Community Foundation Awards $380,000 in Grants

The Board of Trustees of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently approved $380,000 in grants to address a variety of issues in Kent County. The grants include:

Family Outreach Center operates the Family and Community Compact program, which was established in 1995 by the Kent County Department of Human Services in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Kent County Circuit Court. This program reduces the number of children in the local child welfare system by bringing family and other concerned adults connected to the child together to create a plan for care and protection. The Family Outreach Center was awarded a grant to continue this program, which achieved a 44 percent foster care diversion (children not entering traditional foster care) rate in 2005. The grant award is $150,000.

Grand Rapids Community College Foundation in partnership with education, healthcare and economic development organizations is creating a Summer Healthcare Career Academy. The Academy is part of a new strategy, targeting high school students, teachers and counselors, to meet the demand for trained workers in West Michigan’s high-growth healthcare industry. The Academy will expose students in the Kent Intermediate Schools District to math and science concepts necessary for a healthcare career, in addition to increasing the students’ knowledge of healthcare career opportunities. The grant award is $75,000.

Michigan Land Use Institute facilitates activity in Michigan communities to avoid patterns of suburban sprawl and urban overdevelopment. In 2005, the organization received a grant from the Community Foundation toward setting an action agenda for expanding mass transit service throughout the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. This grant will help implement a five year plan to mobilize key groups and citizens around strategies for expanding mass transit in order to build economic strength in the region. The grant award is $35,000.

Reentry Roundtable of Kent County is a local collaboration that identifies gaps in services for ex-offenders, and educates service providers, corrections officials, the private sector and the community regarding the needs of the ex-offender population. This work is done in an effort to reduce crime and recidivism. With this grant, the Reentry Roundtable will formalize its structure, recruit a board of directors, hire an executive director and change its name to the Reentry Resource Center. In the next year, the Reentry Resource Center plans to provide workforce development services for 50 Michigan Prisoner Release Initiative (MPRI) participants and 50 Kent County ex-offenders. The grant award is $ 120,000.