Frederick S. Upton Foundation Big Idea


What's the Big Idea?

The Big Idea Grant is a special grant program of the Frederick S. Upton Foundation. Each year the Foundation provides one $50,000 grant and one $25,000 grant to nonprofit organizations serving Berrien County. These grants support innovative programming and new ideas to enhance and serve our community in a Big way.

How to apply:

Review this document for eligibility and requirements. 

Letters of intent are due by April 1, 2024.

Letters can be addressed to: Frederick S. Upton Foundation

Submit your letter by clicking this button


The Uptons will review the letters and select organizations to receive a full grant application. These full grant applications are then reviewed and the top picks are selected to present to the board at their meeting in early July.

Mission of the Frederick S. Upton Foundation
The mission of the Frederick S. Upton Foundation is to uphold and perpetuate the wishes of its Founder:

  • To love your community
  • To be aware and perceptive as to what is needed – economically and culturally – to improve and enrich the quality of life of its inhabitants
  • To work together as family members and trustees, serving others through the Foundation with wisdom and compassion


Frederick Stanley Upton made his living and lived his life in a near identical manner.

As one of the founding fathers of Whirlpool Corporation, Frederick Upton began making his mark in the world before the Great Depression. He was industrious, ruggedly astute and driven, but never blinded by a passion to succeed. He led by example so others would see the virtues of dedication and hard work.

In turn, Frederick Upton lived his personal life in much the same way. He inspired others to give the world the best because he believed the best would come back, time and time again. He was an important man who made sure all others felt important and welcome in his presence. His kindhearted demeanor resonated in his generosity, making it evident even to those who did not know him personally. It was obvious to all that Frederick Upton was a devoted philanthropist, steadfast in an innate desire to give back to his hometown.

On November 30, 1954, the Frederick Upton family gathered to officially organize a foundation to bear the Upton name. Margaret Beckley Upton joined her husband at the table along with their two sons, David and Stephen. Family members continue to serve and comprise the entire board of trustees.