Consumers Energy Foundation Grants Celebrate Utility’s 125th Anniversary
JACKSON — Anniversary grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation generated $2.5 million in support this year for priority projects in 10 Michigan communities.
The foundation conducted the matching grant program as part of the company’s year-long celebration of 125 years of serving Michigan families and businesses.
David Mengebier, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, said the guidance of local leaders was the key to the program’s success.
“We know that each community that we serve is different and each community has its own needs and priorities,” he said. “We relied on local leaders to tell us what’s important to the people of their communities and where support from the Consumers Energy Foundation could really make a difference. We also wanted our $125,000 grants to serve as a catalyst for increased support for these projects, so we made them matching grants. That gave each community an opportunity to get involved and helped to double the support for these projects to $250,000 apiece.”
Mengebier added that he and the Foundation staff were impressed by each project selected by the local leaders and the community support each received.
“Each project is different and it’s exciting that each project will help improve the quality of life in these communities,” he said. “Improving the quality of life in the communities we serve and where our 7,500 employees live is part of our promise to Michigan. I couldn’t think of a better way for Consumers Energy to thank Michigan’s families and businesses for the privilege of serving them for 125 years.”
The 10 projects selected for the matching $125,000 grants were:
Bay City – The Bay Commitment College Access Network, which helps Bay County students and their parents apply for college and for financial assistance.
Flint – The Community Foundation of Greater Flint successfully raised matching funds to support the “Raise the Roof” project in cooperation with the Flint/Genesee County Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. The program is designed to repair or replace the roofs of the homes of low-income families.
Grand Rapids – The West Michigan Sports Commission raised matching funds to support the construction of a 12-field sports complex in Rockford.
Jackson – The Energizing Education Project to support a new literacy program in Jackson County.
Kalamazoo – Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity. The grant supported the organization’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which targets an effort to meet housing needs in distressed neighborhoods.
Lansing – The Michigan Nonprofit Association raised matching funds to support the development of the Nonprofit Center at the Marshall Street Armory.
Muskegon – The Muskegon Retail Incubator fosters opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop sustainable retail businesses in downtown Muskegon in the Russell Block Market.
Pontiac – Lighthouse of Oakland County. The grant supported the renovation of the headquarters for the organization, which helps struggling families move to self-sufficiency and independence.
Saginaw – The Saginaw Community Foundation successfully raised matching dollars to support the restoration of the city’s Deindorfer Woods Park.
Traverse City – The exterior renovation of the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City, which has been both a successful historic preservation and economic development effort, and is the site of the annual film festival hosted by Michael Moore.
So far in 2012, Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, the Consumers Energy Foundation, and the utility’s parent company, CMS Energy, have contributed more than $3.9 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 the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit www.consumersenergy.com/foundation.