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Besser Foundation hands out $2.35M in grants to honor 75th anniversary

Submitted by on September 19, 2019 – 12:44 amNo Comment

The Besser Foundation is celebrating its 75th anniversary by handing out $2.35 million in unsolicited impact grants to various groups in Alpena County.

Foundation Board President Jim Park recently made the announcement.

Grantees were selected based on the impact they have on the community, the number of people they touch, and the needs they meet.

The largest award of $1 million over three years will be used to find a new location for the Boys and Girls Club. The second largest award of $413,000 will help pay for the artificial turf at Wildcat Stadium; and will also be used by Alpena Public Schools to purchase Chromebooks for kids and other educational uses.

Other grants are going to MidMichgan Health, Friends of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Alpena Child Care and Development Center, Alpena Community College, and Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. More information on those awards can be viewed below.

“Over our many years, foundation trustees have stayed true to the vision, commitment, and beliefs set forth by our founders, Jesse and Anna Besser,” said Park. “We believe these impact grants carry on those traditions and will provide visible real and economic impact in our community.”

Since inception, the Besser Foundation has awarded approximately $32.7 million in grants.

“Although this is a special anniversary, every year annual grants of approximately $1,000,000 are awarded to local grantees supporting their cause, vision, and mission,” said Manager and Trustee Gary Dawley. “We believe they have an impact on nearly everyone in Alpena.”


$1,000,000 over three years as a lead grant to support moving the Boys and Girls Club to a new facility;

$413,000 during 2019 for Alpena Public Schools to complete individual student computer purchases, improve the athletic field, and other educational uses;

$300,000 to MidMichgan Health Systems over a three-year period as a lead grant for facility improvements;

$200,000 to Friends of Thunder Bay over two years as a matching grant to leverage a Michigan Economic Development Corporation Community Block Grant up to $4,000,000 for the Thunder Bay Riverfront Project.

$200,000 to Alpena Child Care and Development Center to assist with increasing availability of quality child care;

$105,000 to Alpena Community College to provide one full-ride scholarship to an Alpena student in each of the 5 major areas of programing;

$25,000 to Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan for a project to be determined;

$100,000 still to be announced.


Seventy-five years ago, Jesse and Anna Besser made commitments when they formed their foundation. Their vision focused financial support in areas leading to the betterment of Alpena’s social, educational, economic, spiritual, and environmental sectors. The Foundation is a private foundation located in Alpena, Mich. The focus of its grant making is primarily in Alpena and the surrounding community for the purposes listed above. Grant proposals are accepted quarterly on a normal calendar year basis. Since inception, approximately $32,700,000 in total grants have been awarded.