They Care. We Care. Michigan Cares for Tourism.

Donate Online To Tourism Industry Employees Impacted by COVID-19

For eight years Michigan’s hospitality and tourism staff have volunteered their time and resources to breathe new life into historic tourism destinations around Michigan. Many of these same volunteers have now been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This campaign is to raise funds for the Relief Fund of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) to provide support for the people who are the face of Michigan’s tourism destinations now impacted by COVID-19. They are the people who accommodate our needs to make unfamiliar places feel like home and who take the phrase “enjoy your stay” as a personal mission. Now it’s our turn to help them feel at ease in an unfamiliar situation.

100% of what you give will make a difference for a housekeeper, server, tasting room staff, and many others by providing daily living expenses for these front line staff. Plus, as a token of our appreciation, Michigan Cares for Tourism will send a thank you gift for each donation.

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Thank You!

Michigan Cares for Tourism would like to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who helped make this event a success! Together, more than 50 donor organizations and 300 volunteers successfully completed 24 clean-up and restoration projects at Leelanau State Park / Grand Traverse Lighthouse. Projects included painting the historic lighthouse and surrounding structures, building a brand new playground, making the hiking trails more accessible, and many more. 

Our friends at Traverse City Tourism created this awesome video of our volunteers hard at work at Leelanau State Park and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.  Thank you Traverse City Tourism for capturing this wonderful day!

Our Mission

Michigan Cares for Tourism is a 100% volunteer, 100% give-back partnership where tourism professionals come together to help restore Michigan’s historic, cultural and natural attractions, learn about a Michigan tourism destination, and network across our industry segments to ultimately enhance the visitor experience, and be more engaged professionals.

Contact Us & Get Connected!

Port Austin post card

Get Ready To Make A Difference At Sleeper & Port Crescent State Parks

Michigan Cares for Tourism is thrilled to announce our 2020 multi-day volunteer event location... we're going to the thumb!

Michigan’s Thumb region covers 150 miles of Lake Huron shoreline, small-town charm, maritime history and much more. Albert E. Sleeper State Park offers both sunrises and sunsets on the bay, a modern campground and trails along the ancient dune forests. Port Crescent State Park is home to three miles of sandy shoreline, a dark sky preserve, a modern campground, trails and much more.

To reserve your spot, text "MC4T" to 76959.

Complete event registration details coming soon.


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MI Cares for Tourism
Check out the MI Restaurant Promise and learn how local restaurant owners are committed to upholding the State of Michigan, local Health Departments, and the CDC guidelines to allow for the industry to re-open safely. #MIRestaurantPromise #PureMichigan

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MC4T Blog

The Mitten Brewing Company

     By Olivia Rau

The Mitten Brewing Company is a vintage baseball themed microbrewery located in a historic firehouse, Engine House #9, in Grand Rapids’ West Side. Since its opening in 2012, the Mitten has built a unique reputation for pairing high-quality craft beers and gourmet pizzas with community involvement. Giving back to the local community is a core value of the Mitten—they have given more than $300,000 in charitable gifts to local nonprofits since 2012. While the brewery’s commitment to their community through volunteerism and charitable giving has been evident from the beginning, the organization further bolstered their philanthropic capacity by forming their own nonprofit foundation in 2017, Mitten Foundation.

The mission of the foundation reads, “Mitten Foundation exists to enhance and elevate our community by utilizing the resources of The Mitten Brewing Co. and partners.” The simplicity of this mission feeds into the foundation’s criteria for selecting its nonprofit partners: 1) it must be a local organization, and 2) it must be small enough that the donation will make a measurable difference. The foundation’s care in selecting truly local organizations that are in the greatest need helps them to connect each dollar donated to the effect it has in the community.

In 2019 alone, Mitten Foundation gave $10,000 to offset in shelter costs for survivors of domestic abuse, $4,100 in sports equipment for inner city youth, $2,266 in classroom supply grants for teachers, and much more. They also utilized their resources to help alleviate the burden of local food insecurity by supporting 60,000 meals through Feeding America in West Michigan food pantries, 10,000 meals through Kids’ Food Basket, and by providing and serving over 2,000 slices of pizza. Given the Mitten Brewing Co. and Mitten Foundation’s impressive philanthropic track record and community involvement accomplishments of 2019, we are excited to see what’s in store for 2020!

May 5, 2020

Corporate Social Responsibility Employs Many Models to Strategically Align Business and Philanthropy

     By Patty Janes and Olivia Rau

While there are a variety of terms in use to describe an organization’s social giving (corporate citizenship, triple bottom line, etc.), corporate social responsibility (CSR) is often used as an overarching term. CSR can be defined as actions outside an organization’s normal scope of business that seek to address the needs of the community beyond pure economics (Carroll, 1999). These activities seek to align social good and ethical obligations with business objectives. CSR is a function to meet — and hopefully exceed — stakeholder expectations.

Throughout this last decade, CSR in various shapes has taken deeper root. A 2015 KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting estimated that 92% of the Fortune 250 took action toward a larger social mission and produced an annual report summarizing their actions and impacts. These activities varywidely, but share the intent to benefit both the “organization” — through motivated employees and increased profits — and the“community” it serves — by addressing relevant social issues. Further, 82% of the S&P 500 produced reports detailing their CSR initiatives in 2016, a significant increase from less than 20% reporting their CSR efforts in 2011 (Coppola, 2017).

CSR Models. Definitions and models attempting to explain the CSR phenomena have evolved significantly over the years. Early analysis focused on the obligation of businesses to consider how their decisions impact surrounding communities and meet public expectations (Davis & Blomstrom, 1966). Archie Carroll’s (1999) CSR Pyramid sought to reconcile four categories of business responsibilities — economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic — stating that organizations’ philanthropic responsibility didn’t begin until profitability occurred. Newer models attempt to situate CSR and market value within a single conceptual framework (García-de-Madariaga & Rodríguez-de-Rivera-Cermades, 2010).

Another recent approach by Tracee Keys, Thomas Malnight, and Kees van der Graaf (2009) is to use McKinsey & Co.’s matrix, which pinpoints CSR’s primary objective: to align successful business practices while pursuing benefits to society. Ultimately, this model leads to “strategic” CSR that results in high benefits for society and for business, recognizing that organizational practice’s range and subsequent benefits to society and the organization also vary accordingly.

The matrix (Figure 1) demonstrates that some efforts have a higher benefit to society than to business. At the low impact, “pet projects” level, employees may ask those in the workplace to adopt a family during the holidays. More significant giving occurs in “philanthropy,” where the organization may identify a charitable cause to support throughout year. These examples could be classified as corporate philanthropy.

What Keys and colleagues label as “propaganda” are efforts in which the benefits to society are low, but high to the organization. For example,a hotel asking guests to help save the environment by not having linens washed daily during their multi-day stay may or may not benefit society. However, the financial savings to the organization is significant.

Finally, those actions of high value to both the organization and society are defined as “strategic.” These include practices that center around the organization, from employee volunteerism in human resources to fair trade supplier relationships; or practices that are externally focused, from energy and waste saving practices to disaster relief.

SMEs strategically embracing CSR. Although more and more companies are engaging in and reporting on their CSR activities, commitment levels are wide ranging, and thus the benefits are too. What also varies is the size and types of organizations taking strategic action.

While top performers in the private sector are the most documented, the CSR trend isn’t limited to only the largest of organizations. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are embracing CSR, however some scholars suggest fewer are producing annual reports and engaging with CSR as a strategic initiative (Perälä & Saukkonen, 2017). Yet, small businesses account for nearly half of the U.S. workforce and over 30 million organizations (Giese, 2019). Further, of the 5.6 million employer firms in the U.S. in 2016 “the vast majority (88%) of employer firms have fewer than 20 employees, and nearly 40% of all enterprises have under $100k in revenue” (JP Morgan Chase & Co., n.d.). In fact, 98.2% of firms have fewer than 100 employees (SBE Council, 2018). Despite their undeniably large part in the U.S. workforce, the Global Reporting Initiative found that only 10% of SMEs conduct annual sustainability reports (GRI, 2016). As such, SMEs are not reaping the same CSR benefits as those that have strategically implemented and publicly report their philanthropic initiatives.

In 2020, CSR will continue to evolve strategically for SMEs as they too will benefit their communities and help solve social issues while, in turn, more successfully achieving their organizational objectives.

11 Trends in Philanthropy - Full Report

May 5, 2020

10 fun things to do when homebound frustration sets in (aka avoiding coronavirus/COVID-19)

By Patty Janes, Ph.D.

In 55 years of life, the only experience that remotely prepares me for what is happening with the Coronavirus pandemic was two months of bed rest during a difficult pregnancy. I was unable to support those I was used to caring for and scared something bad would happen to my beautiful baby. Doctor’s orders were to stay put, lay on my left side, and do everything I could to keep us both safe.  Day one was survivable, day two was not.

Communities around the world are facing this test, magnified on an incomprehensible scale.

While COVID-19 is affecting the world in more complex ways than I experienced those eight weeks, I feel a similar concern today.

As I sit at home, preparing to teach university students online, I’m reflecting on how my bed rest became a gift. I kept both my daughter and myself safe by doing what I was supposed to. Twenty-two years later she is about to graduate from the University of Michigan and we are facing a different kind of bed rest.

We all need to do our part to keep people safe. While I worry about small business surviving, families staying afloat financially with reduced hours, etc. I try my best to do what I did many years ago: to not be all consumed by the negative, and control what I could, doing my part to keep us safe.  I had to do what was needed, and then I had to reframe

What can you do to reframe? 

Think of all the things we can do during this time to safely care for others (e.g. a neighbor in need). Think of all the things we always want to do but never find the time (e.g. clean out closets or the garage). Then, think of all the things we can do to have unique fun. Finding ways to enhance your life during this stressful time will be vital.  American’s spend so much time on the television (US Bureau of Labor Statistics states near 3 hours – ½ of available leisure time), don’t let that get the best of you.

So many organizations have released ways to stay connected remotely, and many are mentioned in my top ten list below.  We’ve put this on the fridge to find new things to explore and stay connected.

Play. Board games at home or tech games with others. Keep being social. We broke out Clue last night (thanks USA Today article), and set the goal to play everything in the game cabinet at least once.  Our other family favorites Telestrations or Jackbox.TV!

Learn. To knit, draw (Michigan native Butch Hartman created Fairly Odd Parents and he teaches you how to draw Danny Phantom HERE), paint, or play an instrument etc. Thanks to outlets like YouTube, we can learn so many things from home.  There are a number of sites providing FREE ways for children to learn including Netflix sources, education companies, and Grand Valley State University’s Charter School office sharing resources. 

Drive. Take a day road trip around Pure Michigan  and sight see. Pack a picnic or go through drive-thrus along the way. Take advantage of gas prices under $2/gallon. Pick any Lake MI lakeshore - no one is more than two hours from these natural beauties. Trip Advisor’s top beaches in Michigan.

Plan. Your next vacation. You will need a break after this experience and whether a staycation or travel more than 100 miles from home. Have kids and adults alike investigate great things to do, see, learn, etc.

Tour. Take a look of interesting museums or dairy farms.  So many great organizations are pulling together FREE ways to explore from home including NASA.

Face time or Skype. People you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Research indicates staying connected with families and friends is so important.  If you don’t believe it, here are 82M posts in Google about it. 

Walk /Exercise. Get fresh air and open windows, walk around the house. If your environment allows, walk outside, in the neighborhood, on a trail, in a yard. 6’ of distance is easier outdoors and fresh air is healing.  Organizations from Planet Fitness to Lulu Lemon are providing FREE ways to get exercise at home (e.g. yoga). 

Cook. Try a new recipe with food items on a back shelf or in the bottom of the freezer. Share items with neighbors to try something new and help each other. Create a communal living environment where everyone helps with meals. It’s social. It’s helpful. And, someone learns something new. Guaranteed. Thanks to my InstaPot, I didn’t ruin the corned beef on St. Patty’s Day for the first time!

Meditate. Download an app to start or end your day in peaceful, contemplative thought. It works. Great FREE App: WakingUp

Live. Don’t let this situation keep you from learning, growing, and building relationships. Life doesn’t stop, use free conference calling services to have regular large family chats, club or hobby meetings, or continue your volunteer work. Keep moving forward. We need each other more than ever.

Which of these will you do or have you done? What would you add to the list?


Rita Cooper
March 24, 2020

Circle Michigan

   By Olivia Rau

Organized in 1981, Circle Michigan pioneered the very first organization in the country focusing on the promotion of group travel. Since then, numerous other states have followed their leadCircle Michigan is dedicated exclusively to helping professional tour planners and Circle Michigan member suppliers meet the challenges unique to the group travel industry.

During the late 1990s, Circle Michigan lost two members to death from car accidents: Katherine Schmidt in 1997, who was with the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Scott Brazil in 1998, who was with Kewadin Casino of Sault Ste. Marie. Money in the form of memorials was given in their honor, which was placed into a Michigan scholarship held by the National Tour Association (NTA), located in Lexington, Kentucky. Over the next 15 years, the fund grew to over $20,000.00. NTA no longer desired to retain the monies it was holding so turned the funds over to Circle Michigan. With this, the Circle Michigan Foundation was formed on March 23, 2012.

Circle Michigan members volunteer their time to serve on the Circle Michigan Foundation to oversee two programs (listed below) and plan fundraisers. 

  • Circle Michigan Scholarship. The Circle Michigan Foundation awards an annual college scholarship to a student attending a Michigan higher education institution, who is enrolled in a Hospitality and Tourism program. Full or part-time students may apply.  Since 2013, the Circle Michigan Foundation has awarded $3,500 in scholarships.
  • Circle Michigan Field Trip Transportation Grant. The Circle Michigan Foundation also awards a transportation grant to any K through 12 educational institution within the State of Michigan. This grant is to be used for transportation for field trips. Any attraction being visited by the school group must be a Circle Michigan member attraction. Since 2013, the Circle Michigan Foundation has awarded 20 Michigan schools Field Trip Transportation Grants totaling $4,253.

One of the 2018 Field Trip Transportation Grant recipients was CLK Elementary in Calumet. With the grant, 92 second grade students visited Fort Wilkins State Park as second grade social studies curriculum focuses on the local community. On this trip, the students learned why Fort Wilkins was built and what it was like to live there. Joan Darnell, second grade teacher at CLK Elementary, reported “the second graders learn and remember a lot better by actually being able to be at Fort Wilkins. As the school year continues, there are many times I am reading a book, showing a picture, or discussing our area’s history and now I am able to bring up something we saw on our trip to Fort Wilkins.”


  • This year’s Field Trip Transportation Grant Application period is April 1 – June 20.
  • Since 2013, the Circle Michigan Foundation has awarded field trip transportation grants to 20 Michigan schools.
March 10, 2020

Our Founding Partners: