Stories from the Midland Area Community Foundation

Midland Area Community Foundation Grants Over $280,000 in First Quarter

March 27th, 2024

The Midland Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved nine grants, including one Midland Area Youth Action Council grant. Total first quarter grantmaking was $282,000. Youth Action Council grantmaking accounted for $10,000, and Community Investment grantmaking accounted for $272,000. Community Investment grants come from funds supporting the Midland area’s charitable, cultural, educational, recreational, and scientific needs in alignment with the Community Foundation’s purpose.

The Community Foundation’s first quarter grants range from $5,000 to $60,000, each focusing on one of four significant areas of community improvement: (1) building our livelihood, (2) developing our talent, (3) caring for our people, and (4) enriching our community. Through their grant applications, community partners shared how the Community Foundation’s investment would allow them to scale their impact in one or more of these areas.

“The Community Foundation is a trusted steward of funds. We are pleased to make investments to serve our community through the important work of these organizations,” said Sharon Mortensen, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation.

First-quarter grants for 2024 include:

  • Midland County Educational Service Agency – $60,000

The purpose of this submission is to meet the requests of Midland County school districts for continued RISE (Resiliency in Student and Educators) services. RISE is a service model that comes alongside schools in their efforts to become a trauma-informed system. Midland County school districts, as a collective, will utilize RISE across the districts to deepen current work, expand the unified framework, and increase common language around adversity and resilience through the process of training every Midland County elementary teacher and ensuring every district has a plan to achieve system sustainability.


  • Phoenix Community Farm – $60,000

Phoenix Community Farm hopes to enhance its current Adopt-a-Row program to increase accessibility and become more inclusive of gardeners with mobility challenges. The Farm’s in-ground rows have had a few issues with water and weeds. The raised bed structures and watering enhancements will allow families to be more successful with their gardens and increase accessibility while also consolidating the space used to allow more area for farm production for distribution. Phoenix Community Farm is also requesting operational program support.


  • The Friction Theater – $30,000

The Friction Theatre applied for this grant to help offset production costs. Its highest costs are spent on renting the necessary equipment to produce events. This grant would allow the Theatre to purchase lighting and sound equipment that could be used for many years to come and drastically reduce the production cost of each show.


  • The Legacy Center for Community Success – $50,000

The Legacy Center is requesting funding to support its existing adult literacy program and help expand its capacity to offer tutoring for both adult basic education and English as a second language. Funding will help maintain the strength of current programs and increase staffing to better meet the needs of the growing number of adults seeking tutoring.

“We are overwhelmed by the support of the Midland Area Community Foundation. Thanks to this grant, we have already been empowered to grow our team and begin meeting the needs of adults with the greatest educational needs. Our expanded staff team have begun tutoring more learners on the long waitlist, recruiting more tutors, and designing new programs to meet the specific needs of potential adult basic education learners in our community. With this funding, we will be able to reach many more people and offer meaningful programs to help them reach their unique educational goals,” said Kathryn Tate from the Legacy Center for Community Success.


  • Midland County Health Department – $25,000

Vaccines are a leading public health measure to prevent serious illness, disability, and death, second only to sanitation and clean drinking water. This project will protect uninsured/underinsured individuals who may not otherwise be immunized because of their inability to pay for the immunization/s. In addition to individual protection, vaccines protect the public by contributing to community immunity, reducing the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases, and supporting health equity.


  • Juvenile Justice Center (County of Midland) – $20,000

This request is for the addition of professional learning and coaching services to equip leadership with the capacity to realize the neurological, emotional, and behavioral effects of adversity and the influence it has on the dynamics between our at-risk youth and the County’s staff; to recognize the signs and symptoms in self, staff, youth; to respond with fully integrated resilience-based practices and procedures of attunement, attachment, and safety to resist re-traumatization so rehabilitation can occur within the domains of social and emotional safety.


  • Creative 360 – $15,000

Creative 360 requested funds from the Access to Recreation Endowment Fund to purchase and install an adjustable lift adult changing table. This table will be installed in either the current Women’s Accessible restroom in the newer annex of the building at 5501 Jefferson Ave or in the accessible bathroom in the former preschool room. The final location will depend on cost and codes.


  • Saginaw Valley State University – $12,000

Public Art Passport will be a regional public art campaign and festival to drive tourists locally and from Michigan to the City of Midland and Midland County to experience public art. Public art plays a transformational and crucial role in enhancing communities, and Public Art Passport will further enrich opportunities for Midland County residents and tourists.

“Public art has been a key tool in promoting sustainable tourism, attracting visitors, and promoting local businesses. It can also transform an area into a more vibrant and inclusive community,” said Megan McAdow, Director of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.


  • Adoption Option, Inc. – $10,000 (Youth Action Council Grant)

Adoption Option Inc. (AOICWO) provides services to youth and young adults ages 14-23 who are – or have been in the foster care system through its Youth In Transition (YIT) mentoring program. AOICWO requested funds to expand its program to make this resource available to any Midland County youth who have not been in foster care and transform the program by adding a life skills course. The Youth in Transition Life Skills Course is a 16-week course geared toward these youth.

“The life skills that are being taught are also being practiced and thus benefiting the community through involvement and partnerships between Adoption Option Inc, Midland County youth, local resources, and local businesses. This course brings the community together to benefit our youth and teach our next generations the skills needed to be successful adults,” said Stephanie Meyering, Family Preservation Program Manager for Adoption Option, Inc.

Competitive grants are offered quarterly. Grants are open to all 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, and government entities in Midland County. To inquire about donating, establishing a fund, or applying for a grant, contact the Community Foundation at (989) 839-9661 or