to install a temporary floor over the ice, that will allow for year-round use.
While the Battle Creek Community Foundation has been very active for 45 years, we mentioned that it seems like they've been even more active in recent years. "We have a very courageous, leadership board, and if there's ever been a time to step out for Battle Creek it would be now," said Hunt. "They've been allowing us to do some more unusual, courageous lead activities." She sited the loan to put the roof on the Heritage Tower two years ago. They built the New Level Sports football field to develop the west and north end of town.
Eleven years ago, the Community Foundation bought and took over Burnham Brook Center, and completely re-invented what is now called the Kool Family Center. Hunt says there were 50 people working there at the time, and now there are more than 200 working out of the building. She says they're creating a park across the street that will be done this summer, next to a restaurant that will be opening up sometime in the next year.
The foundation has plans to renovate a portion of the Kool Family Center. Hunt says the initial plan would be to spend a million dollars to renovate the Lew Boyd Room, and create a theater space for live performance, as well as for meeting space. It would include a new floor, ceilings, improved acoustics and a new heating and cooling system. She says they'll need to raise some extra funds for a second phase, which would include electric telescopic seating that could be moved in to give the space a theater in the round, or with three sides. "The room is the flagship of the property and I do believe its a draw for the downtown."
Hunt also discussed other projects, like the International Summerfest, which will be held this year at KCC. The Foundation will be bring in former Tiger Brandon Inge for a program to improve access for kids to baseball facilities.
If you'd like to learn more about the Battle Creek Foundation, or get involved or make a donation, just visit their website.