Banking & Finance, Economic Development, and Nonprofits

Bank foundation awards $250K to nonprofits

December 15, 2017
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Steelcase employees work on a Habitat for Humanity site in West Michigan as part of the office furniture maker's Project Day. Courtesy Steelcase

A bank foundation has awarded three West Michigan nonprofits grants totaling $250,000.

The Fifth Third Foundation’s 2017 Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants were awarded to the Literacy Center of West Michigan, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and Start Garden.

The fund awards grants to nonprofits that support homeownership, affordable housing, small business development and financial stability for individuals and families.

“The Strengthening Our Community grants are important, because they result in people’s lives being positively changed, and they grant organizations the opportunity to expand their reach,” said Heidi Jark, managing director, Fifth Third Foundation. “Through these grants, we are able to continue building lasting relationships and help strengthen communities where we serve.”

The organizations plan to use the grants for various programs: expanding financial literacy materials and curriculum; increasing homeownership opportunities; improving social conditions; and encouraging entrepreneurship in under-represented communities.

“We are humbled and grateful to be a Strengthening Our Communities grant recipient alongside some outstanding organizations and to mobilize these funds in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood of Grand Rapids,” said BriAnne McKee, executive director, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. “Fifth Third Bank’s generosity and commitment to affordable housing and strong neighborhoods is bringing the neighbors of Roosevelt Park one step closer to realizing their vision for their neighborhood.”

The Fifth Third region formally invited nonprofits to apply for the funding, and awards were made four times this year. Grant awards begin at $25,000 and are for a one-year period. The maximum grant awards per region depend on the programs and demonstrated needs.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan

The $100,000 grant will be used to add financial literacy materials and curriculum to the organization’s library, incorporate financial literacy lessons and train tutors.

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

The $100,000 grant will go toward Habitat Kent’s work in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood to increase homeownership, improve physical conditions, improve social conditions, improve neighborhood management and convene community partners to develop Plaza Roosevelt.

Start Garden

The $50,000 grant will be used to create the Start Go Fund, a $500,000 community-wide investment into entrepreneurship for under-represented communities.

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