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Finding your team

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

I love sports. I love everything about sports – the competitiveness, the camaraderie, the rivalries. But most of all, I love being a part of a team. There is something so special about a group of people from all different backgrounds and life experiences coming together and working hard to accomplish a common goal.

I’ve had the good fortune of being a part of several solid teams throughout my athletic career. After I graduated from Shepherd High School (Never heard of it? You’re not alone.), I traveled an hour and a half south and played two years of softball at Jackson Community College, now known as Jackson College. Go Jets! Sure, we hit some home runs and won some games. But the highlight of those two years was being on the field, in the dugout, and in the classroom with some of the smartest, hardest working, funniest, and kindest young women I have ever met. We were more than a team; we were a family. I hold those relationships and memories so close to my heart.

After those two special years in Jackson, I transferred “home” and continued my education at Central Michigan University - Fire up Chips! At this point I had hung up my cleats, I was a criminal justice major and a career in philanthropy wasn’t even on my radar. I found myself desperately craving the community and connection I had always found through sports.

At the time, one of my friends was an intern with the fundraising department of CMU Athletics, the Chippewa Athletic Fund (CAF). After a few conversations with her, I changed my major to sport management and slowly found my way back into the world of athletics. One thing led to another and eventually, I landed an internship with CAF alongside my friend and took on the assistant director role post-graduation. Thus began my career in philanthropy.

While I am no longer a student-athlete or employee in an athletics department, I truly feel like I have found my home team with McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation. You know that old cliché saying, “teamwork makes the dream work?” I’m here to tell you that it’s true. We work hard, we laugh A LOT, and we are making a significant impact on our hospital, our patients, and this community. I am so grateful that, in a roundabout way, sports led me here.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

You can reach Courtney Silverthorn, Annual Giving Specialist at

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