Muskegon Foundation Grants 235K

December 9, 2005
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MUSKEGON — Muskegon Main Street and more than 30 other organizations and programs in the Muskegon area have received a total of more than $235,400 in funding from the fall Community Foundation for Muskegon County grants.

The Downtown Façade Improvement Program, which began in 2001, was originally funded by a $30,000 grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority through the Community Foundation. This year, a second grant in the same amount replenishes those funds. Since the program started, five businesses have received eight matching grants to improve their façades.

“It just improves the look of the arts and theater district downtown,” said Dan Rinsema-Sybenga, Main Street manager. “I’ve seen some of the pictures of the buildings even five years ago and there have been major improvements in a lot of them.”

The grants can be used for painting, brickwork, window treatment or repair, signs, awnings, foundation repairs, as well as removal of some façade.

“It’s a great program. We’re very happy the Community Foundation is partnering with us to improve our downtown,” Rinsema-Sybenga said.

Arn Boezaart, vice president of grant programs for the Community Foundation, said this year’s grants are a little higher than last year, with $4 million given away throughout 2005, compared to $3.5 million in 2004.

“There just continues to be upward growth in the amount that we grant each year,” he said.

The foundation’s endowment has now reached about $95 million. It is only the growth of those funds that are used for grants. Boezaart said the endowments ensure that there will be perpetual funding for community organizations.

“The money is entered into the foundation accounts for good, and it sits there forever and yields benefits to the community forever,” he said.

Some of the other grants that were awarded this fall include:

  • $50,000 to the city of Muskegon to provide a local community match for a $325,460 West Western Avenue streetscape improvement grant awarded to the city by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
  • $25,000 to the Salvation Army for renovation of its current facility.
  • $5,000 to One Muskegon to support visits by David Rusk, an urban policy consultant, to help lead the region through functional consolidation planning.
  • $10,000 to Mercy General Health Partners to support the new Imaging Center.    

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