Community Foundation Awards $551,000 in Grants

The Board of Trustees of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently approved $551,000 in grants to address a variety of issues in our community. The grants include:

Community Media Center (CMC) with the Reentry Employment Resource Center (RERC) is using a $30,000 grant to create an interactive and virtual space for ex-offenders. The web site will offer links to services including Legal Aid, Wiki and United Way 211. Limiting transportation and schedule conflicts for ex-offenders receiving help, this virtual space will also act as a tool for assessment, job training and tracking for caseworkers and the ex-offenders they are working with to successfully reenter the community. After receiving funding, CMC will be able to finish building the web site owned by RERC, continuing its mission to build community through media and technology.

Kent Intermediate School District (KISD) began a program titled Kent School Services Network (KSSN) to create an alliance of the community’s major health and human service providers to support student achievement. Addressing students’ readiness to learn and attendance, KISD is working with Grand Rapids Education Reform Initiative and Kent County Family and Children’s Coordination Council to bring resources to those who need it. Placed at 11 Grand Rapids Public School locations, a resource connector, nurse, Department of Human Services caseworker and mental health outreach staff work on a 12-month calendar to address student and family needs. These staff members and other costs will be funded through a $486,000 grant.

The SOURCE (Southwest Organizations Unifying Resources for our Community and Employees) is using a $35,000 grant to expand their facilities. Aiming to reduce poverty and unemployment and increase employee retention, the SOURCE has staff and a Department of Human Services case manager. At their current location, the SOURCE offers training in basic computer skills, credit repair, attaining a GED, foreclosure prevention and several other classes. With a larger facility, the program could impact another 1,400 individuals as well as teach proper nutrition and much more in efforts to reduce the cost of health insurance.