JACKSON — Michigan nonprofit organizations received $3.8 million in contributions in 2011 from Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, philanthropic arm, and the utility’s parent company, CMS Energy.
The United Way was the largest single recipient with nearly $1.8 million contributed to 61 local United Way organizations. Of that amount, $1.2 million was contributed by the company’s employees.
CMS Energy focused on supporting early childhood and basic needs program with $1.1 million in contributions from a donor-advised fund. Grants from that fund included $75,000 to the Food Bank Council of Michigan to purchase food, $62,500 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County for a school-based mentoring initiative, and $21,000 to the Women’s Caring Program to support child care scholarships in Mason and Tuscola counties.
For this year, the Consumers Energy Foundation already has announced that it is awarding $1.25 million in grants to 10 community projects as part of the utility’s 125th anniversary celebration. The grants support projects in Bay City, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw, Pontiac, and Traverse City.
David Mengebier, the president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, said the philanthropic contributions reflect the commitment that the company and its employees have to the people and communities that they serve.
“Our company and its employees have been part of Michigan since 1886,” Mengebier said. “We’re committed to this state and to the communities we serve. Our contributions and our volunteer efforts are focused on Michigan and making this state a better place to live for all. We have 7,500 employees who today are carrying on our company’s 125-year tradition of helping those in need and doing their part – with financial contributions and volunteering — to improve the communities where they live and work.”
Mengebier added that the anniversary grants were being made “to thank our customers for the privilege of serving them for 125 years.”
Mengebier also serves as the senior vice president of governmental and public affairs for Consumers Energy and CMS Energy and as the chief compliance officer for both companies.
Overall, $2.6 million in grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation and the corporation were awarded to 1,001 projects in 2011. The company’s giving programs focus on education, social welfare, culture and the arts, community and civic activities, and the environment.
The foundation recognizes outstanding volunteerism by employees and retirees through its Volunteer Investment Program. Through this program, organizations supported by employees and retirees with volunteer time can receive grants of $100 to $500 or more. In 2011, VIP grants totaling $220,150 were awarded to 446 nonprofit organizations on behalf of 544 employees and retirees.
The foundation’s Matching Gifts program also provided $146,782 to match employee and retiree donations to 31 higher education institutions, 19 community foundations, and 69 food banks, food pantries, and homeless shelters across the state.
Notable 2011 grants included:
* $60,000 to the Child Care Network to support child care scholarships for Jackson families
* $50,000 to the Michigan chapter of the Nature Conservancy to support restoration of the North Maumee Bay bottomlands.
* $40,000 to Michigan State University for the Broad Art Museum capital campaign
* $30,000 to the Great Start Collaborative to support the Imagination Library in Jackson County
* $30,000 to the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency for child care scholarships, home visitation, and other services for children in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties
* $25,000 to Traverse City for the Traverse City Bayfront Project
* $25,000 to the Council of Michigan Foundations to support the Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives
* $25,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for the Genesee Power Station Scholarship Fund
* $25,000 to the Calhoun County Trailway Alliance to support Phase I of the Calhoun County Trailway
* $20,000 to the Sandcastles Children’s Museum in Ludington for capital improvements to the facility
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. For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit its website at: www.consumersenergy.com/foundation
Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 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.