GHACF awards largest amount of Community Impact grants ever

The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF) recently awarded 11 Community Impact Grants totaling $928,538, including one of its largest grants to date. In all, GHACF awarded over $1.7 million in Community Impact Grants in 2023.
Through these grants, GHACF invests in community programs that improve and advance the Northwest Ottawa County area. Preliminary applications for 2024’s second grant round are due Feb. 7 at

This quarter’s awards include a $425,000 grant to Tri-Cities Family YMCA for its capital improvement project. This, combined with an earlier campaign starting gift of $75,000. results in a total of $500,000 – the largest grant in the foundation’s history. The YMCA was the recipient of one of GHACF’s first-ever grants in 1972
“The Tri-Cities Family YMCA has been one of our longest partnerships in the community and was one of five organizations that each received a $200 grant in the GHACF’s first grant round,”  says Hadley Streng, GHACF president.” We have partnered together on many initiatives and have witnessed their growth and broad community support over the years. We are honored to be part of their current capital improvement project and look forward to what this will offer our community,”
YMCA improvements include facility, childcare

The Tri-Cities Family YMCA’s capital improvement project will expand its early childhood education program; update its facility to improve access for all; enhance its health and wellness programs; and complete repairs to its infrastructure. The YMCA serves about 10,000 people annually.

"We are thrilled to have the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation continue as a partner as we steward the YMCA for the next generation,” says Greg Coil, CEO of the Tri-Cities Family YMCA. “They were with us in the beginning and have provided crucial support throughout our history. Their commitment as a community partner is unwavering, and for that we are grateful," says Greg Coil, Tri-Cities Family YMCA CEO. 
With twice as many children ages 5 and younger as available childcare spots in Ottawa County, the Tri-Cities Family YMCA plans to expand childcare and preschool capacity by 40% and provide second-shift care. Other improvements are designed to provide more access to older adults and individuals with limited mobility, as well as energy efficiency.
The foundation is also awarding grants to the following organizations:

Community Foundation for Muskegon County: FARM support — $25,000
The manager of the food processing incubator Food, Agriculture, Research, and Manufacturing (FARM) will provide technical assistance and expansion support for small businesses, industry, and entrepreneurs, as well as educational opportunities for students exploring careers in agriculture and STEM.
Community Foundation for Muskegon County: Support for the Muskegon Community College Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) — $30,000
This grant will support the expansion of DEI programming to leaders, educators, residents, and students in Ottawa County. The programming will leverage best practices and resources to promote a culture of inclusion.
GHACF TCAN: Operations and pilot launch — $164,856/three years
This grant will support the Tri-Cities College Access Network’s (TCAN) efforts to foster a post-secondary education culture within northwest Ottawa County school systems and launch a new pilot program, Pyramid Practices, within the Preschool Roundtable network.
Greater Ottawa County United Way: Lakeshore Housing Alliance – $15,000
The Lakeshore Housing Alliance (LHA) is dedicated to identifying needs, developing coordinated strategies, and advocating for safe, accessible, affordable housing in Ottawa County. This grant will support the positions of LHA coordinator and homeless management information system administrator to continue serving over 1,500 individuals annually.  
Hand2Hand: Match grant to purchase a refrigerated box truck — $50,000
Hand2Hand delivers nutritious food to students over the weekends and on extended school breaks, serving more than 10,000 students ages 3-18 across West Michigan. This truck will help it serve more than 12,000 additional students. According to the 2021 Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey, only one in four teens eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables on an average day. This program will deliver healthier food options to area youth, including fresh produce.
Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes: Dedicated support and for youth education — $40,000/two years
This grant will support a new, permanent education staff position focused on the Lakeshore area to deliver K-12 learning experiences to its youth. Junior Achievement’s programs connect students to business professionals in their community to learn about different paths to success. Programs are provided to schools at no charge and are designed to suit each grade level.
Muskegon YMCA: Pendalouan 100-year anniversary campaign — $50,000
Camp Pendalouan has a 100-year history.  This grant will help it reinvest in infrastructure, making its facility and programming more inclusive and accessible. Camp Pendalouan serves 4,500 people annually through its summer overnight camps, day camps, family programs, and outdoor education, including more than 1,000 local students.

Opportunity Thrive: Educator wellness coaching program — $45,000
Opportunity Thrive works to improve educator wellbeing through assessments, one-on-one coaching, and improving staff culture. This grant will support its educator wellness coaching program within northwest Ottawa County schools, which helps increase teacher retention by 24% and teacher wellbeing scores by 8.3%. 
Grand Haven Township: Soccer goals for Schmidt Heritage Park — $33,682
This grant will provide 10 new portable goals to support the continued development of Schmidt Heritage Park’s six soccer fields. 
Women's Resource Center: New Beginnings for justice-involved women — $50,000
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC)’s programs address the systemic and structural inequities faced by women of color and women with criminal histories. The grant supports the launch of the New Beginnings program in Ottawa County. This program results in 78% of the women securing meaningful employment and returning to their community after incarceration. Participant recidivism is projected to be 25% or less, compared to 44% nationally.
Over the past half-century, GHACF has been recognized as a national top 100 community foundation and one of the largest in Michigan. It encourages philanthropy by individuals, families, corporations, and organizations, and it serves as a steward of their charitable funds and legacies. In addition to awarding grants, GHACF offers technical support to for-impact organizations, convenes community leaders on issues of importance, and advocates for the for-impact sector. 
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.