Community Impact: Spring 2018 Grant Awards
The Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFMC) recently approved grant awards to a variety of organizations in support of projects throughout Muskegon County. A total of $315,020 was awarded from Unrestricted and Field of Interest Funds through the competitive application process, overseen by numerous volunteer committees. Highlights of the grant awards include:
- United Way of the Lakeshore – $12,000 in support of the Workforce Stability and Employer Resource Network (ERN) programing that includes an Emergency Loan Program for workers who are not at a company that has an ERN. An estimated 60% of our community is one $500 emergency away from crisis and many turn to payday lenders to fill that gap. The Emergency Loan program being developed by the United Way will allow workers to receive the temporary help they need without experiencing predatory loan rates, while simultaneously building a savings buffer to help with future emergencies. This stabilizes families and our workforce, and helps build assets.
- Muskegon Heights Public School Academy – $30,000 to support the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy playground project that will create a new community space for Muskegon Heights. The only elementary school in our county without a playground is in Muskegon Heights – a community resiliently battling back from emergency management and experiencing a roller coaster of leadership and school building changes. This playground will be a source of joy and hope, for kids that need to know our community cares about them.
- Lake Michigan Junior Golf Association – $13,050 to create a Golf & Lifeskills League and a Muskegon advisory committee to steer current and future program in Muskegon County. This highly regarded program teaches lifeskills through golf, while simultaneously providing access to a sport that can be inaccessible to many.
- HealthWest – $10,000 to support the Speaking Down Barriers initiative to promote racial healing and to build a more inclusive, connected community. We know that disparities in health, education, and wealth exist in our community based on race. Speaking Down Barriers provides a forum for those experiencing disparities to speak their truth, and works to create relationships across class and race – an important first step towards healing and reconciliation.
- Muskegon County Environmental Coordinating Council – $9,000 to support sample collection and analysis in the Little Flower Creek Watershed required to pursue Great Lake Restoration Initiative funds. This grant has the power to leverage additional resources towards remediating a stream that has long experienced impairments, and that flows directly into Lake Michigan. With the proposed commercial pig farm that, if built, will impact the watershed, this baseline data and recommendations to mitigate impact are timely and essential.
- Read Muskegon – $7,750 in support of a multi-generational literacy project at Edgewood Elementary School in Muskegon Heights. The economic and social impact of low-literacy is startling – higher rates of incarceration, poor health, and lost productivity and tax revenue are all tied to low-literacy, and yet once you teach a person to read it is a skill they carry with them for a lifetime. This multi-generational program will simultaneously raise literacy rates for children and parents, improving outcomes for the entire family.
“Our generous community – through their gifts to funds at the Foundation – is making positive change and lasting impact,” said Janelle Mair, vice president of programs. “We value the opportunity to connect donors’ support with our community nonprofits through grants such as these.”
Grant applications are accepted twice each year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Nonprofit organizations interested in seeking grant support from the Community Foundation are encouraged visit www.cffmc.org/grants for additional information about the process. A complete list of spring 2018 grant awards is available at here.