Community Foundation Awards $269,500 in New Grants

Trustees of Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently approved $269,500 in grants aiming to promote social enrichment, civic engagement and healthy ecosystems.

John Ball Zoological Society was awarded $150,000 toward its $12 million fundraising effort to expand zoo exhibits, including a funicular to transport guests, exhibit space for Amur Tigers and Grizzly Bears and a new “treehouse” building that will be available for special events. Community Foundation dollars will fund educational and enrichment aspects of the two animal exhibits, such as the development of educational curricula for field trips and other youth and community programs.

The City of Grand Rapids received $50,000 to develop a model for city service consolidation--police and fire--that can be implemented in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming. As government continues to reduce spending, such a model aims to achieve efficiencies and increase productivity. These efficiencies could be implemented by other departments and help develop a model for sharing services across the communities.

Steepletown Neighborhood Services received $42,000 to engage renters in a program to advocate for tenants’ rights and affordable, quality housing.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks was awarded $27,500 to review City of Grand Rapids tree ordinances to ensure they are contributing to an increase in the tree canopy and make policy recommendations to help reach Grand Rapids’ 40% tree canopy goal. An additional 1,520 acres of canopy cover is needed to reach that goal.