$120,000 In Grants Announced For Communities Throughout Southwest Michigan

The Michigan Gateway Community Foundation has announced more than $120,000 in grants for communities and projects all over southwest Michigan. They include a trail expansion in Buchanan, a PA system for Fernwood Botanical Garden, and a mentor program at Big Brothers Big Sisters. The non-profit foundation that was founded in 1977 gives out grants twice each year. The foundation told us the following:

In what evolved into one of our largest grant cycles for our organization, the Board of Trustees for Michigan Gateway Community Foundation have approved the granting of funds from the Foundation to the following programs:

a. $37,000 to the Friends of The McCoy Creek Trail to support the expansion of the McCoy Creek Trail from its end point on Schirmer Parkway to the city line located near River St Joe Brewery. This expansion will lead to future expansions to the IN-MI Trail and support healthy lifestyles and positive cultural benefit for area residents. This grant is supported by the McCoy Creek Trail Endowment, Walt Schirmer Jr Fund, George & LaVonne Sullivan Endowment and the Catherine & Lou Desenberg Fund.

b. $7,860.82 to the Buchanan Fine Arts Council to renovate the lighting system in the Tin Shop Theater located in Buchanan, MI. This work will benefit and support youth opportunities for the performing arts. Funds made available through the Buchanan Area Fund.

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c. $4,050 for Cass County Parks to complete a river restoration project on the Dowagiac River from Dodd Park to Losensky Park. This project will clear decades of debris and allow floatable access to the river while supporting wildlife preservation. This project was made possible through support of the Cass Area Fund and Niles Area Fund.

d. $25,000 to the Spectrum Lakeland Hospital Foundation for the expansion of the new bariatric and heart centers at the Niles Hospital. This expansion will increase capabilities of the hospital while supporting a healthy community. Funds provided through the Niles Area Fund and Buchanan Area Fund.

e. $10,000 to The City of Buchanan for alley improvements including benches, plaques and lighting in accordance with the plans outlined in the strategic plan. Funds made available through the Walt Schirmer Jr Fund, George & LaVonne Sullivan Endowment.

f. $26,750 to Fernwood Botanical Garden for PA system that will allow them to hold larger events, create the ability to make announcements throughout the garden and conduct their upcoming holiday lights event. This grant was made possible through the Walt Schirmer Jr Fund.

g. $2,500 for WNIT PBS – The St Joseph River documentary. This represents support of the local public broadcasting and a film outlining the St Joseph River’s history and cultural impact to our community. Funds made available through the Walt Schirmer Jr Fund.

h. $4,000 to aid Eversight in conducting cornea surgeries for underprivileged communities in South Berrien and Cass Counties. Funds made possible through the Cass Area Fund and the Ann S. Cone Fund for Families & Youth.

i. $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. This request is to aid their organization with recruitment of BBBS mentors in Berrien and Cass Co. Funds made possible through the George W. Romney Fund.

j. $10,000 for the City of Niles to help low income and senior citizens make home repairs they otherwise would not be able to afford. Funds made possible through the Help4Homes Fund serving the Niles Community.

k. $10,000 to The Community Healing Center to support the outpatient drug treatment and mental health facility in Niles, MI. Funding provided through the Ann S. Cone Fund for Families & Youth and the Mahlon J. & Thelma C. Smith Fund.

l. $2,500 to the Girl Scouts of NI-SWMI to provide STEM programming to approximately 226 Berrien County girls. Funds made possible through Youth Funds.

m. $36,000 for Buchanan Community Schools. Funds will support the Advise-MI program to pay for an additional counselor at the high school. This individual will do Decision Days, help students complete FAFSA & Buchanan Promise as well as advice students on career paths. Funds made possible through the Bright Futures Fund (Buchanan Promise).

Founded in 1977, Michigan Gateway Community Foundation serves southern Berrien County and Cass County Michigan. The Foundation was established with gifts from many citizens in amounts ranging from a few dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only the income generated by the investment of these gifts is used in grant making. A gift to the community funds, such as those from Niles, Buchanan, and Cass County, serve these communities in perpetuity.

The Foundation accepts grant proposals two times each year with submission dates of August 1, and February 1. Prompt consideration is given to all grant requests, with decisions usually available within one month. Each proposal will be evaluated by the Foundation for its potential value to the community and for the availability of funding resources.

For more information on Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, or to make a contribution that supports your community, contact Michael P. Rowland at 111 Days Avenue, Buchanan, MI 49107, visit www.mgcf.org, or call 269-695-3521.