To learn more about the Circle Michigan Foundation, managing editor David Hoekman talked with Lisa Kukulski, Circle Michigan’s marketing manager.

Lisa Kukulski Circle Michigan Foundation
[/media-credit] Lisa Kukulski

Before coming to Circle Michigan in 2015, Kukulski, who holds CMP and CTIS certifications, was the destination services manager at Discover Kalamazoo. She has worked in the group travel market and been active in Circle Michigan since 2008. While with Discover Kalamazoo, she volunteered with Circle Michigan as a regional spokesperson, served on a Strategic Planning Committee, the Board of Directors and was the chair of the Circle Michigan Foundation Committee until 2014.

[dropcap]Q.[/dropcap] What is the Circle Michigan Foundation?

A. The Circle Michigan Foundation was established by Circle Michigan in 2012 to fund an annual college scholarship and a field trip transportation grant for Michigan students.

 [dropcap]Q.[/dropcap] What is the foundation’s back story?

A. During the late 1990s, Circle Michigan lost two members to death in 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 placed in a Michigan scholarship held by the National Tour Association (NTA).

In 2010, NTA turned the funds over to the Circle Michigan office since it was the organization the monies were affiliated with. The Circle Michigan Board of Directors formed a committee in October 2011 to research the best way to invest and use these funds. The committee decided on a twofold funding purpose: a scholarship to a Michigan student planning to attend a Michigan college or university to major in a hospitality program, as well as to fund a grant for K–12 Michigan schools taking field trips to Circle Michigan member attractions.

[dropcap]Q. [/dropcap]Why is the foundation important?

A. The Circle Michigan Foundation is investing in the future of our industry through the Circle Michigan Scholarship, with hopes of retaining new talent here in the state of Michigan.

The Field Trip Transportation Grant(s) are helping to provide students with experiential learning opportunities while exposing students to travel in Michigan. The Circle Michigan Foundation has received applications from teachers of students who have never been outside of the community they live in. Some students haven’t experienced the Great Lakes. This is why Circle Michigan and the members that serve on the Circle Michigan Foundation feel the mission of the Circle Michigan Foundation is important. It’s for the kids, and that is ultimately why the members of Circle Michigan volunteer their time and donate to the Circle Michigan Foundation.

Since the inception of the Circle Michigan Foundation, six students have received college scholarships and 13 Michigan K–12 schools have received funding toward field trip transportation. 

[dropcap]Q.[/dropcap] What are the Circle Michigan Foundation programs?

A. The Circle Michigan Foundation will award a $500 scholarship to a student attending a Michigan higher education institution and who is enrolled in a hospitality and tourism program. Applications will be accepted from Nov. 1, 2018, to Feb. 15, 2019.

The Field Trip Transportation Grant application period is from April 1, 2019, to June 30, 2019. The grant is to be used during the 2019–2020 school year. The 2019-2020 award will be up to $500 and will be used for transportation for field trips. 

A copy of a quote or invoice from a transportation entity is to be included with application. Any attraction being visited by the school group must be a Circle Michigan member/attraction. If the school group will be visiting more than one destination/attraction on the field trip, at least one attraction must be a Circle Michigan member. The grant recipient will be notified by Aug. 1, 2019.

For additional information or to apply for the Circle Michigan Scholarship or Field Trip Transportation Grant, call 269-5697064 or visit