We are excited to announce the grant recipients from the 2021 Community Good Grant Cycle. There was a total of $31,757.26 in funding to support program investments for our community! The funding was made possible by our Forever Fund, The Early Childhood Investment Fund, The Irv & Kathy Harris Memorial Fund, The Faith Based Initiative Fund, the Colon Foundation Fund, and the Emergency Relief Fund with our partnership with Branch County United Way. Learn more about the recipients below!
Starr Commonwealth’s flagship Resilient Schools Project is an evidence-informed and comprehensive systems approach to establishing a culture of resilience and trauma informed practices in K-12 school buildings and districts nationwide. The goal is to equip school professionals with knowledge, training, and support to foster resilience in children. In early 2020, Starr Commonwealth implemented phase 1 and 2 of the Resilient Schools Project with Union City Schools. The requested grant funding would help fund the cost of phase 3 of the training, which will be implemented in the 2021-2022 school year.
Lakeland Readers are Leaders
Lakeland Readers are Leaders is designed to give the “book pick” choice to the student. Every month, students pick a high interest, good fit book of their choice from a wide selection of books in a “book fair” style. This book will be theirs to keep and put in their home library. They work hard to make sure there is a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books that cover a large range of reading levels. One of the first steps to grow student literacy is to get a book in their hands that peaks their interest. All the books are grade level appropriate.
Grant funds will be used to expand, market, and provide Safe Zone trainings throughout Branch County. A Safe Zone workshop includes presentation of information, individual reflective activities, group activities, and discussions with plenty of opportunities for questions and answers. Marketing Emphasis will be on organizations providing direct services to youth such as schools, mental health professionals, law enforcement agencies, homeless services, and more. The long-term goal is to provide training to staff at all local agencies and organizations, starting with Community Leaders who would then schedule trainings for staff. Branch Pride and CAPA Council of Branch County have collaborated and partnered for this project, sharing equal parts in program development, marketing, evaluating, revenue and all other administrative responsibilities.
Branch County Juvenile Court
The Day Treatment Arts Enrichment Project would fund the purchase of musical instruments and art supplies for use by the youth in the Dy Treatment Program. Currently, Day Treatment youth are not exposed to music and art classes that might be available to them if they attended public school, and most do not have the opportunity to experience art or music lessons privately. Youth will gain an appreciation for the arts, develop and train any natural talent or interest, and possibly discover healthy hobbies that they will enjoy for years to come. Since 2015, the Day Treatment Program has served 37 youth.
Coach Eby Youth & Family Center
Coach Eby is raising funds to restore their gymnasium by restoring and repairing the floor, adding a new coat of paint to the ceiling and stage, an additional basketball hoop, updates to the storage and stage area, and additional baffling to improve our sound quality.
Community Good Grant funds will specifically be used to repair and restore the gym floor to continue to allow programming, events, and rentals that put wear and tear on the gymnasium floor. Coach Eby believes it will benefit the community and also other nonprofits who hold multiple events in the gym thought the year, including some BCCADSV events, Tibbits rehearsals, girl scouts’ meetings, and community collaborative network meetings.
Branch District Library
Funds will be used to purchase Playaway Launchpads that will be available for checkout at all 6 BDL branches. BDL plans to purchase 50 launchpads ($150 each) and 50 cases ($12.99) for a total of $8149.50. They have two other grants ($1000 each) to go with the Community Good grant, should they be awarded it. The Library would pay the remaining balance. The target population is children 0-7 for these specific Playaway launchpads, but the company offers them for all ages, and they hope to own those someday as well. BDL will have 5 Launchpads at both the Algansee & Sherwood branches, 8 Launchpads at the Bronson, Quincy, & Union branches, and 16 Launchpads at Coldwater branch.
Colon Township Library
The Local History Room is a joint project between the Friends of the Colon Township Library and the Colon Historical Society. The purpose of the project is to create a space in the Library’s finished basement that would hold all of the historical books, documents, and records that are currently being stored improperly at the museum in Colon, where there is no climate control or security. They are working on applying for more grants to help fund the full project, but Community Good grant funds would be used to purchase a computer to store historical information and to access the internet, a printer with scanning and copying capabilities to scan, print, and copy historical information and documents, shelving units for storage, and a security camera for the room.
Grant funds would cover the cost of the cloud-based Verizon, “One Talk” which is a business cloud phone service utilizing personal cell phones over purchasing business/house phones for staff use. This funding would cover 12 months of use, and will benefit both the staff and the residents. In addition, they are also requesting funding to cover 12 months
of extra garbage/recycling totes, which is believed to benefit the house and the neighborhood.
South Michigan Food Bank
The entirety of this funding will be allocated to SMFB’s FFD program, fully funding two sites in
Branch County, the Coach Eby Youth & Family Center, which is new in August 2021, and the site at Bronson Community Schools. The Bronson Community Schools site was fully funded in 2020 through the Community Good Grant Cycle, and so far in 2021, this site has served 150 families per month and provided a total of 49,600 pounds of food. The Coach Eby Youth & Family Center will serve 75 families per month. FFDs provide fresh foods for underserved populations and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Removal of Barriers to Employment. Michigan WDI currently operates workforce development programs within Branch County for economically disadvantaged Adults and Dislocated Workers. Some individuals looking for assistance have barriers to employment, i.e.: no money for gas or transportation, testing and licensing fees, need for a birth certificate, driver’s license renewal or replacement fees, special clothing and or tools needed to start work. Individuals who go to Michigan WDI for help with employment often don’t have the necessary clothing, shoes, tools, or transportation needed to apply for or accept certain jobs. These individuals who may not qualify for our programs often fall into a “gap” in services and are not able to receive supportive services from WDI’s current programs to help them with their barriers to employment. These funds would be utilized to purchase work boots, work clothing, drivers license renewal fees, BATA bus passes, pre-paid fuel cards, and more to help remove these barriers to employment.