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Al and Joy McFayden and text that says "generosity changes everything"

Even though their permanent address is in New Hampshire, Al and Joy McFadyen say they’ll never stop supporting the community where they built careers and raised a family.

“We lived in the Bay City area for 50 years and that’s pretty much in our blood,” says Al, who retired after working more than 30 years for the City of Bay City.

“You know the old saying, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. It’s just such an important part of our lives that even though we’re living in New Hampshire, it doesn’t change anything in terms of our feelings toward the community.”

Joy, a retired elementary school teacher, jumps in: “And it never will.”

“It gives us great joy to give to the Bay Area Community Foundation,” she adds. “The Bay area was a great place to raise our kids and we had so much support whenever we needed it. People were friendly. And, most of all, the Bay Area Community Foundation has the leadership and is strong and well managed and has made such a difference in improving the life of the community.”

Al is quick to point out that he was heavily influenced to support the community by Peggy Rowley, who donated countless hours to establish community landmarks such as this Foundation, Riverwalk, and RailTrail.

“The important thing is we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for Bay City,” he says.

While both Al and Joy have donated to many different local causes such as their church, the United Way, and the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, Joy says she used to prefer hands-on volunteering over monetary donations. She served on boards and volunteered to physically contribute to different projects.

“It’s been longer for me to realize that a lot of work can be done (through donations) now that I can’t do as much with my own arms,” she says with a laugh.

She learned that lesson from her fifth grade students at Hampton Elementary School. Joy says the school applied to the Bay Area Community Foundation for money to build a rain garden. The goal was to use natural techniques to reduce the pollution running off from parking lots to the Saginaw Bay.

Joy watched as the kids responded to seeing adults taking an active interest in their thoughts and ideas. Even years later, when she saw the students, they told her how much it meant to them to see the Community Foundation provide the funding to bring their idea to life.

“I know personally that experience made a huge difference in children’s views about how a community can be supportive,” she remembers. “Those kids had a life-changing experience, which opened my eyes to how funding something was important,” she says.

In 2022, the McFadyens were able to participate in the Compeau Challenge. Thanks to the generosity of Garnett and Elmie Compeau, the Foundation is able to provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for individuals to create their own named funds.

Joy says they didn’t know anything about the Challenge when they first contacted the Foundation about donation opportunities.

“We didn’t know about the challenge opportunity. I just thought it’s time for me to give more because I can do it now,” Joy says.

Although this donation was a milestone, the couple says it won’t be the last time they express their love for this community.

“It’s an important part of our life and it’s going to continue even if we’re 900 miles away,” Al says.

 

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Pere Marquette Depot - Bay City, MI




Pere Marquette Depot in Downtown Bay City

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