Leaders and Best of Shiawassee County


Elizabeth Hoornstra, of Chesaning, with Bruce and Jacqueline Cook

Again, the Cook Family Foundation is providing a scholarship to every high school senior from the greater Shiawassee County region attending the University of Michigan.  This fall, 19 young men and women from nine area high schools will enroll at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The future Wolverines were recognized at a dinner on May 8.  Special guest at the event was Andrew Martin, Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LS&A) at the University of Michigan.  Noting the talented scholarship recipients, the Dean said that “all of the students we admit to the University of Michigan bring a unique combination of talent, goals, ambitions, personality and passion.”

At the dinner, Elizabeth Hoornstra, the valedictorian of Chesaning Union High School, was awarded the Bruce & Jacqueline Cook Scholarship.  This four-year, full tuition scholarship is funded separately from the Foundation by its namesakes.  Elizabeth is the daughter of John and Jennifer Hoornstra, and plans to pursue a major in the social sciences, public health, or some other field where she can “create a difference in someone’s life.”


Hunter Glew, of Corunna, and Andrew Martin, Dean of LS&A

Hunter Glew, the valedictorian of Corunna High School, is the recipient of the Donald Cook Scholarship.  She intends to pursue research at the University of Michigan and major in neuroscience or psychology.  She is the daughter of Matthew and Cynthia Glew.

The Donald Cook Scholarship is awarded by the University of Michigan to a student
attending the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.  It has been financially supported by the Cook Family Foundation in recognition of the Foundation’s founder.  In 2017, the Foundation entered a multi-year funding agreement to endow the scholarship in perpetuity at the University.

Of the 19 scholarship recipients, seven of them are valedictorians.  In addition to Hoornstra and Glew, the co-valedictorians of Owosso High School (Usman Kahn and Sarah Landes) and the valedictorians of Perry (Jessica Beattie), Byron (Jordan Goodrich), and Laingsburg (Paden Graham) were all admitted to the University of Michigan.

Other scholarship winners were, from Chesaning, Sarah Minnis, Noah Moeggenberg, and Riley Russel; from Corunna, Kaylynn Crawford and Charity Cummings; from New Lothrop, Lauryn Bishop, Brayden Bitterman, Matthew Mignault, and Tyler Ruddy; from Owosso, Dalton Brown; and from Perry, Bradley Cronk and Destiny Crusan.

For more information on the Foundation’s scholarships, visit this page



Helping Local NonProfits Have an Impact


Executive Directors from Shiawassee-based nonprofits gather at Foster Coffee

The Cook Family Foundation believes that community change occurs when locally-based nonprofits have the motivation, the support, and the capacity to have an impact.  For several years we have worked with Shiawassee-based nonprofits to help improve their governance, strengthen their operations, and grow through strategic investments.  Ten of those nonprofits have been recognized as Partners for their commitment to capacity building (see a list of all the nonprofits we work with).

In order to help local nonprofits take the next step in their growth, the Cook Family Foundation announces the Innovation and Impact Grant program.  This intensive capacity building endeavor helps an organization take a stretch to realize a dream, review  internal structure, establish new partnerships, and invest in sustainable growth.  The grant process is competitive, and the first round of participants will be selected in April this year.

The NonProfit Capacity Building Program will continue to provide coaching, peer networking, and educational workshops for executive directors and board members.  Information and registration for upcoming sessions can be found on our Events Page.

If you are a board member of a local nonprofit, contact your executive director for information.  The requirements for organizational participation in the NonProfit Capacity Building Program are defined here.  For more information or assistance, please contact us.

Joint Effort to Improve James Miner Trail


Representatives of Caledonia Township, the City of Corunna, and the City of Owosso gather at the James Miner trailhead to receive a contribution from Tom Cook, Executive Director of the Cook Family Foundation.

The Cook Family Foundation believes that we can accomplish more in our community when we work together.  In support of this value of collaboration, the Foundation recently made a $5,000 grant to help make improvements to the James Miner Trail along five miles of the Shiawassee River.  In the last year, four jurisdictions–Caledonia Township, the City of Corunna, the City of Owosso, and the Shiawassee Airport Board–established a Joint Trail Authority to legally share responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of this environmental and recreational resource. 

“The James Miner Trail serves the entire Shiawassee County area, and we are proud to be part of a community-wide, multi-jurisdictional effort to keep up the trail,” said Thomas Cook, Executive Director of the Cook Family Foundation.

The James Miner Trail was developed in the 1970’s through the efforts of local attorney James Miner with the participation of many organizations.  The trail has been maintained for decades by volunteer efforts.  In addition, personal contributions for trail improvements  have been made for several years as part of the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk first organized by Donna and Chuck Kerridge of Corunna.

Local governments have helped keep up the trail, but they recently decided to create a more formal structure for joint management of the trail.  Through a new Joint Powers Committee, a legal entity allowed by State law, the four jurisdictions are now contributing funds, staff time and other resources to the trail.  The Foundation’s grant matches the investments made by several units of government.

The Cook Family Foundation is committed to supporting collaborative efforts that bring together local governments, nonprofit organizations, school districts, service clubs and community groups.  Read more about our thoughts on Collective Impact (click here).


Expanding the Foundation’s Work

Recently, the University of Michigan published a story about the outreach efforts of Bruce and Jacqueline Cook. The work of the Cook Family Foundation to support students from Shiawassee County serves as the basis for a larger statewide effort. The article from the Fall 2016 issue of the “Leaders and Best” is reprinted here with permission.

9/13/16 OUD Environmental Student portraits at Huetwell Center.

Shiawassee County students Sarah Rice and Mitchell Lawrence

As a high school senior, Sarah Rice (BS ’16) of Owosso, Michigan, was called to the principal’s office. She had worked hard to build a bright future, and this was not in her plans. What could be the problem? she wondered. There must be some mistake. What Sarah feared would be her end turned out to be a beginning. Inside the office was a familiar face. It was Bruce L. Cook (BBA ’50, MBA ’51), waiting to make Sarah a life-changing offer: the Donald Cook Scholarship, which at the time (2012) provided $10,000 a year for four years at U-M.

This was just one of numerous scholarships provided to U-M students from Sarah’s home region, thanks to the generosity of Bruce and Jacqueline Cook (BS ’52) and the Cook Family Foundation. They see to it that every student from greater Shiawassee County who applies to U-M and is admitted receives support to attend. In addition, a select student each year receives the Donald Cook Scholarship  (as Sarah did), and another receives the Bruce and Jacqueline Cook Scholarship—full tuition for four years.

Before the Cook Family Foundation developed their scholarship program, few students from Shiawassee County historically applied to U-M—let alone attended— in a typical year. In Sarah’s hometown, in fact—a mid-Michigan town about halfway between Flint and Lansing with a population of just under  15,000—only about 14 percent of residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Coming to U-M from an outstate county isn’t just good for the students who do so, Sarah said: “The unique perspectives students from those counties bring are important.” This fall, Sarah began an internship in the Office of Enrollment Services, where she will help administer a new program designed to expand the model of the Cook family and their foundation to other Michigan counties.


Counties where students are eligible for the Michigan Alumni Scholarship

The Michigan Alumni Scholarship, as it’s called, will provide financial support to students from areas that are geographically underrepresented at U-M. Bruce and Jacqueline Cook have contributed $1 million in support of the new program and hope other donors will follow their lead. Scholarships  like these make it possible for students from  outstate Michigan to choose U-M, Sarah said.

That is the case for Mitchell Lawrence, a freshman in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. A resident of the Living Arts community on North Campus, Mitchell came to U-M from Byron, Michigan (population: 565), as the Bruce  and Jacqueline Cook Scholar.

Mitchell’s parents landed in Byron in 1994 when Mitchell’s dad took the helm as camp director of  a family-friendly campground on Myers Lake. “It’s a very rural community,” Mitchell said. “There’s not a lot to do.” At the same time, he added, “Your environment doesn’t necessarily define you.”

In high school, Mitchell was student body president for three years, participated in drama club and band, and served as junior drum major and drum major. He ran cross country and track, and he taught himself graphic design by competing annually in a Business Professionals of America competition—eventually traveling to California to represent the state of Michigan. Mitchell also studied Japanese—first through online classes and later through a dual enrollment between his high school and Lansing Community College. He twice spent time in Japan.

Even with his many accomplishments, Mitchell was shocked to receive a phone call in the winter of his senior year of high school letting him know that he was a Top Five finalist for the Bruce and Jacqueline Cook Scholarship. “Getting that phone call was very surreal,” he said. “It was a really amazing moment.”        

Mitchell is the 11th recipient of the Bruce and Jacqueline Cook Scholarship. He and Sarah are just two out of hundreds of students who have come to U-M through the years with the support of scholarships funded by either Bruce and Jacqueline Cook or the Cook Family Foundation. The foundation’s primary benefactor was Bruce Cook’s father, the late Donald O. Cook (AB ’24) [1902–97].

A longtime resident of Shiawassee County, Donald Cook was a career sales representative for the Owosso-based Wolverine Sign Works and became  its sole owner in the early 1960s. His passions included both U-M and Shiawassee County,  and he delighted in bringing the two together.

The Cook Family Foundation does exactly that. Created by Bruce’s late parents, Donald and Florence-etta Cook, the foundation now involves two more generations. Bruce and Jacqueline’s son Thomas B. Cook serves as executive director, while board members include Bruce Cook as president; Tom Cook as secretary and treasurer; and Tom’s wife, Anna Owens, as a trustee. Jacqueline Cook and son Paul Cook (BSENE ’79) are also trustees, and Paul’s wife, Laurie Caszatt Cook (ABED ’81, TeachCert ’81, MBA ’83), is vice president.

Encouraging students from rural Michigan to apply to U-M is not always easy, Bruce Cook  said. U-M received about 55,000 applications for admission this year, including about 10,000 from state residents. Of those 10,000, most come from just seven of the state’s 83 counties, primarily in Southeast Michigan. “The rest of Michigan participates very, very lightly,” Cook said.

“The students are out there, and the potential is out there in these students,” Mitchell said, “but a lot of times, they don’t recognize it. They might never live up to it if they don’t see it in themselves.”

As a joint effort between the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Alumni Association of U-M, the Michigan Alumni Scholarship will enlist the participation of alumni in underrepresented counties. They will provide a personal connection to U-M, much as Bruce and Jacqueline Cook do in Shiawassee County. “It’s really using our experience here as a guide for what we’d like to do throughout the state,” Bruce Cook said.

“We’re not talking about changing our admission standards a bit for these kids,” Cook said. “They’ve gotta stack up with the best kids from anywhere.” If Sarah and Mitchell are any indication, they will.

Learn more (click here) about the Cook Family Foundation’s scholarship program in the greater Shiawassee County region.


Financial Aid Workshop November 2

Applying for financial aid is perhaps the most important, and most complex, task many a high school senior and their family will undertake.  To help academically talented students sort through this process, the Cook Family Foundation is holding a workshop on Wed-nesday, November 2nd from 7-9 p.m. at the Baker College Welcome Center in Owosso.

1978896_10152568144744232_8367881271452503021_nA representative from the University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid will provide important information about qualifying for financial aid, as well as some useful tips on making college more affordable.  U-M is the only public university in Michigan to cover 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of in-state students.  Learn more (click here) about affordability of the University of Michigan.

While the workshop will provide particular insight to financial aid from the University of Michigan, the presentation will be applicable no matter what four-year university a student ends up attending. The workshop will cover the basics of the FAFSA  which was available as of October 1, 2016—this is the form used by all institutions of higher learning. To qualify for financial aid from UM, students and their families will also need to complete a CSS Profile. Both of these applications are now available; the sooner they are submitted the more quickly a student will get a financial aid offer.

Students and/or their parents are invited to attend the November 2nd workshop.  While it is not necessary to RSVP, please contact us if you have questions (call us at: 989-725-1621 or email us at [email protected]). To keep up-to-date on financial aid, scholarships, and other UM information follow us on Twitter @GoBlueGoBruce

Leaders and Best of Shiawassee Region

photo credit: Michael DL Jordan

Twenty-seven of the most academically accomplished high school seniors from the Shiawassee County region have been nominated for scholarships to the University of Michigan by the Cook Family Foundation.  One of the students will be selected to receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship from Bruce and Jacqueline Cook.

In order to assist them with their college selection, a number of the nominees recently attended an overnight trip to the University of Michigan where they met with admission officers, took a tour of the campus and stadium, attended a class, and had the opportunity to spend time with students from the Shiawassee County area presently enrolled at the University of Michigan.

The students from eight area school districts were nominated because of their high grade point average and test scores; all are outstanding students.  Based on their academic records, the promise of future academic success, and demonstrated leadership capabilities, one of these nominees will be selected to receive the Bruce and Jacqueline Cook Scholarship, which covers all tuition for an undergraduate education at the University of Michigan.

Each of the nominees will receive at least a $2,500 scholarship to the University of Michigan from the Cook Family Foundation.  In addition to these nominees, the Cook Family Foundation provides a scholarship to every local student who applies to the University of Michigan, is admitted, and then enrolls.  

The Cook Family Foundation was started in 1978 by Donald and Florence-etta Cook.  Bruce and Jackie Cook of Owosso have followed the lead of Bruce’s parents by making a legacy gift to the University of Michigan to establish an annual scholarship for an academically talented student from Shiawassee County.  

2016 CFF UM Overnight Trip

2016 CFF UM Overnight Trip

If they apply and are admitted to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the following students will be considered for the Bruce and Jacqueline Cook scholarship: from Byron, Rachel Dvorak, Shane Geiser, Hannah Hooley, Amanda Magnan, and Madison Montgomery; from Chesaning, Jozalynn Boucher, Elizabeth Hoornstra, Sarah Minnis, and Noah Moeggenborg; from Corunna, Noah Aurand, Kaylynn Crawford, Kaylee Euler, Hunter Glew, Noah Jacobs, Courtney List and Tyler Quirk; from Laingsburg, Paden Graham; from New Lothrop, Paige Alkire, Natalie Delemeester, Brandon Kline, and Tyler Ruddy; from Ovid-Elsie, Kayla Duckert; from Owosso, Dalton Brown, Usman Kahn, Sarah Landes, and Olivia Reale; and from Perry, Bradley Cronk.

Past recipients of the Bruce and Jackie Cook Scholarship have included Mitchell Lawrence from Byron in 2016, Nick Miller from Laingsburg in 2015, Nolan Wendling from New Lothrop in 2014, Emily Feuka from Perry in 2013, Sam Whaley from Perry in 2012, Adam Stewart from Laingsburg in 2011, Valerie Foster from Byron in 2010, Adam Dingens from Corunna in 2009, Randy Piper from Owosso in 2008, Dan Frechtling from Perry in 2007 and Kendra Frye of Owosso in 2006.

To learn more about our scholarship program, follow this link.






Who will be going to UM this year?

DLP-0380 It keeps getting harder to get into the University of Michigan, but this year 27 students from the Shiawassee County region were admitted and will be attending this most prestigious university. And, as of August 1, another group of high school seniors have started on the path to gaining admission and scholarships.  Do you know any local students with strong academic records?  If so, the Cook Family Foundation would like to help them in their college search.

The Cook Family Foundation provides a scholarship to every student from ten high schools (Byron, Chesaning, Corunna, Durand, Laingsburg, Morrice, Ovid-Elsie, Owosso, and Perry) as well as any other resident from Shiawassee County who is admitted to and enrolls in the University of Michigan.  The process starts now as we work with local schools to identify qualified students.  Those students are invited on a trip to Ann Arbor this fall.  See our scholarship page (click here) for more details.

Can I Afford UM? This is a big concern for many families, and we are committed to helping Shiawassee area students not only get in to UM, but also to get the most help they can.  In addition to a scholarship from the Cook Family Foundation, many local students get significant financial aid to attend.  In fact, the University of Michigan is the only public university in Michigan that promises to cover 100 percent of demonstrated financial need of in-state students (read more from UM here).  Because of this financial aid, in-state tuition, and the significant earning potential of UM graduates, Money Magazine (click here) recently ranked UM as the #2 college in the US for the value of its degree.

DLP-9821 (1)How Do I Start?  UM, along with other top schools, uses the Common Application in the admissions process.  That application becomes available August 1, and we encourage high school seniors to start the process before school starts so that they can gather necessary records, finish a draft of essays, and line-up teacher recommendations.  The UM Office of Undergraduate Admissions has lots of information and assistance available (click here).  We also are available to answer questions about the application, financial aid and scholarship process in person (contact info here), on our website (click here), and on Twitter (follow us @GoBlueGoBruce).

Of course, the most qualified applicants have been working toward admission to a top school throughout their high school careers. Excellent grades, a strong curriculum, and high test scores just don’t happen senior year.  It takes four years of hard work and planning, and the Cook Family Foundation supports promising students through the Shiawassee Scholars program, which is run by the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District (click here for information)

Did you Get Our Newsletter?  You can download and read our most recent newsletter (click here) for a complete list of this year’s scholarship winners and photos of all the most recent Shiawassee Scholars.  If you would like a hard copy, contact us and we will add you to the mailing list.

Major Exhibit Showcases Community History

MIO-Storefront Event Image FinalManufacturing made Owosso, just like many towns in Michigan that were settled in the 19th century and boomed in the 20th century.  This important history is the subject of a current exhibit being put on by the Owosso Historical Commission and the Shiawassee Arts Council.  Major financial support for the exhibit comes from the Cook Family Foundation.

In four different venues along the Shiawassee River, the exhibit showcases photographs, historic documents, and actual products from a number of companies that made furniture, food stuffs, records, sleighs, printing supplies, automotive components, and a range of other goods.  Most of these items can be found in the Shiawassee Arts Center and Curwood Castle.  Comstock Cabin, an historic early structure, contains information about the people who participated in the founding of Owosso in 1836.  The Woodard Paymaster Building tells the story of Lyman Woodard, who established the furniture company that still bears the family name.

The exhibit will be on display and open to the public free of charge through September 16.  A series of events will be held throughout the summer that highlight the historical and cultural assets of several partner organizations.  A calendar, along with background information, can be found at the exhibit’s website www.madeinowosso.org

Many of the businesses that were started in the previous century are now gone from Owosso.  However, the influence they had on the design, growth, and development of Owosso are still felt.  So too, the charity of individuals and families that started businesses has shaped the lives of many in the community and has served as a legacy to these entrepreneurs.  Wolverine Sign Works, founded 100 years ago, generated the wealth that led to the creation of the Cook Family Foundation. We are proud to be part of the history, and future, of Owosso.  (Go here to see a video about the benefactor of the Foundation).

Foundation pledges $150,000 to support Memorial Healthcare Foundation

Owosso, MI — A primary purpose of the Cook Family Foundation is to strengthen the organizations that serve our community, and Memorial Healthcare has embarked on a major initiative to expand the capacity of its Emergency Department, the “front door” of the hospital.  To be a part of the Going to a Higher Level Campaign, the Cook Family Foundation has made a commitment of up to $150,000 to Memorial Healthcare Foundation.

Print“It is a pleasure to partner with Memorial Healthcare, the Foundation and its donors, and physician leaders to invest in our emergency department – a vital asset for a healthy community,” said Tom Cook, executive director of the family’s Foundation.

The Going to a Higher Level Campaign is an effort to raise funds to renovate and redesign the Emergency Department at Memorial Healthcare – the only emergency department in Shiawassee County. A primary mission of Memorial Healthcare is providing the highest quality emergency medical care and the planned investment is expected to improve the quality of care and experience of each patient. The Cook Family Foundation commitment is to match the amount of physician contributions to the campaign, up to a maximum award of $150,000.  The grant will be awarded over several years.

“We are grateful for The Cook Family Foundation and for its recognition of all that our medical staff does for the health and safety of the community,” said Ronald Bishop, DO, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Memorial Healthcare. “We would love to maximize their generous matching gift with $150,000, or more, in support from our medical staff.”

Foundation new logowhitemiddlewithtagMemorial Healthcare Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation governed by an independent board of directors. The Foundation provides continuing financial support for the development and improvement of Memorial Healthcare’s programs, services, technology and facilities.


Cook Family Announces Scholarship Winners

Twenty-seven of the leaders and best from the greater Shiawassee area have been awarded scholarships to attend the University of Michigan.  While all of the students have outstanding academic records, two students received special scholarships.  Mitchell Lawrence, valedictorian of Byron High School was awarded the Bruce & Jacqueline Cook Scholarship and Mary Basso, valedictorian of Owosso High School, was awarded the Donald Cook scholarship.

Mitchell Lawrence, son of Jon and Christina Lawrence, has been admitted to the Taubman College of Architecture and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Mitchell is the president of the student council and national honor society at Byron High School, and he has been dual-enrolled this past year at Lansing Community College taking upper level classes in Japanese, calculus and other subjects.  The Bruce & Jacqueline Cook Scholarship, funded by the namesakes, is four-year full tuition scholarship.

Mary Basso, daughter of Daniel and Tamara Basso, will be attending the Residential College at the University of Michigan studying French and looking for opportunities in international studies.  Mary serves as the president of several organizations: key club, environmental club, quiz bowl, and the student body.  She has taken an impressive 13 AP classes in her high school career.  The Donald Cook Scholarship, named after the founder of the Cook Family Foundation, provides $5,000 a year for four years. 

Full list of scholarship winners.  The Cook Family Foundation provides a scholarship to every student from the greater Shiawassee County region that attends the University of Michigan.  This year, award winners were from Byron Area High School:  Kaila Daley, Grant Floto, and Mitchell Lawrence; from Chesaning Union High School:  Ryan Brian, Cameron Cross, and Anthony Edgar; from Corunna High School: Alexander Backus, Brooke Brandt, Nicholas Mars, Arionna Stockinger, and Conner Svrcek; from Durand Area High School:  Jason Cottrell and Tatianna Fraley; from Laingsburg High School:  Katrina Granger and Tristan Merchant; from New Lothrop High School:  Harrison Miller and Hannah Thomas; from Ovid-Elsie High School:  Clayton Alaga, Conner Applebee, Addison Hymer, and Emma Phillipson; from Owosso High School:  Mary Basso, Rebecca Huska, and Valentina Larrivey; and from Perry High School:  Breanna Bixler, Micah Johnson, and Robert Massie.
In addition, the University of Michigan provides financial aid to all students from Michigan to meet their financial need above their expected family contribution.  You can learn more about the application process, scholarships and financial aid on our website (click here).