Clark Lake is standing up to save the Community Center.  For a century on Kentucky Point, this cottage watched Clark Lake grow into what it is today.  A generation ago, Clark Lakers became alarmed that this historic structure would meet the business end of a bulldozer.  Through extraordinary efforts, they saved it. The building is under threat again, this time from disrepair.  Estimated restoration costs total $192,665.  That number was calculated based on an engineering study and careful item-by-item construction estimates in March.  Because of current tightness of supplies and labor, those estimates could vary. 

Will the successful efforts of 1997 be replicated today?  Clark Lakers care and are generous.  Donations are at $171,675.  Of that, $116,050 has been received.  Contributions range from $100 to several $10,000 donations, and different amounts in between. 


A matching grant has turbocharged fundraising.  The grant comes from the Michael Ibold Wilger Foundation and stipulates a 100% match of any donation up to $2,500, starting in November.  The grant has contributed $20,000 so far. 

Who was Michael Wilger, and why is the foundation in his name offering a $50,000 match?  During his life, Mike had a deep affection for all things Clark Lake and loved its history.  He took great interest when the house moved down the lake, and was generous with his support.  In 2016 at age 59, Michael left too early.  As the Community Center was also part of what connected him with the lake, Michael’s memory will live on as part of this project to save the CC.  

A comparison occurs at this time of year.  Is the motive for giving a Christmas gift similar to a donation to Save the CC? The spirit behind either is the great motivator.  The Clark Lake Spirit is alive as witnessed by contributions to this project so far.  Will you be part of the effort to save this historical icon?   

Donations can be made via credit card by clicking here.  Check the box that says “I would like this donation to go to a specific fund.”  On the dropdown, specify “Community Center.”  Or mail a check to PO Box 224, Clarklake, MI 49234.

Names of donors will be displayed on an attractive, period-appropriate wall unit to be located on the first level, southwest corner.  

The giving spirit is what motivates, but tax considerations could be a welcome bonus.  The Clark Lake Spirit Foundation is a 501(c)(3), and is qualified to receive charitable contributions.   Although the Foundation does not give tax advice, some well known IRS facts may influence decisions.  Even if you take the standard deduction, the IRS allows “a deduction of up to $300 (single), $600 (married) for cash donations in 2021.”  If you do itemize, the allowed amount can be much higher.  

The best news is reserved for those faced with taking a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA, inherited IRA or inactive SEP/Simple IRA this year.  How?  The distributable portion of your IRA is taxed as ordinary income.  Your tax bracket determines the degree of pain.  If you don’t need all or part of your RMD, consider reducing the tax consequence through use of a qualified charitable deduction (QCD).  Consult your tax advisor.  Click for more detail

Do you own or manage a business?  Donations from C corporations have until April 15, 2022 to be allowed for2021.  Partnerships, S corporations and individuals have until the end of 2021.

Questions?  Please contact Mick Thorrez 740-0197,, or Rick Belcher 748-1758,  

From the December 14th story:

In 1967, Carlotta Graziani wrote of her experience in the Kentucky Point cottage.  In her writing you’ll also find a history of Clark Lake noting the many changes that occurred since 1896. Click here to read it. 

A video tells the story of how the cottage was first saved from destruction.  It begins with comments of the owner of the house when it last stood on Kentucky Point. Fortunately video and photos of the move survived, and some of them are included.  Click here to watch it. 

The Community Center preserves Clark Lake’s past.  On its interior walls, artifacts are being added to protect connections to the past.  The Community Center also serves as a gathering place for meetings, events, and rentals for birthday parties, life celebrations, wedding receptions, and graduations.  Click here for an example.  For another example, please click here.