If I Had Only Three Wishes…

Ask any nonprofit what they need most and the answer is an easy one – cold hard cash. But what if money was off the table? Then what would they wish for?

The TCBN asked several area nonprofits around the area and asked them for three non-monetary dream donations they'd like to receive from persons and corporate givers this year. Their wishes: small (under $100), medium (under $1,000) and large (the sky's the limit) are listed below. Who knows? Sometimes wishes do come true…

Charity Hill Ranch Rapid City

Fostering a connection between people with disabilities and horses is the purpose of Charity Hill Ranch in Kalkaska County. The ranch offers therapeutic riding, hippo therapy, summer camps and much more for persons living with emotional, mental and/of physical disabilities and at-risk youth. Just launched this past spring, its eventual goal is to service 5,000 clients annually through its therapeutic programs, offer training and employment for individuals with special needs, and develop a support network for parents – all built around the powerful partnership that can develop between people dealing with challenges and horses. charityhillranch.org.

Under $100: 3 riding helmets

Under $1,000: Handicapped mounting ramp for inside barn

Over $1,000: The ranch's truck is on its last legs with no money to replace it. Its major wish is for a four-door Ford F250 short-box diesel with low mileage.

Conservation Resource Alliance Traverse City

It's a delicate balance – maintaining the beauty and ecosystems of northern Michigan while supporting its economic vitality. In caring for more than 4 million acres of land across the 13-county northwest Michigan region, the CRA works with landowners to plan, locate funding and cut through bureaucratic red tape on land-use solutions among private landowners, government agencies and commercial businesses. The CRA's goal is not to prevent development, but to support solutions that preserve or develop land in a responsible and reasonable manner. rivercare.org.

Under $100: 20 liters of Stihl BioPlus chainsaw oil

Under $1,000: Stihl MS 290 Farm Boss chainsaw

Over $1,000: a Subaru Outback, the unofficial vehicle of

northern Michigan, for hauling people and gear

Disability Network/Northern MI Traverse City

Everything the Disability Network does can be summed up this way: personal empowerment and positive social change. Every year, the organization – led by a board and staff comprised mostly of people with disabilities – helps more than 1,200 people with disabilities and their families lead more productive lives. This is accomplished through an array of training, mentoring and referral opportunities. It also works with businesses, governments and other organizations to address barriers to success, including employment, housing, accessibility and transportation issues. disabilitynetwork-nmi.org.

Under $100: artwork for office walls, portable wheelchair ramps

Under $1,000: printing & design services, office desk, computers

Over $1,000: mentors/tutors, wheelchairs, website design, office color copier

Grand Traverse Area Literary Council Traverse City

Forty years ago, three retired teachers established the literacy council to increase awareness of the impact of illiteracy and the benefits of a literate public. Since that time it has been training tutors who work on a one-on-one basis with an adult learner on reading, writing, mathematics as well as English as a Second Language students. A typical tutor-learner engagement is one to two hours a week for anywhere from six months to two years. It costs approximately $75 to support a learner for a year. gtalc.org.

Under $100: contribute to the rental space ($145) at the Grand Traverse Mall

for its annual book sale

Under $1,000: provide for a tutor trainer for one class of literacy tutors

Over $1,000: sponsor lunch for its annual volunteer/tutor recognition luncheon

and provide bookstore gift cards

Grow Benzonia Benzonia

Grow Benzie is a community farmstead project focused on improving the lives of Benzie County residents by encouraging self-reliance – through education in agriculture, nutrition, job training and life skills. Established two years ago, the group has been working to get the farmstead property up to code, and its programs are just getting underway, including cooking classes and a sewing group. Its mission is three-fold: children's wellness, re-energizing people (helping people help themselves through skill development), and a training center (including a demonstration kitchen). growbenzie.org.

Under $100: Provide fare passes (one-way is $3) on the Benzie Bus so individuals can get to the community garden and to classes

Under $1,000: Four zinc-plated open shelving units for kitchen supplies for the

center's cooking classes (roughly 74" high by 4' wide with wire shelves)

Over $1,000: Greenhouse poly and poly lock supplies to enclose the 30' x 100'

existing frame structure.

Leelanau Baby Pantry Suttons Bay

The pantry supports families with basic necessities (diapers, clothing, supplies) needed by young children and their caregivers, and at the same time gives parents a great place to recycle baby items they no longer need. It also offers a lending library with resources on child development and parenting, and social connections and support through a monthly playgroup. Whether a parent needs diapers or an understanding ear, the pantry is there for families in times of need. Find out more about the group on Facebook.

Under $100: new car seats

Under $1,000: new cribs or pack-n-play pens

Over $1,000: permanent home! (The pantry is currently housed in Immanuel Lutheran Church's annex building – an old house that is beginning

to deteriorate and may need to be sold or torn down.)

Inland Seas Education Association: Suttons Bay

With no better way to learn about – and truly appreciate – the Great Lakes than to be on them, Inland Seas offers shipboard experiences (as well as onshore activities) to inspire interest in the largest body of freshwater on the planet. The programs also encourage stewardship to help fight against some of the most significant threats to water quality – invasive species, pollutants and watershed degradation. At the end of last year's sailing season, the association counted more than 83,000 students of all ages who have participated in shipboard programs since its founding in 1989. schoolship.org.

Under $100: a gift certificate to an office supply store

Under $1,000: new (or new to ISEA) computers with network capability; gift certificate

to local print shop for newsletter, letterhead and other print materials

Over $1,000: In-kind advertising for programs and special events; a public service

announcement to promote volunteer needs

Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear Maple City

While climbing the sand dunes and escaping to either North or South Manitou islands are favorite pastimes for many of us, this group is focused on caring for the more than 300 historic structures and cultural landscapes that lie within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Many of the structures are in poor condition and in danger of being lost. Weather is one of the worst enemies for a deteriorating building so time is precious. Recent projects have included the Katie Shepherd Hotel on North Manitou Island and the Treat Farm. phsb.org.

Under $100: paper towel, toilet paper, trash bags, office supplies (paper, ink

cartridges, envelopes), power nails, DVDs, laminating machine, thumb drives, poster board

Under $1,000: wheelbarrow/cart, printing (newsletters, calendar of events, donation envelopes), Sherwin Williams white "Duration" exterior paint, website hosting, advertising, DVD projector, office chair, Hotpoint 16.6 cu ft. top freezer/refrigerator

Over $1,000: tool trailer, utility trailer, building materials

Michael's Place Traverse City

The group at Michael's Place offers compassion and advocacy for the healthy grieving of a loved one. It serves children, teens, adults and families. Last year alone, it provided more than 32,000 hours of direct assistance for those grieving a loss, with weekly support groups, family meetings, school-based programs and many other resources. One critical key to the program's success is comfort in numbers – the grieving person learns that he or she is not alone. mymichaelsplace.net.

Under $100: gift certificates for books to add to its lending library; gift certificates to local stores to purchase craft supplies for programs; meals for the support group

Under $1,000: A new computer and monitor

Over $1,000: A rent-free storage room or facility

Parallel 45 Elk Rapids

Fresh off its debut in August, Parallel 45 is a professional theatre company that brings nationally-recognized artists together to collaborate on productions for the greater Grand Traverse communities. Founded by three Michigan natives who, having established themselves as artists and professionals in New York and Chicago, found themselves missing the beauty and uniqueness of northern Michigan. Their solution? Combine the thriving theatre culture of the city with the Michigan landscape. Its first performance – Our Town – was a sellout. parallel45.org.

Under $100: lunch for the cast. The actors and crew arrive in northern Michigan and spend a week or so rehearsing before the curtain goes up. Give 'em a lunch break before they "break a leg."

Under $1,000: printing and/or design services, including programs, posters and invitations

Over $1,000: a rental house situation(s) for approximately 20 people, ideally in the

Elk Rapids area.

Watershed Center Traverse City

Clean water is the mission of The Watershed Center – specifically the water quality of Grand Traverse Bay and its 1,000-square-mile watershed. Its latest initiative is the watershed forestry project, which seeks to combat excess nutrients and sediments ­- the top pollutants threatening the bay and its surrounding lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands. (Trees act like sponges for excess nutrients, and their root systems increase filtration, reducing sedimentation.) Protecting existing tree coverage and identifying where more tree cover is needed is one of the major efforts underway. gtbay.org. BN

Under $100: a scanner (needs to work with Microsoft Windows XP 2002)

Under $1,000: 2 conference tables and chairs (1 rectangular; 1 circular or square)

Over $1,000: roofing

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