Kickstart to Career program changes
The Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently decided to fulfill its commitment to the first five-year cohorts, but not add additional students in the future. Instead, funds will be redirected to other educational grants. Students who started kindergarten in 2022 will be the final Kickstart cohort, with no additional accounts being created. Students who already have Kickstart to Career accounts will still receive their promised incentive deposits—up to $650 per account—but at an accelerated rate over the next three years. During this time, students, families, and friends will also still be able to make deposits into accounts.
Once final incentive deposits have been made in 2026, funds will be available to be withdrawn for eligible education expenses. Students’ parents/guardians will be notified of available funds and how to request withdrawals at that time. Accounts will remain deposit-only until the Community Foundation approves disbursement.
Please see below for answers to some common questions regarding the program changes.
Frequently asked questions
How is the program changing?
Kickstart to Career Newaygo County will end after the fifth year of operation. The original commitment to the first five cohorts of students will be honored with fewer restrictions on the use of funds. Fremont Area Community Foundation will continue to track accounts and partner with ChoiceOne Bank and your child’s school district for three more years. After 2026, funds will become available for distribution and can be used for eligible educational expenses to benefit the student.
Who is included in the first five cohorts?
Accounts were opened for students enrolled in kindergarten fall 2018 through 2022 and attending a participating Newaygo County school or homeschool. No new accounts will be opened moving forward.
Will anything with the existing accounts change?
Accounts will remain deposit-only until the Community Foundation approves disbursement. Accounts are owned by the Community Foundation, but the funds are held in trust for the student. Accounts will continue to earn interest. Interest will be compounded monthly and credited accordingly. Accounts are not subject to balance or transaction fees.
How will schools be impacted?
Kickstart bank lessons, incentive workshops, and deposit days will no longer be held in schools. Financial education opportunities for Newaygo County students can be provided by financial institutions and organizations dedicated to improving financial literacy in the community.
The Community Foundation will continue to partner with Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency (NC RESA) and participating Newaygo County parochial schools to receive updated student information for accounts.
Can students still earn incentive deposits?
Instead of earning incentive deposits through in-class workshops, students enrolled in the program in a participating school will automatically receive incentive deposits distributed by Fremont Area Community Foundation.
Over the course of the account’s existence, the Community Foundation will deposit up to $650 per account through seed and incentive deposits. Students who transfer to a school outside the NC RESA service area are not eligible for additional incentive deposits.
Will private deposits continue to be accepted?
Yes, family and friends can make private deposits at any ChoiceOne Bank in person or by mail. To make a deposit, reference the student's name, school, and birthdate.
Students who transfer to a school outside the NC RESA service area can also make private deposits and receive funds at the time of disbursement. These students will not receive additional incentive deposits for years they are not on a participating school’s roster.
ChoiceOne Bank locations:
Grant: 10 West Main Street
Fremont: 1423 West Main Street
Newaygo: 246 West River Valley
How can students, parents, and/or guardians receive account updates?
Students will no longer be mailed annual account statements. Account balance activity can be provided by calling Fremont Area Community Foundation at 231.924.5350. To make an inquiry, reference the student’s name, birthdate, and the caller’s name and relationship to the student.
When and how will distribution of funds work?
After the final disbursement of incentive deposits in 2026, account funds–including interest, seed, incentive, and private deposits–will become available for distribution. The Community Foundation will notify the student’s parent/guardian of available funds and instructions on how to request withdrawal.
What can funds be used for?
Funds can be used for eligible educational expenses to benefit the student including, but not limited to, savings for post-secondary expenses, field trips, instrument rental, or sports.
Families that wish to continue saving for their student’s post-secondary expenses can transfer funds to another children’s savings account. Options include Michigan’s Educational Savings Program (529), another local children’s savings account program, ChoiceOne Bank account, or another financial institution of their choice.
Will disbursed funds affect social service benefits my family receives?
Families will need to claim the disbursement on their taxes when the funds are issued to them. If placing funds into Michigan’s Educational Savings Program (529) or select other options, you may not be taxed on it until used.
Please consult a tax advisor or social security administration to determine how disbursed funds may affect your benefits.
What additional assistance is there for college or trade school expenses?
Students in Newaygo County can access the following resources:
Who should I contact with questions?
Questions about changes to the program, account status, or fund distribution can be answered by Fremont Area Community Foundation at 231.924.5350.
Questions related to making a deposit can be answered by ChoiceOne Bank at 616.877.7366.