Lakestate endowment fund campaign underway

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Lakestate Industries employee Marlin Moniowczak sorts confidential documents for shredding. Lakestate is asking for the community’s support through its annual endowment fund. Envelopes for this year’s campaign can be found in today’s Daily Press.

ESCANABA — Once again, Lakestate Industries is asking for the community’s support of its annual endowment fund campaign. Yellow envelopes for this year’s campaign can be found in today’s issue of the Daily Press.

Executive Director Cheryl Ohman said Lakestate’s focus is on helping people with disabilities develop work-related skills and experience while holding real jobs.

“We serve people with barriers to employment (by) giving them opportunities to work here at Lakestate, as well as … in the community,” she said.

Lakestate is mostly self-sufficient — about two-thirds of its funding comes from the products and services it sells, and about one-third comes from referrals from agencies such as Michigan Rehabilitation Services and Pathways Community Mental Health. The campaign’s goal is to ensure Lakestate will be able to continue offering ITS services to the community even if the agencies they work with are affected by funding cuts. Donations to the campaign will go towards Lakestate’s endowment fund.

“Every dollar helps us build that endowment fund,” Ohman said.

Ohman said Lakestate has appreciated the community’s support of this campaign since it was introduced in 2011.

“Every year’s been a blessing,” she said. She noted Lakestate hopes to raise at least $10,000 through this year’s campaign.

Lakestate has been operating in Delta County since 1969, when it opened as Delta Rehab. While about 10 workers with disabilities were employed there when it opened, Lakestate now serves about 200 people with disabilities.

Products and services offered by Lakestate include subcontracting work, products made in its wood shop, and janitorial services. Lakestate employees also work at the Delta County Landfill’s recycling center and for a variety of other employers in the community.

Ohman encouraged area businesses interested in supporting Lakestate to consider partnering with them to provide positions for the organization’s employees.

“We screen the workers — we know if someone’s going to be able to do the job or not,” she said.

For more information on Lakestate Industries, visit