The Community Foundation of St. Clair County has received significant national attention and recognition over the last several years for the launch of its innovative program called the Come Home (Reverse Scholarship) Program. Originally conceived by Randy Maiers in 2013 the Come Home award is a talent attraction program primarily for small-town and rural America. Its innovative approach pays college scholarships long after a person has received their college degree, but only if they agree to move back home to live and work in a STEAM field. Other foundations across America are at various phases of replicating the Come Home incentive program.

As a new range of challenges faces much of rural America, the Community Foundation has begun broadening its focus to be a more robust “Talent Attraction” program while also supporting our small businesses. This new emerging program focus will require new friends, partners, stakeholders and donors from every sector in order to help grow the population of the Thumb Coast.

Through our Community Renaissance Fund, the Foundation’s new talent attraction program will use modest financial incentives to lure talent of all ages, backgrounds and cultures to the Thumb Coast of Michigan who will in turn grow families, home ownership, quality of employment and the overall prosperity of St. Clair County.

CRF is the Community Foundation’s supporting organization for community development initiatives.

Awards through Community Renaissance Fund

Talent Attraction – Small Business

In support of our ongoing efforts to attract new residents to St. Clair County, the Community Foundation established a competitive program to help small, local businesses attract employees to live in St. Clair County.

  • Awards are up to $5,000
  • May take the form of a sign-on bonus or reimbursement for moving expenses
  • Awarded funds must be paid out completely to the new employee
  • May not use funds to advertise for open positions or other non-direct expenses
  • Funds may not be used for training, orientation or other such uses
  • Preference for employees who have some kind of post-secondary education, training or credential (degree, apprenticeship, certification, etc.)
  • Targeted employees must agree to move into St. Clair County as their primary residence
    • Employees may not already be living in the county or have confirmed plans to move here at the time of the award offer
    • Company must show that the employee was not living in St. Clair County at the time of the offer, and that the employee has moved to the county before the Community Foundation will pay out the award

Upon request, the company agrees to provide information on the recipient (employee) that may be used for news, publicity and social media at the discretion of the Community Foundation. 


Only businesses and nonprofit organizations based in the below geographic areas and with 50 or fewer employees may apply. Individuals may not apply.  

  • City of Port Huron, preference for south side
  • St. Clair area – City of St. Clair, St. Clair Twp., China Twp. and East China Twp.

Submission Requirements

Submit application to Audrey Sochor at 

  • Submissions will be accepted until all funding is committed
  • Questions can be addressed to Audrey Sochor by email or at 810-984-4761
  • Organizations will be notified of a decision within 2-3 business days of submitting an application

Talent Attraction – Individuals

In an effort to attract talented individuals who don’t have a local, small business to apply on their behalf, we offer a highly competitive program for those who have a demonstrated ability to make a positive difference in their community and contribute to its overall prosperity.

Never before lived in Michigan, or it’s been years since you’ve lived and worked here? Check out the state’s You Can in Michigan campaign.

You Can in Michigan website