The Community Foundation Awards First Round of Strategic Leadership Grants
In 2019, the Community Foundation began a strategic planning process to guide where we could make the largest impact with our investments of grant dollars, community engagement, and advocacy. The process involved surveying our stakeholders, community leaders, donors, trustees, volunteers, and staff to determine the areas of focus. Strategic Leadership Grants support projects and programs related to these three strategic goals:
- Life-long literacy, including STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and financial literacy
- Educational equity (opportunities for every student to achieve their full potential)
- Workforce supports, including affordable daycare, housing, and transportation
- Business supports, such as entrepreneurship development and capacity of local community and economic development partners
- Through cultural competence, dignity, and social justice, catalyze community to embrace inclusive prosperity and promote the development of spaces where all voices are valued
This fall, the Community Foundation welcomed grant applications focused on these vital goals. The Strategic Leadership Grant round is the first to intentionally focus on these efforts, and we are honored to announce the grant recipients and their programs. Whether it’s supporting access to healthy food, a welcoming neighborhood, community dialogue for healing and justice, workforce stability or active youth, these nonprofits are helping to address challenges and opportunities here in Muskegon County. Strategic Leadership Grants have been awarded to:
- enCompass Affordable Community Housing (EACH) Down Payment Assistance Program
- This program aims to address neighborhood disparities as research shows that where you grow up strongly affects your economic mobility, well-being and health. These new developments allow for home ownership opportunities and quality housing for low-to-moderate income families interested in making the City of Muskegon their home. This program will be supported with a $30,000 grant and fits into our strategic grant priority of workforce support, prosperity for all and economic development.
- Eviction Prevention Program
- Once in this program, Community enCompass Housing Specialists will meet with tenants and co-design multiple ways to avoid eviction. This program will be supported with a $25,000 grant and aligns closely with our strategic goal of workforce supports, educational attainment and prosperity for all.
- MY-GIWM Childcare Center
- This collaborative project between the Muskegon YMCA (MY) and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan (GIWM), the MY-GIWM Childcare Center was created in direct response to the Muskegon 100-Day Challenge, which identified the lack of affordable, accessible and quality childcare as a significant employment barrier in Muskegon County. This program will be supported with a $60,000 grant and aligns with our strategic goal of fostering a dynamic, local economy with a focus on workforce supports.
- Reaching New Muskegon Heights
- The intent of Reaching New Muskegon Heights is to complete a vision forward with phases, estimated costs, and design plans that will ignite the dreams and expectations of the community. The initial steps in the process include a walking tour of downtown Muskegon Heights, key stakeholder/focus groups, and public engagement. This program will be supported with a $10,000 grant and aligns with our strategic goals by fostering a dynamic, local economy and creating a much needed investment in a community that is often seen as neglected.
To learn more about your Community Foundation’s strategic goals and vision for Muskegon County, click here.