Gogebic Range Health Foundation Names Kassi Huotari as Executive Director

IRONWOOD, MI – Gogebic Range Health Foundation, a nonprofit community-based organization dedicated to advancing health outcomes across the Gogebic Range, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kassi Huotari as its new Executive Director, effective immediately. 

An area native, Kassi brings seven years of nonprofit and institutional management experience, with a proven track record of driving organizational growth, fostering collaboration, and implementing strategic and financial initiatives. Most recently, she served as Business Manager at the Bessemer Area School District, where she oversaw operations, transportation, and human resources functions, and was actively involved in fiscal and strategic planning. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Kassi to our team,” said John Garske, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Her passion for our mission, combined with her expertise in nonprofit management, makes Kassi the ideal person to lead our organization into its next chapter.”

As Executive Director, Kassi will be responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the organization, managing day-to-day operations, and building relationships with stakeholders and the community. She will be onboarding over the next several weeks and will assume the role full-time starting July 1.

“I am honored to join Gogebic Range Health Foundation and work alongside such a dedicated team,” said Kassi. “I look forward to building on the organization’s successes and advancing its mission to improve health outcomes throughout the community.”

For more information, please email info@gogebicrangehf.org

About Gogebic Range Health Foundation: Based in Ironwood, in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula, the Gogebic Range Health Foundation now serves to advance community health throughout the Gogebic Range, which includes Gogebic County, Michigan, as well as Iron County, Wisconsin, and to establish the Gogebic Range as a fun and healthy place to live. See more about current efforts at http://www.gogebicrangehf.org

The Anderson Bluffs and River Trails Foundation and the Gogebic Range Health Foundation, nonprofit organizations, are proud to announce Project Connect, a collaborative effort to build, maintain and enhance walking, biking and cross-country skiing trails throughout the Gogebic Range.

Project Connect is a visionary plan that lays out the progress made on the trail systems and the extensions that are currently being worked on. The plan is an alignment of the foundation’s missions and encourages the community to become engaged through donations that make a meaningful impact on specific trails segments. To achieve the vision, the two Foundation’s have identified a number of priority trails across both Iron County, Wi and Gogebic County, MI that need improvements or expansions in addition to already having resources and or are currently underway.

Scott Anderson, Director for the Anderson Bluffs and River Trails Foundation supports the collaboration and explains, “Our initiative will not only help improve health through physical activity but also increase economic development through enhanced tourism opportunities for those who visit our community annually for skiing and other activities enjoyed by residents. Together we can make a meaningful impact on our community. By supporting this project, you are helping us create a truly connected community where residents can access resources, amenities and recreation across town through walking, biking or skiing. Your support encourages others to engage in similar efforts as well as creates a legacy for future generations of family members.”

Andrea Bergman, Executive Director for the Gogebic Range Health Foundation states, “We believe that access to our beautiful outdoor spaces and amenities is a major factor in the quality of life our residents, visitors and businesses experience. Connecting our trails systems with safe, accessible trails can have a positive impact on the health, economy and quality of life in our region. Project Connect is an opportunity to engage the community in the development of our trail systems that we all use and love. With your help, we can make a clear, visible and realistic plan for how to get more people enjoying the outdoors. Project Connect is about taking action and making change happen.”

More information about Project Connect can be found on the Foundation’s websites, www.gogebicrangehf.org and www.andersonbluffsrivertrailsfoundation.org.  Donations are also being accepted by each Foundation. To donate to the Anderson Bluffs and River Trails Foundation you can go to their website or send checks to E 5299 West Pioneer Rd, Ironwood MI 49938. To donate to the Gogebic Range Health Foundation you can go to their website or send checks to E 6112 Bluff View Rd, Ironwood MI 49938.

Contact Andrea Bergman 906-364-7527 or email at andrea.newby@gogebicrangehf.org  

The Gogebic Range Health Foundation’s fall grant cycle is open.

The foundation is now accepting Letter of Intent submissions at www.gogebicrangehf.org/apply-for-grants/. Information about grant priorities and the application process can be found on the website as well.

The Gogebic Range Health Foundation’s grant program supports community-based health initiatives that align with the Foundation’s mission and vision. Applications from organizations and agencies that have pedestrian walking and biking infrastructure projects and that make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to walk/bike for recreation or transportation are encouraged. Priority will be given to projects that are seeking match funding or gap funds. A specific percentage match is not required but leveraging funds and funding partnerships are reviewed very carefully.

Please review the information on the website carefully before submitting an application. Contact info@gogebicrangehf.org with questions.

Fall Grant Priority Areas

  • Pedestrian walking/biking paths, lanes and trails
  • Mountain bike trails and facilities
  • Connector trails from neighborhoods and parks to the Iron Belle Trail or the Mercer By Bike regional trail corridors
  • Land acquisition with an existing plan for trail development.
  • Safe Routes to School projects that improve safety of children walking and biking to school.

The GRHF generally makes grants to the following.

  1. Tax exempt organizations under 501(c)(3) and organizations that meet our mission and vision
  2. Public agencies including school districts, state, county and city governments
  3. Organizations and agencies located in the Gogebic Iron Range: Iron County, Wi and Gogebic County, MI.

The GRHF generally does not make grants to the following.

  • For profit organizations
  • General operating costs and salaries
  • Travel
  • Organizations and projects that do not align with our mission or priorities
  • Individuals, sectarian, religious or political activities/campaigns/causes
  • Projects in which the Gogebic Range Health Foundation is the sole or primary funder
  • Projects outside of Iron County, Wi or Gogebic County, MI
  • Events, races, promotions, sponsorships

The mission of the Gogebic Range Health Foundation is to advance community health across the Gogebic Range, and they accomplish this through investing in projects that make a sustainable impact on the community. Andrea Newby, Executive Director states that “We believe our greatest opportunity is to leverage funding from other agencies, and to serve as a catalyst in making community health projects a possibility.”

The Gogebic Range Health Foundations funding priorities are based on the idea of a broad definition of health, that there is much more to health than health care. Newby says, Strategic focus on facilitating and leading efforts to create an interconnected network of pedestrian walking and biking trails will lead to health benefits that include better overall physical health and mental health of residents and economic health of the community.

The grant process has two parts, a Letter of Intent, and a full application. The Letter of Intent is due October 8, 2021. Organizations will be invited to submit a full application, after all Letter of Intent submissions have been reviewed.

Information about the fall grant cycle is at www.gogebicrangehf.org/funding-priorities/ and the application process at www.gogebicrangehf.org/apply-for-grants .

For questions please email infor@gogebicrangehf.org or contact Andrea at 906-364-7525.

Get Connected September 2021

We’ve partnered up with the Extension Iron County, Gogebic County Community Mental Health and Range Suicide Prevention Coalition to share a special promotion of community events and mental health resources available across the Gogebic Iron Range.  “Get Connected in September 2021” raises awareness of September as both National Recovery and Suicide Awareness Month and highlights community partners who continually provide every resident with opportunities to be healthy and socially connected.

People who make frequent and positive contact with others tend to have better health.  It’s not a far-out idea, but sometimes we may need encouragement or support to engage in social spaces and activities1

“While we are very lucky to have access to COVID-19 vaccinations available in 2021, our county health and human services departments are still extremely busy, and this project seemed like an appropriate way to compliment their efforts,” explains Amy Nosal, Extension Iron County Community Development Educator.  “COVID-19 safety considerations are still needed, and we are fortunate to live in an area that values being active outside, as is clear by the list of events featured in “Get connected in September 2021,” she continues.

The Gogebic County Community Mental Health Authority and the Range Suicide Prevention Council have been key partners in the “Get Connected in September 2021” project, providing directories of resources and events that aim to support and normalize mental health.  These resources and events are highlighted in a poster format and shared broadly online.  Additionally, for those interested in supporting mental health programs across the Gogebic Range, there is an invitation to donate to the Jonathan A. Erickson Memorial Fund managed by the Gogebic Range Health Foundation. This fund supports programs and projects that raise awareness of mental health conditions and the expansion of services for individuals and families who may need services.

Andrea Newby, Executive Director of the Gogebic Range Health Foundation sits down with Dr. George McNulty, President of Gogebic Community College to discuss collaborations on community health projects.

GRHF is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, for more information visit our website at www.gogebicrangehf.org

For more information about Gogebic Community College visit www.gogebic.edu. You can make a donation to the Gogebic Range Health Foundation and be a part of making these projects happen and make a difference on the community health of the Gogebic Range. www.gogebicrangehf.org/donate

Andrea Newby, Executive Director of the Gogebic Range Health Foundation sits down with the Penokee Rangers, Rebecca Holm and Charly Zinsmaster, to discuss their 2020 grant project. You can make a donation to the Gogebic Range Health Foundation and be a part of making these projects happen and make a difference on community health of the Gogebic Range. www.gogebicrangehf.org/donate. For more information about the Penokee Rangers visit www.penokeerangers.com.

Gogebic Range Health Foundation hosts its Annual Celebration 

GRHF is celebrating its fifth year as a public charity foundation by holding a virtual celebration, during the month of June.  “After a difficult year for everyone we wanted to bring light to and celebrate the programs, projects, organizations, businesses and people that created spaces for people to engage in health” Andrea Newby, Executive Director explains.  “It was difficult because the pandemic caused our lives to be disrupted and many suffered great losses.  But the community persevered and pulled together, so we are focused on highlighting the organizations and people that helped create healthy spaces for residents and visitors”.

Annual Community Health Celebration Events

Community Health Organization Mini Video Series 

The GRHF will highlight groups that make Gogebic County MI and Iron County WI a healthy and fun place to live….Penokee Rangers, Friends of the Iron Belle Trail, MECCA Trails, Gogebic Community College, ICORE, SISU Dirt Crew are among the groups that will be featured. 

Community Health Champion Awards

We will also be announcing our new Community Health Champion awards.  A Community Health award will be presented to a business, an organization and an individual that has made an impact on community health in the last year. 

Silent Auction – June 24 – 26 at Cold Iron Brewery

We will be holding a live silent auction at Cold Iron Brewery in Downtown Ironwood on June 24, 25, and 26th during brewery hours.  

Make a Donation

You can help us continue to fund great community health projects by making a donation. Make a donation to help us meet our challenge of 30 $100 donations in 30 days.

Please welcome our newest board member Kevin Nquist! Kevin comes to the Gogebic Range Health Foundation with experience serving as a board member for many community organizations. He also has a great deal of financial experience. We believe that Kevin will be a great addition to the health foundation board as he has a passion for the health of the Gogebic Range.

Kevin also mentioned that he is “very excited to be a part of the GRHF as it is a dynamic group and the organization is very actively making the community better, by sponsoring events and making grants available, to help residents pursue more healthy lifestyles. I look forward to becoming more involved in this community by being a part of the GRHF.”

We are looking forward to working with Mr. Nquist and having him as part of our team.