The Rapidian

Newest Community Foundation Grants Total $1.5 Million

Underwriting support from:

/Nate Umstead

This week, Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees voted to approve $1.5 million in grants. The grants address four areas of need in Kent County including economic growth, health, arts and culture, and the creation of safe and attractive neighborhoods. 
Grants to Build Economic Prosperity

  • $150,000 to Grand Action Foundation to support the predevelopment for Grand Rapids Urban Market, including architecture and engineering services, tax credit planning and syndication, legal fees and project management. 
  • $50,000 to Kent County for its South Division Green Redevelopment Plan. With implementation of the proposed $40 million Bus Rapid Transit system pending, planning for redevelopment of the South Division corridor and the economic opportunities it presents is proceeding. The Right Place, Inc., in cooperation with Kent County, the Grand Valley Metro Council, and the cities of Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming, is proposing a green infrastructure planning process that would engage ethnically diverse business owners to leverage federal resources in order to create new capital for businesses, building improvements and employment of sustainable business practices. The resulting redevelopment would be similar to that which has occurred along Division Avenue between Fulton and Wealthy Streets, but on a much larger scale.
  • $375,000 to Grand Rapids Community College Foundation to increase the number of students preparing for health careers including nursing,through renovations to Cook Academic Hall on its main campus. By expanding health specialty training programs and instituting new programs, GRCC projects a minimum 25 percent increase in students they serve by 2014.
    Grants to Encourage Healthy People
  • $250,000 to First Steps Kent for the expansion of its Children’s Healthcare Access Program. The Children’s Healthcare Access Program is a pediatric medical home program that is designed to improve the health outcomes of publicly insured children. Nearly one in three children in Kent County is covered by Medicaid and statistically these children have less access to preventative care than children covered by private insurance. As a result they have a higher hospitalization rate, more severe illnesses, higher rate of asthma and more emergency room visits. The grant funding will improve healthcare access for more children, increase immunization rates and intensify the support provided to children with asthma.
  • $75,000 to Spectrum Health Foundation to continue school-based programming that empowers youth to choose a tobacco-free lifestyle. This grant will support programs including nicoTEAM and Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) for the next two years. These programs have undergone extensive evaluation since 2001 and have been proven to lower rates of tobacco use among participants. The programs are offered in districts throughout Kent County, but the primary focus is on Grand Rapids Public Schools. 
  • $200,000 to Community Rebuilders for its Housing Services Center. The Center, to be located at 1120 Monroe Avenue, will bring the services offered by Community Rebuilders, The Salvation Army and the Coalition to End Homelessness under one roof improving access for people facing a housing crisis. Grant monies will also provide staff support for the management and distribution of $1 million in City of Grand Rapids HOME funds to provide financial assistance for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing. 
Grant to Support Arts and Social Enrichment
  • $140,000 to Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids for phase two of its What’s Your Art Grand Rapids? campaign.  Using public relations, marketing, advertising and social media, the campaign will build on the success of phase one of this leadership grant to further raise awareness of the rich arts and cultural offerings in Grand Rapids and help the arts and cultural organizations increase earned income.
Grants to Create Vibrant Neighborhoods
  • $150,000 to Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids for its Wealthy Heights Revitalization Project. The grant will allow Dwelling Place, working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Grand Rapids Community College’s green building program and Grand Rapids Public Schools’ building trades program to rehabilitate up to five homes and construct six new homes in the Wealthy Heights residential area (officially part of the East hills neighborhood). The homes will be part of a community land trust, which was established to support neighborhood revitalization while preserving affordability in East Hills.
  • $55,000 to Fair Housing Center of West Michigan to continue its work to connect residents with community resources and advocate for change to stop foreclosures in Kent County. This is the third year of funding for this effort.
  • $100,000 to The Salvation Army, serving as the fiduciary for the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness, to support phase III of the Coalition’s work to prevent and end systemic homelessness in Kent County by 2014. This two-year phase will include implementing the Coalition’s communication plan, creating opportunities for greater civic engagement and advocacy in shifting the current system, and helping to develop a minimum of 40 new permanent supportive housing units for people that are chronically homeless.

To learn more about a grant, please call Grand Rapids Community Foundation at 616.454.1751.


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