Stories from the Midland Area Community Foundation

Crowdfunding campaign launched for The Downtown Midland Transformation

October 18th, 2017

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

Downtown Midland will soon become a pedestrian friendly and welcoming walkable community promenade. The project began with a $7 million gift from local family foundations, and will be completed through a crowdfunding campaign, announced today by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF). The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by December 1st, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. In addition, the Midland Area Community Foundation is matching donations 2:1, up to $100,000. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“These types of people first transformations are the key to economic development within our nation’s downtowns,” said MEDC Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “The Public Spaces, Community Places program is pleased to resource and partner this effort.”

Funding raised during this campaign will complete the revitalization efforts within downtown Midland. This campaign will add stone fire pits, flexible seating, chess/checker tables, and other amenities to the walkable streetscape. The changes encourage commerce and quality time spent in the area, with widened sidewalks, festival-friendly streets, and large gathering spaces. These kinds of investments attract quality businesses, encourage feet in the streets and include pedestrian-friendly designs to enhance the existing downtown.

“When you look at what makes a vibrant community, downtowns come up again and again,” said Sharon Mortensen, MACF President & CEO. “These amenities can create a sense of community, a sense of place. Community members and visitors can come sit around a fireplace or enjoy a game of chess while visiting downtown Midland. It’s a simple way to create quality spaces where people want to gather and spend time.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

“Communities with inviting, active downtown amenities are in a great position to draw in residents, visitors and businesses,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “Midland will certainly create that kind of atmosphere with its downtown transformation.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of June 15, 2017, MEDC has provided $3,766,500 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 125 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $4.5 million raised from 19,988 individual donors.