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Consumers Energy Foundation Gives $1.25 Million Grants For Utility’s 125th Birthday

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CMS Energy-Consumers Energy headquarters in Jackson.

CMS Energy-Consumers Energy headquarters in Jackson.

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LANSING — The Consumers Energy Foundation announced that it is awarding $1.25 million in grants to 10 community projects as part of the utility’s 125th anniversary celebration.

“Michigan families and businesses have been counting on our company and its employees to keep the lights on and their homes warm since 1886. We’re making these grants to thank our customers for the privilege of serving them for 125 years,” said David Mengebier, the president of the Consumers Energy Foundation.

Mengebier announced the grants at a Lansing news conference. The grants support projects in: Bay City, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw, Pontiac, and Traverse City.

He said the foundation asked nonprofit leaders in the 10 communities to evaluate local needs and identify projects that are important to each community.

“We know that each community is different and has its own needs and priorities,” Mengebier said. “We relied on the local leaders to tell us what’s important to the people of their communities and where support from the Consumers Energy Foundation could make a real difference.”

To encourage local support for the projects, the 125th anniversary grants are matching grants. That means when the projects raise $125,000 in other contributions, the Consumers Energy Foundation will match that amount with its anniversary grants.

“We expect the 125th anniversary grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation will create total support of $2.5 million for these projects,” Mengebier said. “The nonprofit leaders in these communities already are working to secure that support and we’re confident they’ll all reach that goal.”

Bay City – The Bay Commitment College Resource Center, which helps Bay County students and their parents apply for college and for financial assistance. The grant will support the resource center’s operations.

Flint – The Flint/Genesee County Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. The grant supports the group’s Raise the Roof Campaign and the purchase of materials and labor to repair or replace the roofs of the homes of low-income families.

Grand Rapids – The West Michigan Sports Commission. The grant supports the construction of a 12-field sports complex in Rockford.

Jackson – The Partnership Park Neighborhood Planning Project. The grant supports educational system improvements in the city of Jackson.

Kalamazoo – Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. The grant supports the organization’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which targets distressed neighborhoods.

Lansing – The Michigan Nonprofit Association. The grant supports the development of the Nonprofit Center at the Armory.

Muskegon – The Community Foundation of Muskegon County. The grant supports the Russell Block Market program, which fosters opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop sustainable retail businesses in downtown Muskegon.

Saginaw – The Saginaw Community Foundation. The grant supports the restoration of the city’s Deindorfer Woods Park.

Pontiac – Lighthouse of Oakland County. The grant supports the renovation of the headquarters for the organization, which helps struggling families move to self-sufficiency and independence.

Traverse City – The Traverse City Film Festival. The grant supports the group’s effort to renovate the exterior of the historic State Theatre in downtown Traverse City.

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy.  It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community and civic development, culture and the arts, social services, the environment, and emerging issues.

In 2011, Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, the Consumers Energy Foundation, and the utility’s parent company, CMS Energy, are expected to contribute more than $3.8 million to Michigan nonprofit organizations.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information about Consumers Energy, visit www.consumersenergy.com

For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit  www.consumersenergy.com/foundation

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