Back in the late 1980s, when Mike Kasperski agreed to attend a meeting of Dow Corning employees who lived in Bay County, he wasn’t sure what to expect. What he most likely didn’t expect was that it would lead to nearly 30 years of volunteer involvement with the Bay Area Community Foundation.
That initial meeting resulted in a committed group of co-workers, including Mike, establishing the Dow Corning Employees Educational Fund. A few years later, energized by working closely with BACF Founder Peg Rowley on that project, Mike rallied his friends in the Bay Area USBC Bowling Association to create a scholarship fund to benefit local student bowlers. This early involvement led to him volunteering his time and talents in multiple areas in service to Bay Area Community Foundation.
Starting as a member of the scholarship selection committee (and eventually serving as that committee’s chair), progressing to a ten-year commitment to the budding Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) and ultimately completing a nine-year term on the Board of Trustees, Mike served the organization selflessly across several decades.
“My favorite thing,” Mike revealed, “was working with the YAC kids. I learned so much about grants from those kids. They’re amazing. They’re not afraid to ask tough questions.”
Quick to credit the steady support of his wife, Nancy, with making his contributions of time to BACF possible, Mike says they viewed his work with the Foundation as a team effort. “We both worked full-time and her help in picking up the slack at home made it possible for me to pursue these other interests,” he remembers.
Mike and Nancy were both born and raised in Alpena, Michigan and were newly married when they moved to Auburn for his job at Dow Corning in 1968. Nancy was a teacher, first in Saginaw Township Schools and then for 35 years at Bangor West and Central Elementary Schools. Now married for 53 years, the couple has two grown sons and six grandchildren. Though they moved to Florida in 2016, they continue to keep up with changes and improvements in the Bay Area through the Foundation’s website.
This summer, Mike and Nancy stopped in to the BACF offices to say hello while visiting the area. When they learned of the foundation’s goal to raise additional unrestricted funds through the Compeau Challenge, they knew immediately that starting a named fund was something they wanted to do.
Mike explained, “We so enjoyed living in the Bay Area. It was a wonderful place to live and raise our family. I got so much out of my time with the Bay Area Community Foundation. I learned so much and have such fond memories of the work we did!”
He continued, “I’m proud to have been part of the positive impact that BACF has had in the community. Both Nancy and I completely understand how important it is for the organization to have unrestricted funds available to meet ever-changing needs.”
The couple was originally spurred to get involved in their community by the work of Peggy Rowley all those years ago and they remain inspired by her example to this day.
“Peg was amazing, what an incredible brain. She brought all these people together under one umbrella to do good things. This fund is just us doing our part to help keep the umbrella open,” they concluded.
We’re so grateful to Mike and Nancy for their commitment to their adopted hometown. Their generosity will ensure Bay County remains a vibrant community and a great place to raise a family.
Do you want to learn more about how to create your own legacy? Visit www.bayfoundation.org/generosity for more details about the challenge.