Superior Health Foundation

Grants at Work – Featured

In Spring 2019, the Superior Health Foundation awarded a $4,995 Spring Grant to Gogebic Range Health Foundation in Ironwood for the purchase of a Duet Wheelchair Power Assist Bicycle to expand the capacity of the Iron Belle Wheelers. The Iron Belle Wheelers is a volunteer-run program which provides access to the Iron Belle Trail by offering bicycle rides to individuals — who cannot ride a bicycle independently — on a power-assisted bike with wheel chair attachment.

The Iron Belle Wheelers continue to offer rides at various locations, spreading awareness through attending community events and working with community organizations and agencies. The Iron Belle Wheelers also continue to expand the number of operators by offering training two times per year. 

In addition to the training offered, the Iron Belle Wheelers have trained the staff at the Gogebic Medical Care Center where there is the greatest demand for rides. The Iron Belle Wheelers offer rides at three main locations: Ironwood Depot Park, Gogebic Medical Care center and at the Wakefield Sunday Lake Park.

In January, the Superior Health Foundation awarded a $499.96 equipment grant to St. Paul Conference Society of St. Vincent dePaul to purchase four knee scooters for the hospital equipment loan closet to loan to the public at no cost.

They were able to purchase all four knee scooters, and they had an additional scooter donated as well. Thus far, they have loaned out two of the scooters (the pandemic has resulted in less surgeries, and therefore, less demand than normal). St. Vincent dePaul is working with social workers in health care facilities to make people aware of the availability of the scooters.

The Superior Health Foundation awarded a $500 COVID-19 Emergency Grant to the Dickinson Iron Community Service Agency/Family Ties Adult Center to purchase activity packets for Alzheimer’s patients they serve.


The Superior Health Foundation awarded the YMCA of Marquette County a $1,000 grant to purchase cleaning supplies for sanitation to help it reopen. Well, that reopening happened earlier this week. And we, like many others, are excited to see the Y back in business. We wish Jenna Zdunek and the awesome staff at the Y the best as we all strive to get back to normal!

The Superior Health Foundation provided the Negaunee Senior Citizens Center a $500 grant to invest in a new laptop to help better connect with its members who were forced to stay home during the pandemic.

This was a great use of funds in that it allowed the Center to connect with its elderly population during this most difficult time.

Early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, the Superior Health Foundation awarded $1,000 to OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group in Escanaba to purchase PPE gowns for its healthcare staff. There was and continues to be a number of emergent needs across the Upper Peninsula during this pandemic. Additional funding is available through our Covid-19 Pandemic Fund.

The Superior Health Foundation awarded a $1,000 grant to Feed the Frontline, a volunteer group in Marquette County that is working with local restaurants to help feed the hard-working men and women on the frontline during this pandemic. What a wonderful effort!

We thank Rachel Bannan-Hutter for her tireless efforts to help support our incredible local restaurants during this crisis and rewarding our hard-working medical professionals.

Several weeks ago, the Superior Health Foundation awarded a $1,000 grant to Michigan Tech University to help cover expenses for product design and production of filtered face shields, meeting the specifications developed with the Western U.P. Health Department (WUPHD) in development with the National Institute of Health (NIH)

The face shields were donated to local first responders and health organizations who express a need.


Providing an opportunity for a better future was on the minds of many people as they came together to make the new Ripple Recovery Residence in L’Anse a reality, and soon the new facility will be welcoming its first residents.


“This project is a culminating effort of concerned citizens trying to make a difference in their community for residents struggling with addiction and its many challenges,” said Greg Toutant, chief executive officer at Great Lakes Recovery Centers (GLRC). “The compassion, support and determination to help others has been a driving force for all those involved. It takes a team effort of funders, providers, community leaders and residents to make the creation of new programming possible.”

The main driving force for the house was the local residents involved with the Drug Abatement and Rehabilitation Team (DART), including Dr. Harold Ripple, who the house was named after.


“This is a great thing for the area,” said Dr. Ripple, who’s countless hours and generous gifts were vital to the house opening its doors for healing. “This is a great start and we could become a more inclusive program for those affected by addiction. There are a number of people over here who have done incredible amounts of work. Some of the women have been there every day getting the place ready. We need to give credit where credit is due — those women who have been behind this from the beginning have been relentless.”


The house is owned and operated by GLRC, but without the collaboration of DART, Superior Health Foundation (SHF) and Portage Health Foundation (PHF), it wouldn’t have been possible. Superior Health Foundation provided a $44,000 grant and Portage Health Foundation provided a $38,365 grant. Additionally, NorthCare Network, local donors and community support have been instrumental in helping to support and fund recovery housing.


“The Superior Health Foundation is excited to see the Ripple Recovery Residence open its doors,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “This house, this ambitious project, really fills an unmet need for females as they begin the journey to recovery. It promises to be a wonderful addition to the community, a safe place where women and their children can live in a welcoming, nurturing environment focused on recovery. The Superior Health Foundation is very honored to help philanthropically support this initiative.”


“This home is the result of nearly three years of community exploration and collaboration,” said Kevin Store, executive director at PHF. “The genesis of this project was a conversation brought forward in 2016 by former PHF board member Nicole Collins and Dr. Ripple. If not for their tenacious advocacy for the people of this community, and the awareness they helped create surrounding the level of need for people afflicted with substance and alcohol addiction in Baraga County, this project may not have been realized. Their commitment and engagement with us brought about a focused effort on finding a solution for this community.


“This house for female residents in recovery is an example of how people from multiple sectors can come together in a solution-focused effort to help find ways to address needs that exist in our community,” added Store. ” The Portage Health Foundation is proud to be a participant and co-funder of the house, but most importantly we are proud of the people who made this a reality. Their passion, patience, persistence and willingness to collaborate should serve as a role model for others who want to find scalable solutions that serve our community.”


Recovery housing is focused on helping people develop their independence and learn about themselves, all while focusing on recovery. Many people do not have a safe and sober living environment to go to once they complete treatment, which is where the Ripple Recovery Residence can come in. It has worked for many at GLRC’s other locations, including the unnamed person who provided the following testimonial about their time at Sue B’s in Marquette.


“So much of my struggle with addiction was in isolation. I always thought that because it was a mess I had gotten myself into, then I would be the only one to get myself out. My experience in Sue B’s house has taught me the opposite. Even though the women in this house have very different lives, problems, experiences, we are all just fighting to get our lives back. Being able to experience that struggle together and witness each others’ successes and challenges, can only happen at a place like this. Being able to see the progress in each other makes it easier to see that same progress in my own journey. We are building relationships that are based on mutual respect between people who have struggled and survived the same near-fatal catastrophe. I know now that if I’m not strong enough, I don’t need to be. The strength in these women, here at Sue B’s house, will get me through.”


Learn more about Great Lakes Recovery Centers and the Ripple Recovery Residence, including how to apply to heal there, by visiting

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