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Celebrating Heroes – Annual Gathering 2022

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFFMC) is proud to partner with the Muskegon Area District Library (MADL) for this year’s Annual Gathering – Celebrating Heroes. The Annual Gathering will take place on November 10 at 6pm at the Frauenthal Center. This FREE event is open to the public and will feature renowned author Matt de la Pena as headlining speaker along with recognition of a Muskegon County hero though this year’s Impact Award.

Matt de la Peña is the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Medal winning author of seven young adult novels and five picture books. Two of which are the chosen books for MADL’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore. Both books feature stories of HEROES journeys. Matt with share his personal journey from reluctant reader to writer, focusing on the barriers many working class boys and young men encounter in the acquisition of literacy. Book sales and signing will also be available during the event.

The Impact Award recognizes a local hero and community leader who has gone above and beyond to advance education, foster a dynamic local economy, and promote prosperity for all in Muskegon County. The winner will receive $5,000 to grant to a local nonprofit whose work aligns with one or more of those focus areas.

Todd Jacobs, CFFMC Director commented, “This event is a natural fit as both the Community Foundation and MADL have a shared focus around the area of lifelong literacy. This will be an evening filled with great networking, food from local favorites and a celebration of local and national heroes!”

The NEA Big Read Lakeshore, is a program supported by Hope College, through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and brought to the Muskegon Lakeshore by MADL. This program encourages the Lakeshore Community to connect through the power and possibility of literature through the readings and teachings of the same books. Fostering a culture where community and reading matter, the Big Read continues to expand its impact and success.

“We are proud to bring NEA Big Read Lakeshore and Matt de la Pena to Muskegon County! This shared literary experience not only introduces readers to new and exciting stories, but it also brings us together as a community to offer a better understand of ourselves and our neighbors,” commented Ron Suszek, MADL Director.

In addition to the partnership between the CFFMC and MADL, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) has also been instrumental in making NEA Big Read Lakeshore an inclusive community initiative. MAISD has integrated Last Stop on Market Street into the 2nd grade curriculum and literacy coaching efforts this fall, and students from across the county will be able to attend a special school program on November 10th at Orchard View Auditorium, where Matt de la Pena will also be presenting to over 800 second graders.

Complimentary food provided by local businesses and networking will begin at 6:00 pm, with the program commencing at 7:00 pm. While the event is free, registration is strongly encouraged. Please register here: