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Stephen E. Upton Love Your Community Endowment
Thanks to a generous endowment gift to the Berrien Community Foundation from Steve and Elizabeth Upton, Berrien County non-profit organizations will have the opportunity to receive a grant of at least $50,000 each year to support needs in the community.
The Stephen E. Upon Love Your Community Endowment was announced at the Berrien Community Foundation’s 64th Annual Meeting & Celebration Wednesday evening at the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center. The endowment gift will be part of Steve Upton’s legacy of giving.
“Steve not only loves Berrien County, he believes in the hearts and spirits of the people who live here,” said BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey as she announced the new endowment. “Steve never says it’s time to give up when a problem is too big. He says we have to look at it in another way. We have to try harder. We have to come back to the table. We have to love more.”
The $1.2 million endowment will allow non-profits to participate in a competitive grant process resulting in one grant of at least $50,000 each year. The grant will be awarded to a different non-profit organization each year and is available to any area of interest.
“The endowment will forever serve as a reminder of the kindness, generosity and love Steve and his wife Elizabeth have shown to Berrien County,” Cripps-Downey said. “Through this endowment he will continue to give to us and to teach us what it really means to love and believe in your community.”
In a surprising twist, the first grant winner was announced at the meeting. The Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) in Watervliet was the first $50,000 grant recipient for the TEC for Vets Program. The program uses horses to provide therapy for our wounded veterans. Whether the need is emotional due to post traumatic stress or physical because of injuries suffered during service, the horses find a special way to relate to and help our veterans.