Lakeshore Advantage establishes new fund


A new economic catalyst fund has been established for future developments on the lakeshore.

Through investment by 40 individuals and businesses, nearly $1.7 million has been raised to seed the Now for the Next Fund through the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.

This new fund serves as a replacement for the Holland Economic Development Corporation (HEDCOR) Fund, which was created in 2008 with a $1.4 million gift from proceeds of industrial land sales. The Holland Economic Development Corporation, which created industrial parks in Holland, dissolved in 2007 and created the HEDCOR Fund. 

This fund has provided operations support to Lakeshore Advantage since 2008. In addition, this fund seeded the launch of the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute, NewNorth Center for Innovation and Design, and the Holland SmartZone.

“That fund really was the catalytic fund for some big economic development occurrences in our region,” said Emily Staley, vice president of marketing and communications for Lakeshore Advantage.

HEDCOR was the first to donate to the Bioeconomy Institute’s endowment campaign in 2008, allowing the creation of the institute and a research director position. The institute provides specialty chemical and fermentation development, scale-up, manufacturing, and sponsored research and testing. The Holland location offers business incubation opportunities and laboratory space rental, as well as educational programming, training and services.

Staley said HEDCOR helped fund the launch of NewNorth Center for Innovation and Design during the economic downturn in 2009, which provided leadership training to a lot of entrepreneurs and business leaders in the community.

“So that the leadership at our companies were ready for what came after the Great Recession,” Staley said.

Finally, the HEDCOR fund closed the gap that allowed the launch for the Holland SmartZone, which Staley said has benefited the area’s entrepreneurs.

With the HEDCOR fund almost depleted, the Now for the Next fundraising campaign was designed to ensure this funding element continued for another 10 years, Staley said.

“We may not know right now where those economic opportunities are; we might have some ideas, but we want to make sure that we're ready so that our community can be in front of what the next opportunities are,” Staley said.

The Now for the Next advisory committee agreed the priority of the fund will continue being operations for Lakeshore Advantage. Lakeshore Advantage has received $50,000 per year for operations since 2006 from the HEDCOR fund. In 2019, the Now for the Next committee voted to increase the funding to $75,000 annually.

In a May meeting with investors, they outlined top priority areas for investment opportunities for the remaining funds: talent development and attraction, advanced infrastructure, community revitalization and education — the former two being the most important. 

Staley said the support of this and other economic initiatives shows the “community is a place where people want to live and work now and in future generations.”

“This shows that we're looking toward the future,” she said.

The goal for the Now for the Next fund is $2 million by 2020, and there is room for additional supporters, Lakeshore Advantage said.

The Now for the Next advisory committee will meet quarterly to review projects and provide guidance. 

Committee members include:

Scott Brooks, Brooks Capital Management

Jane Clark, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce

Garth Deur, community advocate

Bret Docter, Property Quest

Paul Doyle, Coastal Container

Jeff Elhart, Elhart Automotive Campus

Craig Hall, Lee Shore Enterprises

Brad Haverkamp, Chemical Bank

Ron Lewis, Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital

Sarah Lilly, Five Star Lakeshore

Bruce Los, softArchitecture

Scott Lubbers, Fifth Third Bank

Haans Mulder, Cunningham Dalman PC

Nick Nykerk, Lakewood Construction

Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage

Scott Spoelhof, Bayside Capital Management

Kelly Springer, Metal Flow Corporation

Ross Vande Wege, Techno-Coat, Inc.

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