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East Lansing seeks applicants for 2017 Emerging Leaders Program

Residents of East Lansing looking to learn more about local government have an opportunity to get civically engaged in the community they call home through an eight-week course designed to build tomorrow's leaders today.
 
The City of East Lansing is now accepting applications for its 2017 Emerging Leaders Program. Applications are available on line through the city's website and must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, for consideration.
 
The program was first offered 10 years ago in 2007. Since that time, five groups of 20 participants each have graduated. Approximately 44 alumni have gone on to serve on one of the 20 or more East Lansing boards or commissions; others have run or served on city council, the East Lansing School Board, assumed leadership posts in their respective neighborhoods, and served as election inspectors. 
 
City Clerk Marie Wicks was among the original architects of the Emerging Leaders program, and continues to help coordinate activities and sessions. She says the program is an ideal fit for individuals who want to become involved in their community, and provides the tools and confidence they may need to be effective. 
 
"It's all about coming in, learning and interacting with people in your cohort," says Wicks. "The program has a special feel to it. It's really neat to think people will give up time to do this. People in the program have fun. It sounds like a lot of heavy stuff, but it's rewarding."
 
Participants in the 2017 program will hone leadership and public service skills through a variety of course topics taught by business people as well as community and government leaders. Topics on this year's radar include neighborhood initiatives, inclusion and diversity, budgets and finances, and strategic partnerships.
 
East Lansing resident Meegan Holland graduated as an Emerging Leader in 2015. After completing the program, she applied and took a post with the East Lansing Arts Commission, and remains an active member.
 
"When people don't get involved in their city, they make assumptions and point fingers," says Holland. "But when you get involved, you find answers. You have a responsibility to be an engaged citizen and this is the perfect way to do it."
 
The Emerging Leaders Program runs eight to 10 weeks starting Monday, Feb. 13. The program meets on Thursday evenings at different meeting places around East Lansing. All applicants must be a homeowner or renter in East Lansing and 18 years of age. To learn more about the free program, click here. 
 
Source: Marie Wicks, East Lansing City Clerk
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Spartan Motors presents gifts to two organizations committed to the vitality of Charlotte

A leading Michigan manufacturer increased its commitment to local community health and economic development in Charlotte through a pair of donations totaling more than $1 million.
 
Spartan Motors presented $75,000 to support ongoing programs in community health and wellness through AL!VE. The donation is the seventh of 10 installments of a $10 million donation originally pledged in 2009 by the Spartan Motors Foundation. The Foundation represents the charitable arm of Spartan Motors and was developed to impact the tri-county area surrounding the company's Charlotte, Mich., headquarters.
 
"We started in Charlotte and it is important for us to stay committed and support a community that has done so much for us," says Daryl Adams, president and chief executive officer of Spartan Motors. "We know a majority of our employees reside in Charlotte and we want to invest in organizations and initiatives that benefit our community and the wellbeing of our employees."
 
Spartan Motors further reinforced its support of Charlotte by announcing a $30,000 commitment over the next three years to Charlotte Rising—the regional offshoot of Gov. Rick Snyder's larger Rising Tide initiative to advance economic prosperity in 10 communities across Michigan. The Rising Tide program is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.
 
"Charlotte Rising is a new opportunity for us to invest directly in Charlotte in the hopes that we might advance the revitalization that is starting to take shape in downtown," says Adams. "New restaurants, affordable new housing, new developments are all signs of a healthy, flourishing downtown, and that's our desire for the city of Charlotte."
 
Spartan Motors is a leading designer, engineer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty vehicles, specialty chassis, vehicle bodies and parts for the fleet and delivery, recreational vehicle, emergency response, defense forces and contract assembly markets. Headquartered in Charlotte, Mich., for more than 40 years, the company employs about 1,800 people, and operates facilities in Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kansas, South Dakota, Saltillo, Mexico, and Lima, Peru.
 
Source: Samara Hamilton, Corporate Director of Marketing, Spartan Motors
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Emerge Michigan offers training and support to future female leaders

Women eager to change the face of politics and run for elected office in Michigan will find the support they need through a nationwide training and support network active in 16 states.
 
Emerge Michigan identifies, trains and encourages Democratic women to wage campaigns, get elected and seek higher office. The organization offers an intensive, seven-month, cohort-based training program. Of the 15 women in the first cohort in 2016, five ran for office, four made it to the November ballot, and one was elected to serve as a township trustee in southeast Michigan.
 
"It was a tough year," admits Executive Director Beth Kelly. "And while winning is the ultimate goal, running a clean, well-executed campaign is a win in anyone's book. It lays the groundwork for future campaigns."
 
Applicants have until December 31 to apply for the 2017 Emerge Michigan cohort. The program can accept 25 women into the program—an increase of 10 participants from 2016. Kelly says each applicant must meet two basic requirements: they have to identify as a woman, and they have to be a registered Democrat who resides in Michigan.
 
Applicants accepted into the program participate in 70 hours of training over seven months. Sessions typically take place one Saturday per month and are held in a location convenient to the majority of the participants. Some training is slated for a central Lansing location. Covered topics include, but are not limited to, writing a campaign plan, building a cabinet, finance and fundraising, and compliance.
 
Emerge Michigan is the newest affiliate in the Emerge America network and came to Michigan in February 2015. The national organization launched in 2002. Tennessee is slated to join the network in 2017.
 
Emerge America has trained more than 2,000 women. Fifty-two percent have run or been appointed to office. Of that 52 percent, 70 percent have won their campaigns.
 
The organization focuses on all levels of public office, with a strong emphasis on municipal and local races—the area where Kelly says, a lot of leaders are born. Kelly says this election year proved it's critical for women to run for office and to push forward democratic principles.
 
"A great many men share the same values, but women are involved with gender salient issues like health care, education, the economy and the environment," Kelly says. "These are the issues we'll see under attack in the next four years, so the more women elected, the more we can focus on and protect these issues."
 
Emerge Michigan is housed in Franklin, Mich., and plans to grow its presence in Lansing in 2017.     
 
Source: Beth Kelly, Executive Director, Emerge Michigan
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Michigan College Access Network welcomes two new employees

The Michigan College Access Network welcomed two new employees to their team based in Lansing, Mich., to help increase college readiness, participation and completion of postsecondary degrees among the state's residents.
 
Michigan State University alumnae Emma Walter will serve as MCAN's operations assistant, while Central Michigan University alumnae Melissa Steward will serve as MCAN's director of AdviseMI. The program partners with 16 Michigan colleges and universities and has helped train nearly 50 college advisers to help students explore, apply and prepare for college.  
 
Sarah Anthony, MCAN's deputy director for partnerships and advocacy, says the two new additions to staff reflect the exponential growth curve of the nonprofit focused on college access and success. Founded in 2010, the organization has grown from two staff in a downtown Lansing office to 75 employees working across the state. Nine employees work in the central MCAN office at 220 N. Chestnut Street.
 
"We have a lot of work to do to reach our goal," says Anthony. "That's why we've scaled so quickly."
 
Considered a leader in the college access movement, MCAN's goal is to increase Michigan's postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the end of 2025. While bold, Anthony admits, it's an attainable goal. For the sixth consecutive year, the state's postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased—from 25.7 percent of 25-to-64 year olds having at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.3 percent in 2014. Another 4 percent of Michigan residents have a high-quality certificate, bringing the state's current attainment rate to 43.3 percent.
 
A large focus of MCAN, Anthony says, is to improve college readiness and completion among low-income students, first-generation college students, and students of color. And while data shows that a majority of 21st century jobs will require a skills, degree or credential, Anthony says some still believe it's possible to walk out of high school and into a decent job.
 
"When you look at the needs coming down the pike in the next handful of years, it's critical that Michigan graduates are well-positioned and have college skills and credentials," Anthony says. "Culture shifts are happening. We don't want to be leaving people behind."
 
Source: Sarah Anthony, Deputy Director for Partnerships, Michigan College Access Network
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 
 

Charlotte ramps up revitalization efforts with state and community support

Volunteers in Charlotte, Mich., have been leading efforts to reinvent the city's historic downtown after Gov. Rick Snyder named the city one of 10 communities for the Rising Tide program. Sponsored by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, the program works with local leaders and provides communities with the tools they need to attract new businesses and help existing employers grow.
 
Adopting the name #Charlotte Rising, the 14-member committee of business and civic leaders has been building momentum through public art projects, building improvements, and creating green space and gathering places. A pocket park is being planned once a dilapidated building is torn down, providing a small open public space between two buildings across from Charlotte City Hall. Also underway is the rehab of a vacant market area to create a contemporary public space for farmer's markets and social gatherings.
 
"Our mission is simple but profound," says Dillon Rush, economic development intern and #Charlotte Rising member from the University of Michigan. "To unleash Charlotte's community potential. In other words, our mission is to make Charlotte a thriving place for our friends, families and futures."
 
The 10 Rising Tide communities were chosen based on a series of economic factors including unemployment rate, poverty levels and labor participation rates. Among the organizations committing assets to Rising Tide communities are the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Talent and Economic Development (TED), and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).
 
Right around the same time Charlotte was named a Rising Tide community, the small city was also selected as one of three Michigan Main Street communities. Members of #Charlotte Rising have worked to transform Charlotte according to the principles of the Main Street program, and to elevate the community from associate to select level through the National Main Street Center.
 
"People from all over the community are buying in to the direction of where we want the community to go," says #Charlotte Rising treasurer Garrett Bensinger. "There's a lot of momentum and a common camaraderie. We've been given some proven processes that help us as a community."
 
Source: Garrett Bensinger, Treasurer, #Charlotte Rising
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Allen Neighborhood Center gets $10,000 boost from Consumers Energy

A long-time neighborhood center with projects in urban farming and education has received a first-time $10,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support the growth and expansion of current initiatives.
 
The Allen Neighborhood Center will apply the grant toward the Hunter Park GardenHouse—a project that has provided innovative urban gardening and farming education since 2008. The year-round greenhouse and surrounding acre of parkland provides a site for high quality workshops on every aspect of small lot gardening. A year-round Community Supported Agriculture project offers flexible payment options to low- to moderate-income neighbors interested in receiving a weekly box of fresh, local product grown in the neighborhood.
 
"Food access is an issue here," says Hunter Park GardenHouse Director Rita O'Brien of the southern East Side neighborhood. "We want to be able to provide healthy, low-cost food in an area where 25 percent of residents are at or below the federal poverty line."
 
The grant, says O'Brien, will help support the expansion and efficient operation of the GardenHouse project to grow more food. The grant will also assist with operations of the CSA and with various youth and community education programs focused on food.
 
The GardenHouse in Hunter Park is part of the Allen Neighborhood Center, with administrative and community spaces located at 1611 E. Kalamazoo Street. O'Brien says the Center hosts about 10 to 13 workshops a year on various food and gardening topics that are attended by about 400 to 500 people annually. The Center also services about 200 kids, 75 families, and engages with more than 500 volunteers each year.
 
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy, and provides funds for education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment and emerging issues. O'Brien says everyone involved with the GardenHouse is excited about the grant and the capabilities it will bring. And with winter coming, she says she's excited, too, about being in and near the greenhouse.
 
"When it's sunny, it gets up to about 75 degrees," she says. "It's really nice to be inside around green growing things inside and to wear a T-shirt when it's snowing outside."
 
Source: Rita O'Brien, Associate Director, Allen Neighborhood Center
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Masters of Confection brings chocolate to the people through monthly subscription service

Life is like a box of chocolates when you're Konny Zsigo.
 
In October, Zsigo swapped a 30-year run as an entrepreneur and corporate CEO in the high-tech wireless, digital advertising space to pursue a new path as a chocolatier. It was a move that took some by surprise since Zsigo had launched and operated East Lansing-based wireless companies since graduating high school, creating about 500 jobs. His most recent venture, WDA, was sold to the big data marketing company Rocket Fuel in 2014, contributing to the growth of high-tech ventures in the Greater Lansing area.
 
"I didn't want my whole life to be about high tech," says Zsigo. "I've been that way since I was 17 and started a computer company. It's very stressful, and this represents a nice semi-retirement option for me. It also gives me a chance to be creative."
 
Typical of Zsigo's enterprises, Masters of Confection isn't simply what it appears. Instead of being a brick-and-mortar chocolate shop, Masters of Confection offers a monthly subscription service where members get a two-pound, eclectic assortment of handcrafted, signature chocolates and confections. Corporate clients can opt for an efficient gift-giving program for key employees and customers—complete with a box customized with the company's logo. Zsigo also coordinates tasting parties and charity events, including a recent "ladies night" at Azzi Jewelers.
 
"I didn't want to be a backroom chocolatier, someone who doesn't see anyone," says Zsigo. "I want to do the opposite and bring the chocolate to the people rather than having them come into a shop. Most chocolatiers I've met are in the back with their gloves and hats on. I'm doing that, too, but I want to go out and meet people."
 
Zsigo credits his son for igniting his chocolate craze. About six years ago, his then 10-year-old son was looking to start his first business in the form of a lemonade stand. Zsigo steered him toward something bigger, and suggested he do something with chocolate instead.
 
"He was dipping Oreo cookies, and while he was doing that, I was making truffles," says Zsigo. "I discovered I loved it and was really having a great time."
 
It wasn't long before Zsigo was seeking advice from professional chocolatiers, attending trade shows, and learning everything he could about the business. Today, he makes preservative-free confections that source chocolate from France and Belgium, creating a variety of different chocolates and sweets for each month.
 
"It's seasonally inspired—so you'll get different assortments for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and so on," says Zsigo. "That's part of the fun of it. It's a surprise."
 
Zsigo handcrafts all chocolates alongside his wife and business partner Nikki. Monthly subscription services for Masters of Confection are $35 a month, and run for nine months out of the year—excluding June, July and August. To find out more, click here.  
 
Source: Konny Zsigo, Owner and Chocolatier, Masters of Confection
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

LCC and REACH create community artwork honoring Malcolm X

Learning about Malcolm X and his message of social justice was just one goal for a group of students from Lansing Community College. Another was to partner with high school teens in creating a community artwork that recognizes the civil rights activist who lived in Lansing and Mason as a youth.
 
From October through November, 15 sociology students from LCC got out of the classroom and traveled to REO Town to meet with 10 high schoolers in the Teen Open Studio of the REACH Studio Art Center. Students from LCC led discussions on civil rights, social inequality and Malcolm X as REACH students created a life size, freestanding mural from tiles carved with highlights of Malcolm's X's life. The finished community art project also features a casting of a hand to encourage people to take photos of themselves "shaking hands" with the influential activist.
 
The project between LCC and REACH was among the increasing number of service learning projects coordinated through the College's Centre for Engaged Inclusion. The project with REACH involved students from two introductory sociology classes taught by Aliza Robison, an LCC sociology and anthropology teacher.
 
"Service learning helps students apply what they learn in the classroom to real life," says Robison. "In this case, we talked to Lansing area high schoolers about Malcolm X, and gave them a better idea of who he was, what the social movement was about, and how social inequality relates to them."
 
Robison says that the project took hold, both because of Malcolm X's connection to Lansing as well his connection to sociology and change.
 
"He was a free thinker and looked at things critically," she says. "He dissected the world the way a sociologist would, and challenged the idea that we have to think like everyone else. We do that in higher education as well."
 
The freestanding mural will be unveiled in the atrium of the LCC Library located on the second floor of the Technology and Learning Center Building at 400 S. Capital Ave. on December 8 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. LCC and REACH students and staff will talk about how the mural was created and explain the meanings hidden within the art work from 5 to 5:30 p.m.
 
The Malcolm X Mosaic will remain in LCC's Library throughout February in celebration of Black History Month. In March 2017, the mural will be permanently installed at the Shabazz Public School Academy on Barnes Road in Lansing.
 
"Our hope is that projects like these help students become engaged citizens who want to learn from other people as much as they feel confident teaching others," says Robison. "Service learning is a new way of doing classwork where students feel they can experience the real world, apply what they learn, and relate concepts to their future."
 
Source: Aliza Robison Sociology and Anthropology Instructor, Lansing Communitiy College
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 
 

East Lansing earns perfect score on municipal equality for LGBT people

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation in partnership with the Equality Federation Institute has awarded the city of East Lansing a perfect score of 100 points in its 2016 Municipal Equality Quality Index (MEI).
 
The MEI examines how inclusive the municipal laws, policies and services of a city are to the LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership's public position on quality.
 
Local LGBTQ activist William Sawyer-Todd says the perfect score is a marker that other cities haven't achieved. He points out that in 1972, East Lansing became the first municipality in the nation to ban discrimination against sexual orientation. And in 2013, the city became the second municipality in the state to offer formal recognition to LGBT couples through a domestic partnership registry.
 
"East Lansing is a leader and has been for decades," says Sawyer-Todd, the former chair of the East Lansing Human Relations Commission. "In the last three or four years, we've been working really hard to improve all our equality issues for LGBT people in our area. We still have a long way to go with improving the general understanding of LGBT people, so we don't want to rest on our laurels."
 
The MEI assesses LGBTQ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including 11 cities in Michigan. This year, four of the 11 Michigan cities have been dubbed "All-Star Cities," including East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit, each with a score of 100; and Ferndale, with a score of 94. The average score for Michigan cities is 69—which is 11 points above the national average of 55.
 
"East Lansing has a long history of being a community that has prided itself on its diversity and inclusivity of all people,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows. "We are extremely honored to be recognized as an ‘All-Star City’ by the HRC Foundation and we plan to continue to uphold the services, laws, programs and practices that helped us to achieve a perfect MEI score this year.”
 
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. For the full MEI report—including detailed scorecards and a searchable database—click here.  To view East Lansing's scorecard, click here.
 
Source: Mikell Frey, Communications Coordinator, City of East Lansing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

MSU and MNA team up to offer scholarship for nonprofit professionals

Nonprofit professionals looking to hone their business acumen may find the financial resources they need through a new scholarship created by Michigan State University's Broad College of Business Executive MBA program and the Michigan Nonprofit Association.
 
The scholarship responds to a growing need to develop the next generation of leaders in the nonprofit sector and is open to students applying to Broad's EMBA program. The next cohort begins the summer of 2017.
 
Two scholarships will be awarded based on the candidate's credentials, commitment to making an impact in the nonprofit sector, and a desire to grow personally and professionally.
 
“The Broad Executive MBA has a long-standing tradition of creating world-changing leaders,” said Sanjay Gupta, the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean of the Broad College of Business at MSU. “We also understand the tremendous need to increase the volume of business-thinkers in the nonprofit sector, and this scholarship supports our commitment to develop leaders who will make an impact on causes and communities across the state and country.”
 
In addition to the tuition scholarship, Broad's EMBA program will waive application fees for applicants working for MNA member organizations statewide. The scholarship is available to candidates attending any of Broad's EMBA campuses.
 
“One of MNA’s highest priorities is to assist nonprofit organizations in creating an environment that attracts talented and educated people who are passionate about their mission,” said MNA President and CEO Donna Murray-Brown “This scholarship is a great opportunity for two individuals to receive a world-class education and develop into future leaders who will play a critical role in improving the communities that nonprofits serve.”
 
Applications to the Broad Executive MBA Nonprofit scholarship are due to the Executive MBA office by Feb. 1, 2017. Scholarship winners will be notified in March. For more information, click here.
 
Source: Caroline Brooks, Communications Specialist, MSU Broad College of Business
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

New K9 FitClub encourages health and wellness at both ends of the leash

Now there's a way both you and your dog can get off the couch and get moving.
 
New to Lansing since July 2016, the K9 FitClub integrates human and canine fitness, and claims to be the only business that addresses health and wellness at both ends of the leash.
 
Local club coordinator Rachel Loucks understands the strength and motivational aspects of the human-animal bond, as well as the benefits of fitness. Since childhood, the 30-something has worked side-by-side with her mother, a veterinarian in Holt who specialized in dog training. Growing up, Loucks also dreamed of being an Olympian, having been a three-sport athlete and equestrian.
 
But then, in 2010, Loucks incurred a traumatic brain injury after falling off her horse. She recovered, and went on to earn her master's and land a full-time job. But in 2015, an auto accident caused her brain injury to flare, triggered posttraumatic stress, and left her permanently disabled.
 
"I've never been one for boxes," says Loucks. "I don't like being told I can't do things, and it's been really hard for me to accept. Every day since my accident I have been searching for what I can do."
 
So when Loucks saw an opportunity to become a certified K9 FitClub master trainer, she jumped on it. She had seen how the franchise had worked with another person experiencing traumatic brain injury, and knew it was something she could do based on her background with animals.
 
"Through my trauma, I found my life purpose: to help trauma survivors of any kind heal and thrive," she says. "That is why 100 percent of K9 FitClub Lansing's profits go toward providing trauma survivors with service dogs or access to animal therapy."
 
With emphasis on fitness for all levels, K9 Fit Club Lansing offers specially designed programs for seniors and people with certain disabilities to promote physical and mental well-being. Group and private classes are held at the two Doggy Day Care and Spa locations in Okemos and Lansing. 
 
"Even if you are struggling to do a jumping jack or a reverse lunge, your dog is right there with you, wagging its tail and being its happy-go-lucky dog self," says Loucks. "The dogs in class provide comedic relief, making it impossible to take it too seriously. And we all know that laughter is the best medicine."
 
Source: Rachael Loucks, Certified K9 Fit Club Master Trainer and Licensee, K9 FitClub
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Cinnaire awarded $6.5 million in grants to help low-income families in distressed communities

A community development finance organization headquartered in Lansing was awarded two grants totaling $6.5 million through the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) to support community stabilization and economic development.
 
In late September, Cinnaire received $5.5 million through the CDFI Fund Capital Magnet Fund program. Cinnaire was among 32 organizations selected from 125 organizations to share $91.5 million in grants. The CMF supports financing for the preservation, rehabilitation, development or purchase of affordable housing for low-income communities, as well as related economic and community service facilities such as day care centers, workforce development centers, and health care clinics.
 
Cinnaire will be among grant recipients nationwide that will develop 17,000 affordable housing units, including more than 15,000 rental units and nearly 2,000 homeownership units. The award recipients will serve 38 states, including the District of Columbia.
 
Cinnaire also received an additional $1 million in grant funding through the CDFI Fund's Financial Assistance (FA) and Technical Assistance (TA) programs. The grant funding is designed to increase funding and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities. Cinnaire was among 158 organizations chosen from a pool of 457 applicants to receive the award.
 
"It is an honor to have received these two grants. This degree of trust validates our organization's dedication to grow and positively impact more communities," says Mark McDaniel, president and CEO of Cinnaire. "Our team works tirelessly for the communities we serve and this funding helps us further impact economically distressed areas."
 
Cinnaire is a full-service financial partner that supports community and economic development initiatives through creative loans, investments, and best-in-class services. The company matches community investment opportunities with community-focused investors and serves multiple communities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Delaware.
 
Source: Katey Forth, President of Lending, Cinnaire
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Delta Dental Foundation prompts kids and teachers to join Water's Cool at School program

The Delta Dental Foundation will distribute a total of $100,000 to schools in Michigan that are selected for the foundation's Rethink Your Drink: Water's Cool at School program.
 
The new program wants to ensure that children drink enough water during the school day and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Schools can apply to the Delta Dental Foundation, and if selected, will have one or more of their older drinking fountains replaced with Elkay water fountain/bottle filling stations. The foundation will also supply reusable water bottles for all students and staff and up to $750 for the school to design and implement their own campaign.
 
Okemos Public Montessori at Central was the first school in the state to pilot the new program. In the first month of the academic year, the school saw an uptick of water consumption by students, and calculated that about 2,200 empty water bottles were saved from going into a landfill.
 
"In addition to being healthy and having a bright shiny smile, kids find it appealing to have their own water bottle throughout the day, and not have to spend their money on sugary drinks," says Teri Battaglieri, Delta Dental Foundation director. "Kids can also be directly involved in a campaign for their school, which makes the buy-in better, too."
 
Battaglieri reports that more than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day. That, she says, can affect cognitive functions and energy levels. She added that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages instead of water can lead to tooth decay, obesity and other adverse health effects.
 
"Tooth decay is the number one most chronic disease in kids, and is five times more common than asthma," Battaglieri says. "Kids miss 51 million hours a year from school due to oral health."
 
Michigan schools interested in applying to the "Rethink Your Drink Campaign" should submit their application to the Delta Dental Foundation by Dec. 1, 2016. For an application and more information, click here.
 
Source: Teri Battaglieri, Director, Communications, Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy, Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

East Lansing library reopens after extensive renovations

A remodeled, community-minded and savvy East Lansing Public Library was unveiled to the community after nearly a year of renovations on Oct. 1.
 
The capital improvements that helped transform the mid-century modern building into a community resource and technology hub for 21st century patrons was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous donor.
 
"We would like to, once again, thank our donor for the wonderful gift he has given to the library and the community," says ELPL Director Kristin Shelley. "We would also like to thank our patrons for bearing with us during the renovations and the intermittent closures of the library over the past 10 months."
 
The remodeled public library at 950 Abbot Road features a more open floor plan, a centralized service desk, a cyber café with vending machines, more community gathering space, group and quiet study rooms, a larger Friends of the Library bookstore, mobile printing abilities, and more powerful Wi-Fi throughout the building. An 11,000-square foot Maker Studio adds to the wow factor with 3D printers, 3D scanners, sewing machines, Arduino lab, podcasting equipment, a sound proof room, Legos and more. Eye-catching spaces for children and teens feature upgraded and expanded early childhood literacy areas and furnished activity and study areas for tweens and teens—replete with electronic learning devices.
 
Additional enhancements include a dedicated mother's room for nursing, an inclusive/family bathroom, and more outdoor seating. A fire suppression system, roof repair and replacement, piping, and increased data ports, electric outlets and enhanced technology were among facility upgrades.
 
Shelley says the project came in on time and within the $1.7 million budget comprised of the original gift plus grants and donations. The library enlisted local architect C2AE for the renovation, as well as Holt-based Laux Construction as contractor. Library Design Associates coordinated moving library collections throughout the process, installed shelving and placed furniture.
 
The 26,800-square foot, mid-century modern building was built in 1963, and underwent a renovation and small expansion in 1996-1997.
 
"Our goal was to open up the floor plan, add light and color, and make it a true hub for our community," says Shelley. "People today look to libraries as a gathering place and not a book warehouse. We invite everyone to come see your library."
 
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Source: Kristin Shelley, Director, East Lansing Public Library
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Dewpoint marks 20 years with gift to ITEC 2020 Girls program

A Lansing-based information technology solutions provider is celebrating 20 years in business by paying it forward to another locally-based organization that helps prepare K-12 students for 21st century jobs.
 
In early September, Dewpoint gifted $10,000 to the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC)—a Lansing nonprofit that works with Michigan students to build excitement for coursework and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The donation represents a new partnership between Dewpoint and ITEC to support and expand ITEC's 2020 Girls Program.
 
The 2020 Girls program helps prepare girls for successful futures in the global economy, and is something that peaks Dewpoint's interest. The program helps Lansing-area females ages 9-13 explore studies and careers in the STEM fields. Girls enroll in robotics, game design and programming courses to learn new concepts, hone existing skills, and put their theoretical knowledge into immediate practice.
 
"Supporting ITEC fulfills our mission of bringing talented individuals into the IT market," says Michelle Massey, a vice president at Dewpoint. "We do that by helping to educate students early on."
 
Massey says that strengthening their connection with ITEC is a way to support the Lansing economy and build a pipeline of students and employees. Dewpoint's gift to ITEC will also focus on developing self-confidence in girls, as well as relationship building with mentors who work in technology.
 
"Being a female myself in the IT industry, we don't see a lot of girls engaged as far as technology goes," she reflects. "There aren't a lot of women who are visible in IT, and statistically, we start losing girls between the ages of 9 and 13. This is a perfect way for Dewpoint to engage with girls and help break down those barriers."
 
Dewpoint is headquartered in the Knapp's Centre downtown, and was founded in 1996 in Lansing by eight entrepreneurs who started a services and hardware reseller company. As hardware became more commoditized and the IT industry evolved, Dewpoint expanded its footprint into managed services, application development, IT assessments, and security and data center operations.
 
Dewpoint has hired 60 people since January 1, employs 240 people, and has 52 job openings.

Source: Michelle Massey, VP, Dewpoint
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
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