Foundation Awards $850K in Grants

The Board of Trustees of Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently approved $850,000 in grants--the largest--$350,000 going to Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. The grant will help support the Community Research Institute (CRI). CRI gathers, analyzes, and interprets national and local data to assist local and regional leaders with decision-making and planning. The Community Foundation helped with startup funding for CRI ten years ago.

Other grants were awarded to:

       Disability Advocates of Kent County for its program “Best Highest Use,” which is designed to provide employers with potential job candidates that meet the skill requirements, but are also people with disabilities. Through a website, “Hearts and Smarts” companies will be able to post positions and candidates with disabilities will be able to register on the site and post skills and assets. A $50,000 grant was awarded.

        Arbor Circle Corporation to fund the Perspective 21 program. The program delivers school and home-based intervention programming for families at risk of abuse and/or neglect. An award of $100,000 was given.

        Kent Intermediate School District for continuation of the Kent School Services Network (KSSN). This program, now in its fourth year provides human service and healthcare supports in 18 schools in six districts in the Kent County. Students can more easily access health, dental, mental health and other services in the school environment, thus reducing absenteeism and improving test scores. Award of $150,000 was made.

        Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund This pooled fund from a variety of foundations and other sources helps nonprofits with technical assistance grants of up to $10,000 to strengthen organizations with consulting for board development, finances, fund development and organizational structure. A $50,000 grant award.

         A new grantee, The Fair Food Network is launching the Double Up Food Bucks program in Kent County. This program with a match from the Community Foundation leverages funds from the Open Society Foundation. The program provides incentives for low income families utilizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) where they can double their food buying funds when purchasing fresh produce at local farmer’s markets. The program is based on a model used at the Eastern Market in Detroit.  Grant award is for $150,000.