Home / News / Community Foundation Grant Touches Lives in Otsego County

Community Foundation Grant Touches Lives in Otsego County

In 2017, NEMC applied for, and was awarded, an Otsego County Community Foundation Grant in the amount of $600. The funds were allocated to supporting "Discretionary Funds for Barriers to Employment" which couldn't be assisted via other state/federal funded Michigan Works! programs. Thanks to the grant, we were able to assist seven job seekers with the required items they needed to be successful in their new jobs, including work clothing, work boots, work uniforms, and gas vouchers to/from work prior to their initial paycheck. Upon submitting our year end report to the foundation, we received this response from the Foundation's Director.

"Thank you for this report. In all my years here and the close to a million dollars we have awarded, the many reports I have read, this is the most touching. Thank you so much for applying for a grant and giving us this follow up. Keep up the good work!" - Dana Bensinger, Executive Director of the Otsego County Community Foundation

Misty Mason - Received new work-appropriate clothing.

Misty Mason was living downstate with her children. She was homeless, unemployed, and stayed with friends, often getting help from churches and food banks. Her sister moved her family up north, hoping to change her life around. Thanks to the Otsego County Community Foundation Grant, Misty was able to get the required clothing she needed to start her first job. She is now working full-time.

Misty states, “Without this money from Michigan Works!, I would not be able to get the required clothing that I need for work. My sister had been in Michigan Works! and was told about your programs and brought me in to see if I could get some help with clothing once I found employment. If it wasn’t for my sister coming to get me downstate and moving me and my children, I would still be homeless not knowing where I would get my next meal or sleep next.”


Amanda Bergey - Received new work boots required for employment.

Amanda Bergey

When Amanda Bergey came to Michigan Works! she was living in a tent in her parent’s backyard. On the way to Michigan Works!, she hit a deer, totaling her car. Things were not looking good.

With Michigan Works! help, Amanda found a better paying job that even offered benefits, but she needed special boots for the position. Thanks to the Otsego County Community Foundation Grant, Michigan Works! was able to help Amanda get the required clothing necessary for her new job.

Amanda says, “Without Michigan Works!, I would not have found this job. I did not qualify for their Direct Placement program and needed certain boots for my new job. I was told about a grant that Otsego County Community Foundation had awarded Michigan Works! for situations such as mine. Without this help I would not be able to get the required clothing needed to start my new job. Thank you!”


Scott Ramsey – Received new work clothing required for his new job.

Scott Ramsey moved to northern Michigan a year ago, when his mother became ill. He moved in with her in her 1 bedroom apartment, sleeping in the living room. He had recently lost both his son and father, and was struggling. This fall, his seasonal employment as a painter ended and he needed to find new work as soon as possible. He found a great, full-time position at Treetops Resort, but he didn’t own the required work clothing for the job (ski pants and ski boots). A friend referred Scott to Michigan Works!, but Scott didn’t qualify for assistance through any of the Michigan Works! programs. Thankfully the Gaylord Michigan Works! office had access to additional funding through the Otsego County Community Foundation Grant. Thanks to this grant, Michigan Works! was able to help Scott get the work clothing he needed to start his new job. Scott says this was a blessing.


Courtney Williams – Received gas vouchers to get to/from her new job.

Courtney Williams had been a stay-at-home mother and her husband supported their family. But when her husband recently found himself in a position where he could no longer contribute, Courtney needed to find employment immediately to support herself and her 4 month old baby.

Courtney was able to get a job as a cashier at DerMiner’s Parkside Market. Thanks to the Otsego County Community Foundation Grant, Michigan Works! was able to help Courtney with gas reimbursement to/from work while she got back on her feet.

Courtney says, “I have entered a really hard spot in my life and am thankful Michigan Works! could lend a helping hand.”


Eric Everson – Received gas vouchers to get to/from his new job.
Eric Everson

Eric Everson came to Michigan Works! as a single father seeking employment. He was struggling due to lack of income and employable abilities. He needed help to overcome his barriers and get the resources required to find employment.

Michigan Works! helped Eric perform job searches and he soon found employment as a home health care worker. In addition, thanks to the Otsego County Community Foundation Grant, Michigan Works! was able to help Eric get the necessary uniform he required for his new position, as well as help him pay for gas to get to his new job for the week prior to his first paycheck.

“Michigan Works! has come to help me when I didn’t think there would ever be a solution. I felt like giving up until I walked into the office and having the staff help me in every way possible,” said Eric. “My new employment has more advantages to move up and get paid a better wage. Have a better work schedule. Michigan Works is a gift from God.”

He goes on, “[I learned you should] never give up. The challenges have been lack of income and stability for me and my son. I have overcome these by pushing forward and staying positive.”


Stanley Pattenaude – Received gas vouchers to get to/from his new job.
Stanley Pattenaude

When Stanley Pattenaude came to Michigan Works!, he was in a tight spot. Due to company reorganization, Stanley had recently lost his job. He looked for a new job and landed one. The only problem was the new job was 30+ miles away and Stanley had exhausted his savings. He didn’t even have enough left over to pay for gas to/from his new position prior to his first paycheck.

Thanks to the Otsego Community Grant, Michigan Works! was able to help Stanley pay for gas to/from his new job during the 2 weeks prior to his first paycheck.

“Michigan Works! is a great resource to have in our community and help when other agencies do not,” said Stanley.


Patrick Halstead – Received gas vouchers to get to/from his new job.
Patrick Halstead

Patrick Halstead was let go from his job as a Service Technician and was left with only one paycheck to get him and his family through until his unemployment started. He has a family of four and his wife is a stay at home mother.  

Patrick came to Michigan Works! to help him find a new job. With bills coming due and his family counting on him, he knew there was no time to waste. He couldn’t let pride get in the way of asking for help. Michigan Works! was able to help Patrick fine a new job as a Contractor, making almost 40% more than he made at his previous job. They also helped him with gas vouchers to get him to/from his new job before he got his first paycheck.

“The ladies at Michigan Works! have been so amazing helping me out,” says Patrick. “Shelly, Kassie and Beth worked so hard for me and quickly too. By helping with gas money to get to and from my new job, I was able to continue to support my family. I’m very thankful."

Created on Wednesday, May 09, 2018