Stories from the Midland Area Community Foundation

Fourth Quarter Grantmaking 2023

December 21st, 2023

The Midland Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved ten grants, including three Midland Area Youth Action Council grants. Total fourth quarter grantmaking was $407,500. Youth Action Council grantmaking accounted for $25,000, and Community Investment grantmaking accounted for $382,500. 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 third quarter grants range from $5,000 to $85,000, 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.

“For over fifty years, Your Foundation has been making an impact through grantmaking,” said Sharon Mortensen, President and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation. “We are excited to invest in these projects to continue building a community where all can thrive.”

Fourth-quarter grants for 2023 include:

  • Chippewa Nature Center – $85,000

Chippewa Nature Center (CNC) is planning to build a new Nature Education Center designed to serve as the home for Nature Day Camp, two preschool classrooms, and school programs. These programs continue to have a profound impact on youth and their families, with lengthy waitlists annually. This new building will play a critical role in how CNC grows its service to the community with increased access to nature into the future.

“We are thrilled to build a new home for Chippewa Nature Center’s most impactful youth programs – Nature Day Camp, Nature Preschool, and school programs – and help those youth develop lifelong, meaningful relationships with the natural world. Thanks to the generosity of the Midland Area Community Foundation and other supporters, we will be able to expand the capacity of these programs and connect even more people to nature for years to come.” – Dennis Pilaske, CNC’s Executive Director

  • Self Love Beauty – $42,500

The Self Love Beauty (SLB) Expansion Project builds community through personal empowerment. In line with SLB’s strategic plan, they aim to directly benefit thousands by enhancing their knowledge and equipping them with tools to boost confidence, self-improvement, and overall well-being. This involves an evolution into a more diverse and sustainable nonprofit, offering new and enhanced services through a leadership and empowerment training program, along with a digital platform for the Midland County community.

  • Midland County Habitat for Humanity – $85,000

Midland County Habitat for Humanity (MCHFH) is expanding its owner-occupied home repair program, adding Aging in Place and Housing Plus. Through Aging in Place, MCHFH will partner with families and local organizations to offer products and services that foster safe, livable homes, improving the quality of life for older adults. Housing Plus will include two different assessments of the homes to make sure MCHFH understands each homeowner’s needs.

  • Hidden Harvest – $85,000

The Hunger Solution Center is home to Hidden Harvest and East Side Soup Kitchen. For nearly twenty years, both organizations have grown in their efforts to reduce food insecurity in the Great Lakes Bay Region. In 2004, Hidden Harvest distributed 121,475 lbs. of food in Midland Co. By 2023, our efforts have grown to 569,619 lbs. of food – an increase of 369%. It is time for the building to grow as well. Hidden Harvest is requesting support for the portion of the expansion project impacting Midland County.

  • United Way of Midland County – $85,000

United Way requests $100,000 to purchase necessary equipment for two ReGrow TogetherSM partners – the Arnold Center Good Kitchen and Windover High School Culinary Arts Program, to enhance their culinary workforce programs and increase their capacity to produce healthy meals using rescued food to be distributed to food insecure individuals and families through nonprofit hubs around Midland County.

“Access to healthy food is one of the issue areas that we focus on at United Way. According to Feeding America, over 34 million people in the US are food insecure, including 9 million children. Locally that includes 9,000 people (11%) and almost 2,500 children (13%) that are classified as food insecure. Additionally, 30-40% of our food supply goes to waste each year, largely because we lack the systems to transform healthy ingredients into meals. The need for a solution is urgent, and that’s why we’re investing in ReGrow TogetherSM.

We are grateful for the Impact Grant from the Midland Area Community Foundation for many reasons, but mostly because it will allow us to elevate and expand our meal production at our two culinary partners, Arnold Center and Windover High School, which in turn ensures that more healthy meals are reaching our neighbors.” -Holly Miller, President & CEO of United Way of Midland County

  • Equal Access to Training – $10,000 (Youth Action Council Grant)

This program is a series of athletic training camps where coaches train at the Greater North Midland Community Center in conjunction with the Coleman Family Center. These coaches will focus on teaching the youth the importance of physical conditioning and how to train for elite athleticism. Kids will learn how to get stronger using their own body weight. There will be different stations in the gym where each participant will spend up to 15 minutes learning a certain exercise.

“E.A.T. is excited that we will be able to help level the playing field for student-athletes in northern Midland County that have limited resources but a large appetite for success!” – Dell Johnson, Equal Access to Training

  • Midland Community Orchestra – $10,000 (Youth Action Council Grant)

The Midland Community Orchestra will sponsor a Midland County-wide youth orchestra to positively impact youth with a free orchestra program for students (grades 6-8). There are orchestras in Midland Public School high schools, some younger students, and certain private schools, but there are no orchestras for students in schools outside Midland. This is Phase 1 of a proposal to expand MCO outreach to underserved communities and increase the diversity of composers of music that MCO presents.

“The Midland Community Orchestra is thrilled to receive a Midland Community Investment Grant!  This grant will help support the formation of a Youth Orchestra for students grades 6-8 in Midland County.  This free program will be open to all Midland County students, enabling youth to participate in an orchestra even if an orchestra program is not offered in their schools, or if they are home-schooled.  The Youth Orchestra will be conducted by Gina Provenzano, the Conductor/Artistic Director of the Midland Community Orchestra.  They will perform three free concerts in each orchestra season, either side-by-side with the Midland Community Orchestra or in stand-alone performances.  The Youth Orchestra will positively impact youth by growing their musical and creative skills, providing positive interactions with peers and adult role models and by promoting a life-long enjoyment of the musical arts.  Thank you to the Midland Area Community Foundation for supporting this initiative!” – Carol Mohler, Midland Community Orchestra

  • City of Midland, MI – Parks & Recreation Department – $5,000 (Youth Action Council Grant)

Plymouth Pool needs enhanced lifesaving equipment for both the training of staff and the rescuing of patrons. These items include new wooden backboards, youth and adult bag valve masks, a water rescue manikin, and an American Red Cross Starter kit for Basic Life Support, Certified Professional Rescuer, and Lifeguarding. This lifeguarding equipment will help improve the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of staff and will ultimately improve the morale of the guarding team.

“The grant we received from the Midland Area Youth Action Council will allow us to purchase lifesaving and training equipment for Plymouth Pool. With the addition of this new equipment, we will have the tools necessary to begin offering Lifeguarding classes to our staff and to the community. Furthermore, we will be able to host advanced trainings to our staff to assist them in continuing to hone their safety skills while on deck at Plymouth Pool.” – Marcie Post, Assistant Director of Public Services for the City of Midland’s Parks and Recreation Department

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