Our Grand Rapids Community Foundation

History of the Lowell Area Community Fund

In May of 1996, Harold J. Englehardt's will set into motion a legacy that will benefit the Lowell area community in perpetuity. Known as a low-key, humble man who lived his life simply and without fanfare, Mr. Englehardt was a self-made millionaire who chose to give back to the community he loved so well. Upon his death, the Lowell Area Community Fund (LACF) was created through a $12.7 million philanthropic bequest from Mr. Englehardt.

The LACF was set up to be a donor advised fund under the auspices of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The income produced by the fund is to be used, according to the fund agreement, to promote and stimulate a strong sense of community. It was Mr. Englehardt's wish to make the Lowell area a better place for all.

The intent of Mr. Englehardt's gift to the community is stipulated in the fund agreement. Of particular concern to Mr. Englehardt and his wife, Mildred, was quality education. Although education was named as a definite priority, he listed other causes as well. His overall vision for this fund was to encourage a healthy community by supporting:

  • educational and scholarship programs
  • the arts and culture
  • economic development
  • the natural environment
  • health
  • human services
  • recreation

Three times annually, grant applications are reviewed by the Advisory Committee of the Lowell Area Community Fund. Grants are made using funds that are generated by the investment of the original bequest, the principal of which cannot be used for grant making. Currently, more than $600,000 is available each year for use in the Lowell area!

Although the seed money for the fund originated from a private source, the Advisory Committee of the Lowell Area Community Fund is charged through Mr. Englehardt's fund agreement to act upon grant applications with the good of the community in mind. The fund is able to accept other bequests and donations from community members who have a like-minded interest in giving back to the Lowell area community. In fact, the reason the fund does not bear his name is that his interest was to have the fund bear the name of the community which both supports and benefits from it.

Complete list of Lowell Area Community Fund Grant Recipients

  • Camp Fire USA
  • Christ the King School
  • Christian Caregiver Relief (CCR) – Lowell Chapter
  • Fallasburg Historical Society
  • First Congregational Church
  • Flat River Outreach Ministries
  • Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Lowell Program
  • Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association
  • Grand Valley American Indian Lodge
  • Greater Lowell Chamber Foundation
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Impact Church
  • Kent County Agricultural Preservation Board
  • Kent County Parks Department
  • Kent County Youth Agricultural Association (Youth Fair)
  • Kent MSU Extension
  • Land Conservancy of West Michigan
  • Lowell Amateur Radio Club
  • Lowell Area Arts Council
  • Lowell Area Historical Society
  • Lowell Area Recreation Authority
  • Lowell Area Schools
  • Lowell Area Schools Education Foundation
  • Lowell Charter Township
  • Lowell Community Wellness
  • Lowell Friends of the Library
  • City of Lowell
  • Lowell-Alto 4-H Friends Club
  • North Country Trail Association
  • Rockford Ambulance
  • Senior Neighbors
  • St. Mary Catholic Church
  • Vergennes Township
  • West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition
  • YMCA