Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Promise Project

In 2018 the Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Club (CTSR) formed the Sunrise
Rotary Project Team with a purpose to develop a regional Promise Project. This
Promise Project is modeled on 350+ projects across the U.S. and nearly 25 started in
Michigan. Each Promise Project is unique, tailored to the distinctive needs of the local region.

The goal of the CTSR Promise Project:

  • Make post-high school education more affordable
  • Increase the number of people seeking post-high school education/training
  • Improve the success rate of program completions
  • Decrease student debt rates in the region

The first five years of the program awarded 126 Sunrise Rotary Promise Scholarships
totaling over $100,000. 41 student recipients completed their programs. Approximately 70% of the awards have gone to nursing students, mostly non-traditional, in KCC nursing programs. Interest in the Promise Scholarship Program has grown with applications for the scholarships increasing from 24 in year one to approximately 60 students in recent years.

In the first quarter of 2024 the seven-year direct funding goal of $20,000 per year and the $500,000 funding goal for the Promise Endowment have been met with the
successful completion of several key programs;

  • County Wide Rotary Double Match Challenge ($100,000)
  • The Keystone Corporate Partner Public Match Campaign ($200,000)
  • Capstone Final Push Campaign ($100,000).

Hundreds of generous supporters that have contributed to the successful completion of the project goals and they can be viewed on our donor recognition tab on the CTSRC website but notably several key contributors have made the project goals completion possible:

Cornerstone Level ($50,000 and greater):

Thomas Bott Donor Advised Fund, the Hal & Lillian Creal Fund, the George & Kathie
Babcoke Trust, the CTSRC & CTSRF and its members

Keystone Level ($25,000 and greater):

Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, Century Bank & Trust, ProMedica Coldwater Regional Hospital, Clemens Food Group and the Coldwater Noon Club

Even though the Promise Endowment funding goal was achieved, the fund will remain open for support to potentially increase the giving levels and cover the increasing need that exists in our region. If you can help or you have any questions, please contact George Babcoke (724) 553-9099 or Jon Harpst (517) 202-7849. Donations may be made at Donate to the Promise Project | Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Fdn (

History of the Promise Program
CTSR Club and the Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Foundation (CTSRF) board
launched the Promise project with the initial funding of $15,000 for three years from the club and $5,000 for five years from the foundation.
Previous to the pandemic, Branch County realized a surge of new & growing business causing a 3.6% unemployment rate. Companies and contractors expressed the need for specific skills to fill their open positions. After significant research of the shortage of skills it was determined that the Promise Scholarship Project would narrow its focus on two critical needs:

  • Health care professionals: Branch County designated as severely underservedfor health care professionals (2000:1 per capita coverage), ranked amongst the lowest in the state and nearly twice the state.
  • Skilled trades professionals: both construction & industry, are vulnerable by lackof trained skilled trades. Branch County rate of working age residents (age 25-65) that have sought post-high school education of any kind is 14%, again one of the lowest counties in the state and compares to the state average of 45%.

CTSR Club approved the initiative & the Sunrise Promise Team began working in
partnership with Kellogg Community College (KCC) and its Foundation (KCCF) to
develop a platform and unique requirements of the project. The partnership was
formalized in August, 2019. KCCF and the Sunrise Promise Team announced and
launched the KCCF/Sunrise Rotary Promise Scholarship Program with $20,000
expected to be awarded in the first year of the launch. The needs-based program
covers 14 programs in the Allied Health department, including the recently launched
EMT/EMS program and 7 programs in the industrial trade curriculum. For the 2019-20 school year there were 24 applicants of the approximately 70 students registered in these programs. The selection team awarded 19 scholarships to Branch County residents and/or graduates of Branch County high schools ranging from $500-2000 and totaling $20,000. The Promise Scholarships were awarded to 15 students enrolled in nursing programs, 2 in other allied health programs and 2 in industrial trade programs.

KCCF partnering with Sunrise Rotary Promise Project has increased interest and
assistance for Branch County students to $80,000, approximately a 30% increase from prior years.

Model of Sustainability:

The Promise Team working with KCCF to build on the first-year launch, developed a
three-phase strategy to insure sustainability of the important impact to our Region 1
(years 1-3):

CTSR and CTSRF and in partnership with KCCF fund the Sunrise Rotary Promise Scholarship Program with $20,000 for three years (completed).

Phase 2 (years 4-7):
With CTSRF contribution of $5,000 for years 4-5, the Promise Team needs to identify
community partners to step into the role to help fund $15,000 in each year. The Promise Team met with the Trustees of the Thomas Bott Donor Advised Fund. The Trustees(members include Presidents of SMB&T & CB&T) approved the donation of $60,000 from the Trust to directly fund the health care scholarships for a four-year period ($15,000/year). A public release of this significant step termed a “Cornerstone Partner” was issued the week of April 13, 2020. This generous gift guarantees that the Promise scholarships will be directly funded for seven years extending the path to accomplish Phase 3 of the sustainability model. With the $2000 grant from Apex Clean Energy and a $3200 matching grant from Rotary District 6360 and a recent $3500 grant from the Branch County Community Foundation, the required funds to complete the seven-year direct funding goal has been earmarked.

In late 2018 the Promise Endowment Fund was created with the support of private
donations and the goal of $500,000 was set to ensure perpetual funding of the $20,000 per year needed to sustain the Sunrise Rotary Promise Scholarship Program.
In the fall of 2020, the Promise Team launched a membership program to promote
multi-year giving. This initiative provides donors the opportunity to join the effort at
whatever level they are able to support. Online giving and joining the Membership
Program is available at by clicking the Promise tab and
Donate Now button or click on the following link. Donate to the Promise Project |
Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Fdn (

Club Leaders
Weekly Bulletin
Promise Program Fundraising Status

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