Foundation gives one-half million dollars in grants
GRAND RAPIDS - February 21, 2005 – The Grand Rapids Community Foundation Board of Trustees authorized $508,850 in grants to seven local agencies to benefit a variety of programs involving human services, the arts, literacy, health and agriculture.
Gerontology Network will use a grant of $75,000 to enable access of community services to older adults, their families and care providers. Gerontology Network is seeking to open a ‘Center on Aging and Longevity.’ This addition will help them consolidate and improve their service delivery. The Center will furnish elders and caregivers with phone and walk-in access to multiple services and providers. It will provide enhanced coordination and collaboration among health and human service providers, and act as a resource for employers tracking productivity, retention and employee satisfaction.
The grant is from the Lucy E. Barnett Trust for the Elderly, at the Community Foundation.
Grand Rapids Ballet Company received a grant of $100,000 to increase access to the arts throughout the state. The ballet is in urgent need of an upgraded set and costumes to continue their annual performance of the Nutcracker, which is 40 percent of their earned revenue. They also plan to create a new major story ballet to be performed at DeVos Hall and are developing new marketing materials, and hiring a booking agent to increase exposure and revenue. The grant is from the Estate of Curtis M. Wylie.
Additionally, a grant was given to Grand Valley State University (GVSU) for $183,000. The grant will be used to fund the Community Research Institute (CRI), a partnership between GVSU and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The CRI collects data and trend information, which enables the Community Foundation to make grantmaking and leadership decisions based on valid research. This information is available to all nonprofit organizations for their own planning and evaluation
In order to expand their adult tutoring program, as well as develop and implement a family literacy program, Kent County Literacy Council was given a grant of $75,000. Community volunteers tutor adults in reading, while a customized workplace program teaches English as a second language to employees of a variety of companies for a fee. Over the past few years, the organization has grown from 150 “students” to 410, with an additional 150 in the workplace program. Important processes that the Council plans to enact include hiring a development director and additional training staff, developing a marketing program and building expansion.
The grant is from an unrestricted fund at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
Opera Grand Rapids received a challenge grant of $15,000 to build a fund that will serve as a cash reserve for the organization while it completes plans for stability and growth. Last year, Opera Grand Rapids developed a plan for long-term sustainability and initiated the stabilization fund. Through decreased expenditures and increased contributions, the Opera hopes to sustain the fund at a higher level, which would allow them to implement plans for expansion. The grant is from the Englebert J. and Lelah Sexton Vogt Trust.
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) received a grant for $35,000, of which $10,000 will be issued on a dollar per dollar match. WMEAC is developing an organized infrastructure in West Michigan that will enable farmers to move toward sustainable production systems for food, fuel and fiber while moving away from the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs in production. Potential results include reduction of lost or degraded soil and wildlife habitats, improved farm economies and less urban sprawl.
The grant is from the Walter D. Idema Fund; the Orianna D. Hooker Fund and the Perry M. and Hazel A. Lawr Fund.
The WMEAC was given an additional $25,000 for Phase II of their West Michigan Electronic Waste Recycling Coalition program. The program is designed to implement a regional electronic waste recycling coalition composed of West Michigan municipalities, nonprofits, and businesses, thereby reducing hazardous waste and pollution.
The grant is from the Ben H. Lee, Jr. Fund; the American Box Board Community Fund; the Employees of Autocam Fund; the Mary A. and Lenore G. Smith Fund; the Orville and Jean Bulman Estate and the Theodore R. Schoonbeck Fund.
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the oldest community foundation in Michigan, was founded in 1922. It continues to fund, initiate and lead programs that benefit the Grand Rapids area in the arts, community development, education, environment, health, and human services.