Community Foundation Announces $253,350 in Education Grants

2011 Meijer Good Schools revealed and Good Classroom winners recognized

Grand Rapids, Mich., May 4, 2011 – Three Grand Rapids Public elementary schools received $120,000 in total grants from the Meijer Good Schools for Grand Rapids Program, which recognizes area elementary schools demonstrating measurable success.   In addition, 52 teachers and students from Grand Rapids Public, Catholic and Christian schools received a total of $133,350 in Good Classrooms minigrants.  These schools and classrooms will be recognized at a special event on May 4, 2011. 

The Meijer Good Schools program and the Good Classrooms minigrants areinitiatives of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and are funded by The Meijer Foundation, with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the C. Robert and Patricia Muth Fund, the Patricia P. and Armen G. Oumedian Family Fund, and the Mary I. and Robert C. Pew Donor Advised Fund.

The program rewards area elementary schools based on their ability to address nine benchmarks for student success. Schools are granted $40,000 per school, andare awarded based on each school’s student achievement levels and other criteria.

Meijer Good Schools grant funding can be used for any activity that enhances a school’s efforts to support student achievement, including professional development and training, parental and community involvement, and equipment and materials for students.

The three 2011 Meijer Good Schools grant awards winners are:

  • Burton Elementary School (2133 Buchanan Avenue SW) receiving a $40,000 Meijer Good Schools grant. Burton’s highly dedicated and attentive staff takes an individualized approach to meeting the needs of each child. Deeply rooted in the community, parents and students view Burton as their “second home.”
  • Coit Creative Arts Academy (617 Coit Avenue NE) receiving a $40,000 Meijer Good Schools grant.  Coit’s focus on the arts makes it unique in Grand Rapids. Teachers integrate the visual and performing arts into all subject areas to keep students engaged and challenged.
  • Shawmut Hills Elementary School (2550 Burritt Street NW) receiving a $40,000 Meijer Good Schools grant.  Shawmut Elementary enjoys a high level of parental involvement, which is a large component in its success. The school plans to use the grant funds to equip a one-of-a-kind sensory room and intervention lab.

Additionally, the Community Foundation is awarding $133,350 in Good Classrooms minigrants to 52 teachers and students.  Good Classrooms minigrants fund innovative classroom projects and learning activities in Grand Rapids Public, Catholic and Christian schools. 

Many of this year’s winners focused on innovative uses for new technology, including utilizing iPads in classroom instruction. Many Good Classrooms grant recipients are using iPads for a variety of subjects, age groups and special needs.  Examples of these projects include:

  • $1500 for the Science Matters project at North Park Montessori.  Students will utilize the iPad as they work in small groups to experience the scientific method:  developing hypotheses, observing and collecting data, reviewing results and presenting conclusions to classmates.
  • $4,818 for Technology for Communication and Social Behavior at Grand Rapids Public Schools Autism program. This program uses iPad and iPod touch devices with a MacBook to store applications to be used to assist students with autism disorders to communicate, engage and socialize.
  • $2,442 for the iPad Pilot Program at West Catholic High School. West Catholic’s technology department will implement iPads into the daily instruction of technology classes and develop instructional practice for expansion throughout the building.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s support of education has spanned several decades, beginning in 1947 with scholarships to address a local nursing shortage. Today, the Community Foundation awards approximately 25 percent of its grant funds to education programs—$2.2 million in 2009-10. 

Grand Rapids Community Foundation leads Kent County in making positive, sustainable change. With its endowment, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation supports local nonprofits, leads significant social change and helps donors achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, please visit