The Joanne Zwolinski, Alice and Alan Sawyer Friends of Animals Fund

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Joanne ZwolinskiStarted in 2002 by former resident Wayne Zwolinski, this fund was created in the memory of his wife and parents. The fund makes grants in support of Island veterinary care, including spaying, neutering and vaccinations. The fund will also incorporate education programs for Island youth to learn respect for both animals and nature. Longtime Island residents, the Zwolinski's owned a home on the shore road until 1990 when they relocated off the Island to attend to Joanne's increasing health care needs. Wayne's Island career included employment at Doud's, Carriage Tours, and as the Island Postmaster.

Born and raised on Mackinac Island, Joanne was diagnosed with diabetes at the early age of 10. It was in her youth she developed a strong affinity for animals and shared that love with her parents, Alice and Alan Sawyer, who lived on the East Bluff. Joanne was well known around town for her support of the Humane Society. She placed fuzzy dog or cat-shaped donation cans in local businesses to generate funds for her cause. Unable to walk due to a leg amputation, Joanne made her can distribution and collection rounds in her wheelchair, and did so with great ease and spirit. Joanne enriched Mackinac's community not only with her tremendous sense of humor, but by serving in many positions, including receptionist at the Medical Center, librarian at Mackinac College, secretary at the Mackinac Island Public School, and greeter at the Stuart House Museum. In her spare time, Joanne kept very busy with animal issues, promoting spay and neuter programs and providing animal care, especially to cats, at her home on Mackinac.

Cat and OwnerThe Joanne Zwolinski, Alice and Alan Sawyer Friends of Animals Fund will use its grant distributions to meet two goals. First, the fund shall be used to promote the health and well-being of Island animals. The other intent is to provide education on the proper care and treatment of animals for Island school children and the Island community at large.

Looking far into the fund's future, someday it could provide a scholarship to a graduate of the Mackinac Island Public School to pursue an advanced degree in the field of veterinary medicine or any field of study deemed to assist in better understanding of and caring for animals. Joanne Zwolinski passed away in July of 2001 due to health complications from diabetes. Through this fund, her love of animals and Mackinac Island lives on. Contributions in her memory can be directed to this fund.

Making a Difference!
  • Support of the Mackinac Island 4-H Horse Club – Multiple years

Rider in the Mackinac Island 4-H Club