GHACF awards $250K in grants to 5 groups

As people age, health issues can have a significant impact on communication abilities, creating a new set of challenges for seniors who want to continue to have their independence. 

Mediation Services for “Pathway to Peace” is focused on helping Grand Haven area seniors maintain and care for important relationships while navigating changes in their abilities and circumstances in areas of focus such as health care, housing, finance, transportation, and many others.

The four-year pilot program will involve a partnership with Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging in Grand Haven to deliver services. The program’s goals are to educate seniors on preventative conflict and healthy communication skills, offer one-on-one confidential coaching between trained mediators and seniors, and provide seniors with dispute resolution services.

Mediation, healthy communication skills

A $63,796 grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF) will provide mediation services and healthy communication skills training for adults 50 and older.

“Mediation Services is grateful to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation for supporting our Pathway to Peace program,” says Elizabeth Scott, executive director at Mediation Services. “Older adults are a vibrant part of the Northwest Ottawa County population. This grant allows us to help seniors better understand how to resolve conflicts and to teach them ways to move forward and bring more peace into their lives.”

It’s one of five projects that is receiving grant funding from the GHACF Board of Trustees, recently awarded as part of the third round of Community Impact grants totaling $253,796 in support of programs across Northwest Ottawa County.

This year's grants were awarded to support survivors of sexual violence, food accessibility, business sustainability, and senior mental health. 

Mental health and well-being initiatives continue to be a priority of the foundation, says Holly Cole, GHACF vice president of grants and program. 

Grant recipients

Additional Community Impact grants include:

Every Woman’s Place (EWP) — SANE Unit ($20,000 over three years)
EWP will utilize the three-year grant to create and operate an on-site Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Unit. Currently, Muskegon County survivors of sexual violence are required to have an exam conducted at an emergency room. The SANE Unit is designed to address and meet the needs of survivors, humanize post-trauma care, and provide emotional and mental support in addition to the physical exam.

Feeding America West Michigan (FAWM) — Nourish Tomorrow advancement campaign ($50,000)
FAWM’s Nourish Tomorrow advancement campaign will increase capacity for food and nutrition acquisition services, distribution services, and educational programming through the renovation of a recently acquired 120,600-square-foot warehouse. FAWM serves all of West Michigan, as well as the Upper Peninsula, specifically serving as the food and nutrition security providers within Northwest Ottawa County.

Love In Action (LIA) — Community Co-Op ($70,000)
LIA’s Community Co-Op is a membership-based cooperative that provides access to food and nutrition support for families in West Michigan’s asset-limited, income-constrained, employed (ALICE) population. The ALICE population represents those who are working, yet still struggling to make ends meet. LIA’s Community Co-Op membership will be accessible via an income-based monetary fee, volunteer hours, or participation in educational programs. The project will require renovating a 7,000-square-foot space to create a market-style food selection space, food packaging rooms, learning kitchens, classrooms, and more.

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF) — Advancing a Circular Economy and Sustainable Business in West Michigan ($50,000)
WMSBF’s Advancing a Circular Economy and Sustainable Business in West Michigan program will encourage the development of local, regional, and state sustainability initiatives. Key priorities include the development and growth of the Lakeshore Sustainability Forum, food waste reduction, green stormwater infrastructure, and sustainability planning. Additional funding for this program is provided by Renew Michigan Fund, The Wege Foundation, a Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) 319 Grant, the Environmental Defense Fund, the RE-AMP Network, and various corporations.

Grant application deadline

The pre-application for the next grant deadline has already passed. Preliminary applications for the first grant round of 2023 are due Nov. 17, and the grant deadline is Dec. 28.

GHACF is regularly recognized as a top 100 community foundation in the nation and is the eighth-largest community foundation in Michigan. It encourages philanthropy by individuals, families, corporations, and organizations and serves as a steward of their charitable funds and legacies. 

In addition to awarding grants, GHACF offers technical support to nonprofits, convenes community leaders on issues of importance, and advocates for the nonprofit sector. 

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.