Skip to content

Building tomorrow’s leaders: Pontiac Community Foundation and Chief Financial Credit Union team up to provide scholarships for the Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Program for two Pontiac professionals

(September 22, 2021 - Pontiac, MI - ) Building tomorrow’s leaders today is one of the critical missions of the Pontiac Community Foundation (PCF), and that’s why PCF is proud to have partnered with Chief Financial Credit Union to offer the third year of their Pontiac Professional Grant Program for two Pontiac professionals. The Pontiac Professional Grant Program offers scholarships to Leadership Oakland’s Cornerstone Program.

The two scholarship recipients are Christian Marcillo, Client Services Director for Issue Media Group. The second recipient is Kermit Williams, the current Pontiac City Council President and Executive Director of Oakland Forward.

“It is a true honor to sponsor two key community leaders, Christian and Kermit, for the Cornerstone Program,” said Pontiac Community Foundation Founder and CEO Dustin McClellan. “I hope this program helps inspire them to expand on the critical work they are already doing in Pontiac. Investing in leaders like Kermit and Christian will help improve the quality of life for Pontiac's residents.”

The Cornerstone Program is a nine-month commitment designed to expose participants to current resources and issues impacting our region and prompt them to think more deeply about their individual and group leadership growth and actions. Members of each class participate in a 2.5 day retreat and various sessions, featuring a different regional focus like education, government, and the justice system to health and human services and race and ethnic diversity. Graduates of the Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Program each do a give-back initiative as a class project, furthering the chain of success and philanthropy that is the core of a solid community.

“Leadership Oakland is a driven group of diverse, leadership-focused individuals passionate about helping our community grow, and I cannot think of two better partners for such an effort than the Pontiac Community Foundation and Chief Financial Credit Union,” said Thomas J. Sommer, executive director of Leadership Oakland. “Not only do we have two exceptional candidates for this year’s Cornerstone program, but I also see our collective efforts continuing to support our community for years to come.”

This year, the application process for the Pontiac Professional Grant Program was competitive with 15 total applicants. This was three times more applicants than the past two years of the program and thus its highest turnout yet. 

Pontiac Community Foundation was able to provide two scholarships this year, with the second scholarship being supported by Chief Financial Credit Union and the scholarship fund at Leadership Oakland. In addition to the scholarships, Pontiac Community Foundation worked with Leadership Oakland to identify opportunities for applicants who did not receive the grant funding to participate. A few applicants were able to enter the program, some with assistance from their workplace to support.