Growing Generosity: Christi Dutcher

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Christi Dutcher’s roots and passion are in Charlotte, MI. The roots are from a long standing family business, Fulton Lumber, founded in 1908, by W. B. Fulton, her great-grandfather and his partner, Ike Colborn. Dutcher worked at Fulton Lumber while in high school, and after some time away, returned to Charlotte and the family business. She currently co-owns the business with her father and brother. Perhaps because her parents and grandparents were grounded in the community, Dutcher grew up knowing that living in a community meant being involved.

“No one said you have to give back — they led by example,” Dutcher said.

While driving through Charlotte, one can’t help but notice the 1885 Eaton County Courthouse building. When it was no longer being used for county business, it looked like a development company might buy both the building and the property. There was concern that the historical building might get bulldozed. Courthouse Square Association (CSA) was created to take it over, and when asked to be on the board, Dutcher agreed. She hasn’t been far from Courthouse Square since. Dutcher’s name has come to be associated with all her work with the CSA, including fundraising, donating materials from Fulton Lumber for repairs, helping to establish the museum and working with the staff.

Another aspect of Dutcher’s passion is her involvement in Charlotte Area Networking for Development and Opportunity, commonly known as CAN DO! For Dutcher, CAN DO! is more than a community development organization. For her, it is “a philosophy that has allowed us to do a lot of other things in the community. A connective experience — an opportunity to instantly get the flow of the community,” she said.

One thing led to another, and Dutcher became the chair of the Charitable Asset Pillar, one of CAN DO!’s four areas of focus. (The other three pillars are Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Youth.) The program is Charlotte’s response to its introduction to the Generosity Project by visiting philanthropist and futurist Lee Ann Kaiser Carlson, who spoke in Charlotte and challenged its residents with the question, “What if Charlotte was the most generous community in the 
country?”

Dutcher is passionate about and gives her time to several other organizations, too, including the Vomberg Foundation, a need based college scholarship fund; the CanHope Group, for anyone touched by cancer in Eaton County; Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital Development Council; and Experience Arts, a newly formed arts alliance.

One can only guess how she also finds time to spend with her husband, an attorney, and her two grown daughters and their families, but as focused as she is on giving to the people and things most important to her, rest assured she finds a way.



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Tags: CAN DO!, Charitable Asset Pillar, charlotte, Christi Dutcher, Courthouse Square Association, generosity, lumber dealFulton Lumber, recycle, Shelbyville

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