Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Fetzer Institute?

We are a foundation based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Established by broadcast pioneer John E. Fetzer (1901-1991), we use our philanthropic resources to help build the spiritual foundation for a loving world.

Who can receive funding from the Fetzer Institute?

The Fetzer Institute does not accept unsolicited proposals, offer grants, or educational scholarships. If you are an individual or a nonprofit seeking a grant, please visit Candid (previously the Foundation Center) for advice and resources. Individuals and organizations are invited by the Institute to help create and implement its projects. We are particularly interested in working with co-investors and invite those who are interested in supporting any of our featured initiatives, to contact us at

Where does the Institute's money come from?

The Institute operates on funding from the sale of its founder’s major assets, which include Fetzer Communications, a Michigan-based, multistate broadcasting empire including radio, television, cable, and closed-circuit music transmission. John E. Fetzer also owned the Detroit Tigers baseball club from 1956 to 1983. The sale of the team and his media holdings resulted in the endowment of the Fetzer Institute.

Is the Institute related to Fetzer wines?


Is the Fetzer Institute a part of Western Michigan University?

No. Western Michigan University's conference facility, the Fetzer Center, is located on their Kalamazoo campus. The center was named for Mr. Fetzer in recognition of his many years of leadership in the local business community and his continuing support of higher education. It includes an exhibit of Mr. Fetzer's broadcast and baseball memorabilia.

Does the Fetzer Institute support local projects?

Yes, through The John E. Fetzer Institute Trust, administered by the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Nonprofit organizations in Kalamazoo County may request up to $5,000 per project from this fund, which is distributed on a quarterly basis. You many inquire about this fund by contacting the Kalamazoo Community Foundation directly.

Who can use Seasons?

Seasons, the Fetzer Institute’s retreat center, is used by Fetzer staff and partners. To learn more about the convenings we have scheduled, see the calendar section of this website. Unfortunately, Seasons is not available for reservation or to rent.

Who can visit GilChrist?

GilChrist, the contemplative retreat center of the Fetzer Institute, is open to the public. Located in Three Rivers, Michigan, GilChrist offers personal retreat space and facilitated activities for those seeking to deepen their experience of the sacred in everyday life. Learn more about events at GilChrist and consider following them on Facebook.