Mackinac Island is a premiere tourist attraction and summer colony. It is a place that has undergone great amounts of preservation. Maintaining it as a National Historic Landmark has been an act of love and significant amount of good ol' elbowgrease to sustain and inspire the abundance of visitors and residents who love this island.
Tourism has a major impact on the generation of jobs on Mackinac as it is the most important source of income. A monumental 'hat tip' to these charities and non-profits who help to continue Mackinac Island's legacy:
Mackinac Island Community Foundation
The Mackinac Island Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of visitors as well as lifelong residents of Mackinac Island. It was first established as a source of charitable capital for the island. On average, 450 gifts have been given every year for the past five years. What makes a contribution to this foundation so special is that it is everlasting, and put into an endowment that continues to grow for years to come.
The Little Barn
The Little Barn, restored by Mackinac Island Carriage Tours and the Chambers family, provides a haven for kids that want to learn anything and everything about horses, from grooming to riding. The Little Barn houses the Mackinac Island Children's Riding Academy and completely operates as a nonprofit, relying entirely on the generous giving from the community. Every year, however, the kids return the favor to the community by way of 'give back' projects that take place every Summer. The Little Barn strives to "provide young riders with a solid foundation for becoming a life-long equestrian.
The Little Barn at the Mackinac Island Children's Riding Academy
Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association
The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1983, making it one of the nation’s oldest lighthouse preservation groups. Their mission statement calls for, “the preservation of lighthouses, the stories of those who kept them, and developing a new generation of preservationists.”
Mackinac Horsemen’s Association
The Mackinac Horsemen’s Association, a nonprofit educational organization on the island, “…is dedicated to the promotion, education, and future of horses and horsemanship,” on the island that banned cars long ago in 1898. The association is located within the confines of the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center (MCEC), a stunning 3.5 acre site that presides towards the rear of the island and is located across from the famous Wawashkamo Golf Club. The land is leased to the association for only $1 per year from Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) and is fitted with a 13-box stall stable (one stable for each of their 13 horses), which also includes seven paddocks, a working round pen, and a 100’ x 200’ outdoor arena where horse and human can come together to learn about one another.
Mackinac Arts Council
The Mackinac Arts Council has been designated as the island’s nonprofit arts agency. It has been around for fifteen years. The idea for this organization began in 2002 when artist Becki Barnwell felt that residents and visitors would benefit by having better access to the arts. In order to enhance that experience, she organized a group to form an arts council. It was structured to provide an organizational backbone to help nonprofit entities achieve their outreach goals.
The island has many great opportunities to enrich both one’s personal life and the lives of others. Getting involved with one of Mackinac Island’s many charities means maintaining the beauty of the island for that much longer, and showing others a piece of that beauty too.
Mackinac Island Yacht Club
Since 1937, the Mackinac Island Yacht Club, a nonprofit organization located across from the Mackinac Island Marina, has been serving members for 80+ years with its rich history, exciting boat races, and iconic club house.
The Mackinac Island Yacht Club
Mackinac Island Recreational Development, Inc. (MIRD)
In 1979, the Mackinac Island Recreational Development, Inc (MIRD), was incorporated as a non-profit organization. MIRD was put together to identify and address the recreational needs brought forth by the Mackinac Island community. Since then, it has blossomed in to something that has become an integral part of the community on Mackinac Island. In fact, recreation development became such a big discussion on the island that in 1996 a recreation ordinance was adopted by the city thus putting in motion the creation of an entire recreation department aimed at promoting and developing recreational activities on the island. MIRD, with help from Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the City of Mackinac Island, and Mackinac Public schools was largely responsible for the creation and development of Great Turtle Park. MIRD’s aim is to provide the community of Mackinac with, “… year-round recreational opportunities that encourage, support and convey a healthy, active lifestyle for all.”