TrueNorth Community Services has a long history of serving the residents of Newaygo County, Michigan. Organized in 1949 under the leadership of William J. Branstrom, attorney, Herman Schuiteman, banker, and Bessie Slautterback, educator, the original intent was to provide the youth of our county with various educational opportunities. A fund was established to provide low-interest loans for needy and deserving young people to further their education, the re-payment of which was designated for future loans.
In 1952, the Children’s Christmas Fund was established to provide young people with clothing and toys. The program received support from individuals and organizations throughout the county. In that same year, the program was expanded to include scholarships for deserving young talent in the field of music.
During 1971, with legal counsel of Mr. Stephan R. Clink, attorney, a committee was formed to the purpose of guiding the transition of the Fremont Foundation toward the establishment of two, separate and autonomous, organizations: (a) a community foundation entitled The Fremont Community Foundation for the purpose of the receipt and investing of all funds to provide grants for the benefit of the community and (b) an operational non-profit public charity, entitled Newaygo County Community Services (NCCS), for the purpose of administering and implementing various programs and services for the benefit of Newaygo County residents. The two organizations were officially recognized in February of 1972. Gene Cotton became the agency's first Executive Director and led the agency from 1972 - 1989. From 1989 to present, Bev Cassidy has been the agency's Chief Executive Officer.
In recent years, state funders have been moving toward funding larger geographic regions. This trend has impacted our work to provide programs and services to Newaygo County. Today, such cross-collaborations, partnerships and alliances are more important than ever to secure funding to address complex public issues that spill over traditional geographic boundaries.
To address our changing environment, in March 2011 we announced our new name as TrueNorth Community Services. A name that accurately reflects the spirit of our work and our organization, while supporting our mission and offering a hint at our geographic presence.
Capitalizing on the combined energies of local people and strong collaborations with other community organizations, TrueNorth Community Services focuses on four core competencies: addressing rural poverty, ensuring our youth thrive, building vibrant rural communities, and providing innovative rural nonprofit leadership.
TrueNorth truly serves its’ mission to “empower people and strengthen community to inspire hope and build a brighter future."