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Our Mission

The Holt Community Foundation will unite individuals and groups who seek to improve the social environment for all who live, work, learn, and play in our community. Our supporters will conduct charitable activities built on the pillars of equity, inclusion, and enrichment. We will engage community members in the benevolent and generous mission to promote the welfare of others.

Our Vision

We facilitate community enrichment throughout the Holt Community by supporting:

  • Educational programs at local schools involving students, parents, teachers, and administrators
  • Beautification initiatives at our parks, playgrounds, and natural areas
  • Research and writing activities that create new knowledge or document local history
  • Healthy habits, athletic training, and friendly competitions involving sports
  • Music and artistic endeavors of all kinds including public displays
  • Civil action toward equity, inclusion, fairness, and justice to overcome discrimination

Enjoy your community!

Education

Holt Community Scholarship banner

How to Apply

To apply for any of our Holt Community Scholarships, please visit the Holt High School counseling office and complete the scholarship application packet. Guidance counselors will help you through the process!

Taylyr Cochran Scholarship banner

Due Date

Scholarship applications are due to the Holt High School counseling office by the fourth Friday in March every year.

Craig Anderson Scholarship banner

About the Scholarships

Giving scholarships to Holt High School students is one of the perks of our movement! We offer $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors every year with the promise to give $1,000 each of the following years (up to four years) as students pursue a college degree.

We offer four scholarships:

  • Craig Anderson Memorial Scholarship
  • Taylyr Cochran Memorial Scholarship
  • Jason “J-Nice” Baragar Memorial Scholarship
  • Anthony Harris Memorial Scholarship

In the past, we also distributed scholarships in honor of Pamela Woll Neuhauser and Holly Bossenbery. You can help us sustain these scholarships by donating using the form below.

Past Scholars

All donations submitted through this form on this page are “restricted funds” meaning they are designated specifically for education and no other project. If you want to donate unrestricted funds to our general account, please click here.

2017 Value: Education

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Donation Total: $150

Thank you for supporting local education!

If you would like to donate to help support the scholarships, please click here

About the Purpose

Each year, it seems that we get the same question posed to us by student-athletes who are applying for the OMIA Foundation Scholarships in memory of Taylyr Cochran and Craig Anderson. The question is: “What should be included in the Statement of Purpose?” This is a great question and we are glad it is being asked! One of the major reasons that we ask for a Statement of Purpose is to learn more about the applicants but another reason is that it will be helpful to the applicants in their futures. For example, many colleges and universities (especially grad schools) ask for a Statement of Purpose and place a lot of value in what the applicants choose to convey through it. Therefore, the OMIA Foundation Scholarship application can be sort of a “practice run” for future use!

The best Statement of Purpose is going to be an honest and a clear representation of the student’s values. The first thing the student needs to do is be upfront and straightforward about what is important to you! Admissions officers and scholarship committees become frustrated by “cookie cutter” statements that seem too generic. For example, if a medical school values volunteerism in its applicants, it wants to see a really strong, deep commitment to those values. This means that the applicant didn’t just perform as a greeter in a hospital for a few months to make the application look good. A strong commitment to those values would be represented by a long-term volunteer effort where the student experiences real life impact like patient contact hours and physician interaction. In addition, the effort itself is not as important as the lessons learned and life-long impact that the experience has given the applicant. Again, these things need to be clearly conveyed in the Statement of Purpose. Don’t force the committee to try and guess how your life experiences have shaped your values. Be very clear and explain how “experience A” has taught you to prioritize “value B.” This is a good way to structure the statement.

Regarding the values that you write about, they need to be your values and priorities and you should not just line up your interests with that of the organization just to gain acceptance or approval. Again, the committees can smell a phony from a mile away. You need to think about your own values first… and, then decide how your value systems aligns with the organization. With that preface, here are some things that the Craig Anderson Scholarship Committee values:

Family, Education, Athletics, Mentoring and Community Support

As a psychology major at Michigan State University, Craig learned to analyze the world around him. He was curious and leveraged an interest in humanity to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Craig spent endless hours playing catch, shooting hoops, and staying actively involved with his three sons’ lives. Craig also befriended kids in his neighborhood, many of whom lacked a positive male role model in their lives.

It was common to see Craig shooting hoops in the driveway and acting as an unofficial mentor for these kids. He also volunteered countless hours as a coach for all of his sons’ teams growing up. He focused on every member of his team and made each individual feel as though they were the most important part of the team. His ability to communicate and create positive relationships with these kids went well beyond the playing field. Many people in the Holt area are better off because Craig was a part of their life and instilled the importance of family, education, athletics, mentoring, and community support.

The scholarship committee looks for varsity letters to show evidence of education and athletic performance. Grade point average and sports statistics are not weighed more than the effort shown toward all values including family, mentoring, and community support. The applicant should provide solid evidence of giving back to the community and, above all, pursue a passion to make a difference!

Conclusion

If you want to make a positive impact on your community, it will show in your application! This is why you need to be honest and up-front about all the ways that you value family, community, education, athletics, and similar priorities. The scholarship committees are going to read a lot of application packages from student-athletes who exceed in a single area. For example, many applicants have high GPA. But, we’re looking at the whole picture. What do you value? What sets you apart? What is your passion and purpose? If you can clearly express the answers to those questions, you will write a wonderful Statement of Purpose.

Leadership

Background

The Holt Community Foundation is a non-profit organization registered as a 501c3 charity with the IRS (EIN 81-5136499) and State of Michigan. Our IRS determination letter indicates our non-profit status began January 11, 2017. The Holt Community Foundation was incorporated by two Holt High School alumni (Dr. John Girdwood and Charles Hill, IV, CPA) and one Holt Public Schools supporter (Jaime Zerka). The first Board of Directors was comprised of those three individuals. We are currently recruiting individuals to form our first comprehensive Board of Directors to confirm our mission and vision. If you are interested in appointing someone to be considered for the Board of Directors, please send an email to info@holtcommunity.org

Our Board of Directors

We are currently forming our first Board of Directors based on the following values:

  • Education: Programs at local schools involving students, parents, teachers, and administrators
  • Environment: Beautification initiatives at our parks, playgrounds, and natural areas
  • Research: Writing activities that create new knowledge or document local history
  • Health: Activities, training, and friendly competitions involving sports
  • Arts and Music: Exhibits of all kinds including public displays and concerts
  • Equity: Inclusion, fairness, and civil action toward justice to overcome discrimination

Board Members

Dr. John Girdwood
Dr. John Girdwood

Executive Director: John Girdwood, PhD

Committee Chair: Executive Committee

Dr. Girdwood attended Holt Public Schools from kindergarten through high school and continued his education at three public institutions, receiving degrees from: Western Michigan University (BA in Philosophy, Ethics, and Comparative Religion), Central Michigan University (Masters of Science in Administration), and Michigan State University (PhD in Sociology). He values his relationships with friends more than anything else and promotes education as a tool for building happiness. Professionally, he stays busy as a Program Manager at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He was previously a Fellow at the Central Michigan University College of Medicine and has managed hospice volunteer programs.


Jaime Zerka

Chairwoman: Jaime Zerka

Committee Chair: Community Impact

Jaime Zerka is currently the Associate Director of Human Resources at Diplomat Rx, a publicly traded specialty pharmacy. She has advanced quickly up the corporate ladder and is a proven leader of healthcare staff and other allied professions. Ms. Zerka was instrumental in forming the OMIA Foundation, an educational non-profit named after her mother that gets “Outside Movement Inside Academia.” Jaime enjoys walking her dog Bo, feeding her three koi fish, and rooting for the Michigan State University football team each fall. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University.


Paul Anderson 

Vice President of Business and Finance: Paul Anderson

Committee Chair: Education; Anderson-Cochran Golf Outing

Paul Anderson graduated from Holt High School in 1996 after leading the Holt Rams football team to the state championship game at the Pontiac Silverdome his senior year. He attended Central Michigan University where he received a Bachelor’s degree. Paul was hired immediately out of college by Granger Waste Services and has worked there ever since as the company’s Director of Operations. Paul will complete the Master’s of Business Administration program at Michigan State University in 2018. He values family the most, joining his brothers Chad and Ryan each year at the Anderson-Cochran Golf Outing to raise money for local scholarships.


Ryan Bort

Director of Marketing: Ryan Bort

Committee Chair: Research and Writing; Community Run/Walk

Ryan Bort married his Holt High School sweetheart, Mollie, both Holt High School Class of 2006. The couple bought their first house within walking distance of several Holt Public Schools. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Print Journalism and returned to Michigan to work for the Lansing State Journal as a Sports Writer. He is now employed by McLaren Greater Lansing as a Marketing Specialist. Ryan is an avid fan of the Ohio State University and, because he is responsible for all marketing and communication strategies and materials of the Holt Community Foundation, he incorporated shades of scarlet and gray into the color scheme. You can email Ryan at marketing@holtcommunity.org


Open Volunteer Position (Board of Directors)

Coordinator of Volunteer Services: TBD

Committee Chair: Nature, Science, and Beautification Efforts

The Holt Community Foundation is currently seeking a new member to appoint to the Board of Directors who is focused on our value of the environment. Please forward all nominations to Dr. John Girdwood, Executive Director, by sending email to john@holtcommunity.org


Open Volunteer Position (Board of Directors)

Program Manager: TBD

Committee Chair: Healthy Habits

The Holt Community Foundation is currently seeking a new member to appoint to the Board of Directors who is focused on our value of the health. Please forward all nominations to Dr. John Girdwood, Executive Director, by sending email to john@holtcommunity.org


Open Volunteer Position (Board of Directors)

Director of Special Projects: TBD

Committee Chair: Music and the Arts

The Holt Community Foundation is currently seeking a new member to appoint to the Board of Directors who is focused on our value of the arts and music. Please forward all nominations to Dr. John Girdwood, Executive Director, by sending email to john@holtcommunity.org


Open Volunteer Position (Board of Directors)

Program Manager: TBD

Committee Chair: Civil Action, Equity, and Inclusion

The Holt Community Foundation is currently seeking a new member to appoint to the Board of Directors who is focused on our value of equity. Please forward all nominations to Dr. John Girdwood, Executive Director, by sending email to john@holtcommunity.org

Branding

Colors

Light Gray 247, 246, 244 #F7F6F4

Name RGB HEX
Maroon  88, 24, 51  #581833
Pink  154, 76, 102  #9A4C66
Light Green  180, 219, 218  #B4DBDA
Aqua  101, 162, 157  #65A29D
Green  74, 90, 89  #4A5A59
Navy  13, 40, 70  #0D2846
Gray  148, 149, 153  #949599

END

 PINK – HEALTH  GRAY – RESEARCH  AQUA – ENVIRONMENT
 GREEN – EDUCATION  NAVY – ARTS/MUSIC  MAROON – EQUITY

Supporting Local Non-Profits

We think it is important that everyone know it is not difficult to file the paperwork necessary to establish a 501(c)(3) or “non-profit.” In fact, the United Stated government made it easier to apply for tax-exempt status in 2016. You can read more at any of the preceding links or click here.

We will soon be building out our donor platform modeled after the University of Michigan.