COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Our thriving community benefits from the contributions our diverse Membership.

  • Connector.

    We Believe Community is Built Through Partnership, Cooperation and Collaboration.

    Merit strives to bring together individuals who have similar needs and interests. This helps to form bonds between organizations that would not otherwise exist and adds significantly to the value Merit offers to Member organizations.

  • Connector.

    We Act in the Best Interest of Our Members.

    Merit prides itself on providing the best solutions for its Members and the Community. We want to ensure that our Members needs are taken care of in order to best help them achieve their strategic missions.

Hear What Our Members Have to Say
Learn about the benefits of Merit Membership.
Join the Merit Community!
For nearly 50 years, Merit has been at the forefront of networking and technology innovation. Merit’s statewide high-speed network serves hundreds of organizations throughout Michigan, and our IT services are used by Members across the United States.

A non-profit serving non-profits, Merit is the preferred choice of education, libraries, government, health care, and other non-profit organizations. We welcome you to join the Merit Community!

Become a Member

Learning and Collaboration Opportunites

Merit Member Conference
Annual Member Conference
Merit’s largest Member event, the Merit Member Conference (MMC) features nationally-respected speakers, engaging technology presentations & many opportunities for collaboration.
Merit regularly hosts community meetings all throughout Michigan.
Community Meetings
Merit regularly holds community meetings throughout the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Individuals from Merit Member organizations are encouraged to attend, meet other Members and discuss topics of interest to their community.
Merit Technology Summits
Technology Summits
Merit keeps an eye on issues of current interest for Members and develops summits on those topics. Agendas are built to provide timely, high-quality presentations from national and local experts.
Merit Awards
Since 2008, Merit has given awards recognizing individuals and organizations that have shown leadership in networking and information technology, engaged in community building, and shown strong involvement in the Merit community. Merit Awards are presented at the annual Merit Member Conference.
Merit Awards
2017 Merit Awards Ceremony
Join us on May 17th at the Merit Member Conference, where we will announce the winners of the 2017 Merit Awards. We will recognize innovation, community building and meritorious service.



Merit’s Eric Aupperle Innovation Award recognizes organizations and individuals that enhance their work by using networking or other technologies in novel ways.

PREVIOUS AWARD RECIPIENTS

  • Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle ESD (2016)
  • Wayne Snyder, Next Energy (2015)
  • Brigadier General Michael A. Stone, Michigan Army National Guard (2014)
  • David Behen, State of Michigan (2013)
  • Randy Schapel, Mott Community College (2012)
  • Kurt DeMaagd, Michigan State University (2011)

  • Dave Maki, Northern Michigan University (2010)
  • Shawn McKee, University of Michigan Physics Department (2009)
  • Douglas Nye, MidMichigan Medical Center (2009)
  • Jeff Gray and Cathy Green, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (2008)


Merit’s Award for Community Building recognizes organizations and individuals that build communities to help enhance networking, technology and collaboration.

PREVIOUS COMMUNITY BUILDING AWARD RECIPIENTS

  • Pete Hoffswell, Davenport University (2016)
  • Mike Rohwer, Ottawa Area ISD (2015)
  • Randall Melton, Lake Michigan College (2014)
  • Eric Macy, City of Hillsdale (2013)
  • Chuck Madden, Lapeer ISD (2012)
  • Joseph “J.C.” Morris, Michigan Works! (2011)

  • Ken Chinavare, Director of Technology, Clare-Gladwin RESD (2010)
  • Matthew McMahon, Coordinator of Technology Resources, Gratiot-Isabella RESD (2010)
  • David Zenz, Hillsdale College (2009)
  • Vicky Kropp, Alpena Community College (2008)


The Meritorious Service Award recognizes individuals who have shown long-term dedication to Merit’s mission through their support and involvement.

PREVIOUS MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENTS

  • Detroit Public Library (2016)
  • Jim Jones, Jackson College (2016)
  • Laura Hendrick, Wayne State University (2016)
  • Matt Riley, University of Montana (2015)
  • Madonna University (2015)
  • Dennis Buckmaster, St. Clair County RESA; Tim Chavis, Lawrence Technological University; Dave Zenz, Hillsdale College; Mike Zimmerman, Macomb Community College (2015)
  • Jim Rarus, Wayne RESA (2014)
  • Jamie Huber, Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle ESD (2014)
  • Fred Trimble, Mancelona Public Schools (2014)
  • Kim Frazho, Houghton Lake Public Library (2013)
  • Larry Garter, COOR ISD (2013)
  • Tim Brown, Regional Educational Media Center 4 (REMC 4) (2013)
  • Chris Christenson, Charlevoix County Commission (2012)
  • Suzanne Dees, Superiorland Library Coopertive (2012)
  • Liz Fagel, Northern Michigan Consortium (2012)

  • Patrick Gossman, Wayne State University (2011)
  • Mark Grunder, Alpena Community College (2011)
  • Angie Michelini, The Library Network (2011)
  • Dennis Buckmaster, St. Clair County RESA (2010)
  • Travis Bussler, Chippewa River District Library (2010)
  • Mike Zimmerman, Macomb Community College (2010)
  • Pete Hoffswell, Davenport University (2009)
  • Michael Richardson, REMC 1 (2009)
  • Brian Paige, Oakland University (2009)
  • Eric Grandstaff, North Central Michigan College (2008)
  • Jim Lundberg, Bay de Noc Community College (2008)
  • Mark Strandskov, Central Michigan University (2008)

Geographic Member Communities

The cost of a fiber-optic network connection can sometimes be a challenge for an organization, but when others in the area are also seeking a fiber-optic connection, the cost can often be shared to make the fiber-optic connection more affordable. A collection of organizations within a town or an area can come together to form a geographic community, with the goal of improving the network connection for each organization in the consortium. In several Michigan cities, geographic communities have helped provide improved network connectivity for many organizations, while making the cost more affordable for participants.

Escanaba Community Fiber Project

Located in the Southwest Upper Peninsula, the City of Escanaba collaborated with Bay College, Delta County, Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District (ISD), and Escanaba Public Library to connect the organizations via fiber to Merit’s high-speed backbone network.

Hillsdale Community Fiber Project

The partnership in Hillsdale County brought high-speed fiber connectivity to many organizations in the Hillsdale area. The project connected the City of Hillsdale, Hillsdale Board of Public Utilities (BPU), Hillsdale College, and Hillsdale County Intermediate School District.

Northeast Michigan Fiber Consortium

The founding members of this fiber-optic network project were Alpena Community College, Alpena County, Alpena Public Schools, Alpena Regional Medical Center, the City of Alpena, Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health, Northeast Michigan Consortium, and Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary/NOAA.

Join the Merit Community!