Community Foundation presents annual Catalyst Awards

Dozens gather Tuesday evening for the Community Foundation of Marquette County annual celebration at Northern Michigan University. The event featured presentations by local business, club, youth and individual leaders; a message from grant recipients; and an annual report presentation. (Journal photo by Meg Morales)

MARQUETTE — The Community Foundation of Marquette County presented 2017 Catalyst Awards to four recipients during its annual celebration event on Tuesday at Northern Michigan University’s Bottum University Center.

The Catalyst Award is given to people, organizations and businesses based on demonstrated commitment to the Marquette County community through volunteerism or philanthropy, a CFMC press release states.

Tadych’s Econo Foods was chosen to receive the Business Catalyst Award.

“The funding opportunities Econo Foods offers any non-for-profit organization through the We Share program has totaled over $1 million,” the release states.

Through the program, 1 percent of Econo Foods receipts turned in goes to these organizations.

President of the Range Area Mountain Bike Association and founder of the 906 Adventure Team Todd Poquette, center stage, delivers a message to the audience about what the grant awarded to his groups has allowed them to do. (Journal photo by Meg Morales)

Econo Foods manager Zach Quinnell said the We Share program is a way to give back to the community it serves.

“Our company firmly believes that what goes around comes around and being a community-minded business is important,” Quinnell said.

Cancer Care of Marquette County received the Service Club or Organization Catalyst Award, according to the release.

Cancer Care of Marquette County, according to its mission, facilitates programs for the public concerning cancer and helps cancer patients in the county who need financial assistance, support and understanding.

With no office or paid employees, less than 2 percent of the volunteer organization’s budget goes to overhead.

“These dedicated volunteers, many of whom have been affected by cancer, fill immediate and critical needs facing cancer patients in treatment such as travel, lodging, mileage, car repair or any number of expenses these people incur. They are also there for support and understanding,” the press release states.

Thomas Ziegler, a recent Negaunee High School graduate and Michigan Tech University freshman, is CFMC’s pick for the Youth Catalyst Award. Ziegler, who was nominated by CFMC board vice-chair Anne Giroux, is being recognized for taking his talents and family upbringing and turning them into service for others, the release states.

Ziegler plays trumpet for his church and for the Negaunee City Band, he has also volunteered to help with maintenance of local ski trails and assisted with the Superior Alliance for Independent Living.

Giroux said Ziegler embodies the spirit of caring for others and commitment to community.

“He will inspire both young and old to love learning, music and recreation, and will lead by example in sharing his talents with others and caring for the environment that he enjoys,” Giroux said.

Peter Zenti received the Individual Catalyst Award this year.

Zenti has been instrumental in the creation of hiking trails throughout north Marquette within the Dead River Watershed, the release states.

Local hikers, bikers and snowshoe, ski and snow bike enthusiasts have Zenti to thank for trails traversing the Collinsville Cut, Blue Heron, The Penstock, BLP Rocks, The Cedars, Pine Knob and Wildcat Loop.

“Peter has worked with landowners, the Board of Light and Power, Noquemanon Trail Network, Superior Watershed Partnership, Longyear, We Energies, Blue Heron Association and the Pesola Trust,” the release states.

Zenti, in addition to negotiating the use of land, planned and built the trails himself with volunteers and the Superior Watershed Partnership Conservation Corps, the release states.

Zenti’s dedication stems from the belief that recreating outdoors is critical to health and wellness, according to the release.

“Peter firmly believes that he needs to give something back to the community that did so much for him during his career. He wanted to leave a permanent legacy of gratitude,” the release states. “Peter inspires others by his example through tireless and unselfish efforts to lift up the whole Marquette County community.”

All Catalyst Award recipients are first nominated by CFMC committee members.

Nominees for the awards have been determined by members of the CFMC committee to have had a positive impact on the Marquette County community over a period of time and demonstrated humility in their efforts to improve life for the residents of Marquette County communities.

“They serve to inspire others by their example … through their tireless and unselfish efforts to volunteer and/or be a benefactor to the community,” the release states.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is