About the Foundation

Dedicated to facilitating sustainable wellness in our community.

A Coalition of Community Leaders

The North Ottawa Wellness Foundation began as a coalition of community leaders, convened in January 2017 by North Ottawa Community Health System, to bring awareness to the disconnect between our physical and emotional health, and further educate our leaders about the debilitating consequences of this disconnect to our long term health and well-being.

The NOW Foundation Goal

The goal of this coalition was to bring together these local leaders representing business, medical, philanthropic and wellness sectors to explore ways to incorporate Mindfulness into their everyday lives. By introducing these key leaders to simple practices such as taking a few deep breaths and a more natural diet, the coalition sought to align medical sciences and emotional strength to better shape our productivity, our outlook, our health and our longevity.

Participants were offered a two-part educational series:

  • The First Session – Stress Response and Mindful Breathing
    Offered leaders insights into the neuroscience and physiology of the stress response, as well as simple techniques such as taking five deep breaths to activate the relaxation response over the stress (fight or flight) response.
  • The Second Session – Healthy Eating, Quality Sleep
    Focused on the emerging field of epigenetics, the micro biome (gut health) and the critical importance of quality sleep to overall health, vitality and well-being.

The NOW Foundation is Formed

Our community leaders convened for a third session to debrief and share the implications of these critical wellness topics for the clients, customers and employees they serve in Northwest Ottawa County. In an effort to enable these busy leaders to efficiently & effectively share the numerous activities, projects and programs they subsequently designed to incorporate sustainable wellness and improve the well-being of those they serve, the North Ottawa Wellness Foundation was formed.

Core Beliefs

"As our community’s local health system, we have a personal commitment to the family, friends and neighbors we serve.  We have seen troubling trends in our Emergency Room, on our hospital floor and in our physician offices that compelled us to look at things differently.  For too long, the health care industry has focused on treating disease and illness instead of preventing it.  This has created a costly and unsustainable situation for communities across the country. Mindfulness puts the focus where it belongs, on prevention. Moreover, it puts control back in the hands of the patient.  That combination is a powerful tool in fighting chronic disease, as well as fostering healing and longevity. NOCHS and our physicians are proud to bring this science to the forefront through practices that integrate physical and emotional health." - North Ottawa Community Health System

"Since it's founding, the Tri-Cities Family YMCA has offered programs that promote a healthy mind, body and spirit for all. In our fast paced world, tools for managing stress and well being are of increasing importance for individuals and families. We recognize that mindful parents are better able to raise mindful children and that employees who are better able to manage stress perform better and maintain a healthier work life balance. Increasing accessibility to these valuable tools through the North Ottawa Wellness Foundation is a positive step for our community.” - Tri-Cities Family YMCA

Healthy Lifestyle. Healthy Community.

Advisory Council Members

Our advisory council members are proud to have collaborated with other vital partner organizations within North Ottawa County.

Shelleye Yaklin
North Ottawa Community Health System

Joy Gaasch
The Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg

Hadley Streng
Grand Haven Area Community Foundation

Greg Coil
Tri-Cities YMCA

Holly Severance
Wellness Manager
Shape Fitness Factory

Scott Grimes
Grand Haven Area Public Schools

Jason Shamblin
Ottawa County Parks and Recreation

Brian Gaggin
United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties

Monica Verplank
Wellness Advisor
North Ottawa Wellness Foundation

Your Donations in Action


Thank you for considering a donation to support the mission of the North Ottawa Wellness Foundation. The North Ottawa Wellness Foundation is a component fund within the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. Donations to the North Ottawa Wellness Foundation will support programs in our community that align with our mission and address one or more of the four wellness areas of

Effective Stress Management & Emotional Balance, Exercise, Movement & Quality Sleep, Clean Food & Nutrition, Helping Self, Helping Others

Please see our Programs & Projects page to see activities supported by the North Ottawa Wellness Foundation.

Our Mission

Facilitating physical, mental and emotional wellness in Northwest Ottawa County through research-based strategies to increase vitality and life balance while decreasing stress and inflammation in the bodies and minds of local residents.

Our Vision

Northwest Ottawa County residents are self aware individuals who consistently self regulate in the midst of stress-producing situations with co-workers, fellow community members and beyond. Our residents conscientiously nourish their minds and bodies with nutritious foods, movement and quality sleep.

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