Michigan small towns invited to apply for contest awarding $50K to community development projects

What’s happening: It’s that time of year again. The Consumers Energy Foundation has put out the call for Michigan’s small towns to apply for the annual Put Your Town on the Map pitch competition, an opportunity for communities with up to 10,000 residents, and are located within the Consumers Energy service footprint, to pitch their community and economic development projects in hopes of sharing in $50,000 worth of grants from the Foundation.

What it is: The Consumers Energy Foundation launched the Put Your Town on the Map pitch competition in 2019. The contest rewards Michigan small towns for their innovative community development projects, awarding each year’s top three winners with $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively. Winning projects work to attract visitors to communities’ downtowns; advance housing, education, or employment initiatives; cultivate community pride; and more.

Why it’s important: “For many of Michigan’s small communities, funding for one big project can make the difference for years of business attraction, economic development, and population growth,” says Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Consumers Energy Foundation is proud to sponsor this competition to help enable creative ideas from passionate community members to give new life to small towns across the state.”

How it works: Communities within the Consumers Energy service footprint and with up to 10,000 residents can submit their applications through Thursday, Feb. 15, via an online application portal. The Foundation will work with partners at the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) to select 10 finalists, who will then enter a pitch competition at the Small Town and Rural Development Conference this June.

Click HERE to apply today.

Past winners: For an idea of what projects have won in the past, we turn to the most recent contest in 2023. In that competition, Fennville took home the grand prize on the strength of their plans to install bilingual community wayfinding signs; Reed City was awarded second place for their Crossroads Recreation Connection project; and Harbor Beach won third place for their initiative to expand community gardening.

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