In 1922, the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor heeded a plea from the Social Services Department at the University of Michigan. This department was establishing a school and recreation program for the children’s units in the hospital complex. The club donated funds for play equipment. The project was continued by the Ann Arbor club alone until 1934 when 18 Michigan District clubs made contributions to the support of the project.
In 1944, the original project initiated by the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor was named “The Forney W. Clement Memorial Project” after Forney W. Clement, a member of the Ann Arbor club who served the Michigan District of Kiwanis International as Secretary-Treasurer and Editor of the MICHIGAN BUILDER from 1930 to 1942. Forney died in 1942 and the Ann Arbor club thought this to be the ideal way to memorialize the work that Forney had done for the District.
In 1953, the project was incorporated as a non-profit Michigan corporation for the purpose of receiving contributions from the Kiwanis Clubs in the Michigan District and from individuals during their lifetime or by bequest in their wills. The voting members of the Foundation were the Presidents of each Kiwanis Club in the Michigan District. The business, property and affairs of the corporation are administered by a Board of Trustees of 18 members, one from each Division, plus the Governor and Governor-Elect of the Michigan District who are ex-officio members. The Trustees are elected at the Division Caucus and serve a term of three years. The Board of Trustees appoints Liaison Committees which serve as a liaison between the Trustees and the Administration of the hospitals where programs are funded.
In June of 1961, the Foundation extended its work to include a program at Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Grand Rapids. The program was dedicated in October, 1962, as the “Ben Dean Project” to honor the memory of this Past International President of Kiwanis International.
At the Annual Meeting of Voting Members on September 10, 1977, the name of the Foundation was changed to Kiwanis of Michigan Foundation, in order to more closely identify the Foundation with Kiwanians in the Michigan District, and the Foundation’s project at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital became known as the “Forney Clement Project”. The project at Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center is to be known as the “Ben Dean Project”.
Likewise, in September, 1977, the Board of Trustees agreed to extend the work of the Foundation to Northern Michigan Hospitals in Petoskey through a project named the “Herman H. Meyer Project” in memory of a Past President of the Foundation.
In October, 1979, the Foundation’s Hospital Coloring Book Project was set up as a separate Committee to become a permanent project committee. On August 15, 1980, the Board of Trustees named the Coloring Book Project the “Charles W. Shull Coloring Book Project” in memory of this Past President and Past Treasurer of the Foundation, who devoted so many years of his life in the service to children.
Beginning with fiscal year 1996-97, the Board of Trustees agreed to a three-year grant of $15,000 ($5,000/year) to Children’s Hospital of Michigan located in the Detroit Medical Center. This grant was a matching grant with the Kiwanis Club of Detroit #1 and helped fund one teaching position at the hospital. On August 22, 1999, the Board of Trustees agreed to formally name this project in memory of Past International President Walter J.L. Ray.
Financing of the Foundation’s projects is derived from three major sources. Individual Club contributions account for the vast majority of the Foundation’s income. These contributions are coupled with Memorials and Miscellaneous contributions to form the General Operating Fund of the Foundation. Sources of Miscellaneous contributions include:
I. The Ralph C. Keyes Gift/Recognition Project through which individual Kiwanians may contribute directly to the Foundation’s Operating Account in increments of $25, $50, $100, or $250 and receive distinctive awards; and,
II. The Tom Oliver Holiday Gift Project which recognizes donations with the listing of the donor’s name in the MICHIGAN BUILDER.
A second source of income for the Foundation is the Frank O. Staiger Distinguished Kiwanian Fund. The program was started in 1973 and was presented to the Foundation by Richard Penberthy, a Past Governor of the Michigan District. The income, derived from a specific donation of at least $1,000, honors a Kiwanian who has distinguished himself/herself either in Kiwanis work, in public service, or in his/her field of endeavor or profession. Funds contributed through this project are endowed and the Foundation receives the interest generated by the investment.
The third major source of income is from the Kiwanis of Michigan Endowment Trust. This revocable Trust has been set up to handle unsolicited bequests. Operating costs have been increasing at the hospital projects and will continue to increase. The expansion of the Foundation’s work, once a dream, has again become a reality with the commencement of the Walter J.L. Ray Project. Without this Endowment Trust, there would be no base or fund from which these increasing costs could be met, and the Foundation would have to look to the Clubs for additional contributions.
Since 1922, your Kiwanis of Michigan Foundation (and its predecessors) have been contributing funds to recreation programs to help children adjust to the Hospital and thus respond faster to medical and surgical procedures. The annual budget to support these programs at the present time is over $324,000 a year.
One of the basic needs of children is to play, to express themselves creatively, to interact with other children, to let off steam in a constructive way, to have fun. The 6,000 Kiwanis members who contribute to this Foundation are making Hospitalized Children: Their PRIORITY ONE !