LEADERSHIP BARRY COUNTY HISTORY
In 1989 The W.K. Kellogg Foundation identified 9 counties in West Michigan as a growth area. They determined there was a need for intentional leadership development and training.
1990 was the first leadership class in Barry County “Leading Into the 90’s” sponsored by MSU Extension, Thornapple Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation was lead by Jan Hartough.
The program began with a shoestring budget of just a few thousand dollars. The Thornapple Foundation recognized that the effort needed more funding, and gave its largest grant for that time of $10,000.
Leadership curriculum was developed over the next several years. The program had a very future-oriented focus and the partnership with the MSU Extension provided access to many resources and cutting edge speakers.
In the late 1990s, the Barry Community Foundation awarded a substantial grant to the program to assist in their finding and establishing a stream of operating funds. While many different avenues were explored, partnerships evolved with Michigan State University Cooperative Extension, Kellogg Community College, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and the Barry County Chamber of Commerce. Strong partnerships and relationships have been created throughout the years, and that has remained one of Leadership Barry County’s strengths.
In addition to Jan, directors of the program over the years have included Sandi Drummond, Patti Oakland, Kathy LaVictor, Nancy Goodin, Dana Rittenburg, Jennifer Richards, and Sarah Alden.
In 2008, we entered into a partnership with the Barry Community Foundation. The program had been housed in space provided by Hastings City Bank, but in 2008 it moved into the Foundation. This partnership allowed a Barry Community Foundation employee to roll Leadership into part of her job responsibilities This created efficiencies in office space and resources. In addition, being housed under the Foundation umbrella has created tremendous connections for the Leadership Barry County Program.