Grantmaker Profile

Grantmaker Profile:  The Collectors Foundation

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A program that empasizes "hands-on education” and looks for funding may find a new friend at the Collectors Foundation. 

“Our goal is to pass on the love affair, knowledge, and skillsets” that come with restoring historic vehicles, said Bob Knechel, Executive Director of Collectors Foundation, in a phone interview with CFA. 

When a youth “gets” the manual arts, “it’s absolutely thrilling to see a young person get excited about life!  It’s thrilling to accomplish what few others know how to do,” continued Bob.

Programs from all over the nation are encouraged to apply for grants from Collectors Foundation. The application process is fairly simple, “we try to make it as easy as possible to apply,” said Bob. 

Since its inception, the Foundation has granted $1.8 million to schools, museums, and anyone restoring historic vehicles. 

A grant-winning program from Colorado, administered by volunteer scientists and teachers, recently received seed money to teach youth how to restore old vehicles and explore new technologies.  The Foundation also awards about 125 scholarships for college students, annually.

Through its efforts, the Foundation has impacted 250,000 school age kids, grades 1-8 with its museum contributions.   It has reached 1,500 to 2,000 high school youth using equipment acquired with help from the Foundation.

The Foundation looks for programs that use airplanes, boats, cars, motor-cycles as teaching tools.  “This is about mechanics and craftsmanship,” Bob said. 

Grants may be awarded to:

  • Educational institutions with specific programs,

  • Vocational high schools,

  • At-risk youth development programs, and

  • Innovative or collaborative programming


Contact:  Bob Knechel, Executive Director

Collectors Foundation

141 River’s Edge Drive, Suite 200

Traverse City, MI  49684





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