Arts & Entertainment and Nonprofits

Foundation receives $160K grant

December 9, 2015
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Grand Rapids Public Library
The Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation helps fundraising and advocacy for the Grand Rapids Public Library. Photo via

Kent County poets got a big show of support and a major poetry program has a second breath of life from an area nonprofit.

The Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation received a $160,000 permanent endowment from the Dyer-Ives Foundation to support two major area poetry programs.

The donation will be used to support the Dyer-Ives Foundation Annual Kent County Poetry Competition and fund the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate program.

‘A true gift’

As a permanent endowment, the donated funds will remain in principal while the interest paid out will be used for the two projects, which will be funded in perpetuity.

“This is a true gift to our community,” Grand Rapids Public Library director Marcia Warner said in a statement. “This generous endowment supports the development and expression of poets and provides the opportunity to create a deeper understanding and passion for the written word. It is an honor to continue the vision of John Hunting and the Dyer-Ives Foundation.”

Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition

Founded in 1968 by poet James Allen, the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition is open to poets age 5 and up. Winners are selected in three age categories and receive a cash award, participate in a reading during June’s Festival of the Arts and have their poems published in “Voices,” an annual publication printed by the foundation to showcase local poets.

Though the Dyer-Ives Foundation is approaching the end of a five-year plan to spend out its funds and shut its doors in 2016, the gift allows for the nearly 50-year-old competition to continue operations.

Grand Rapids Poet Laureate

The Public Library has run the Grand Rapids Poet Laureate program since 2012, following the dissolution of the Arts Council of Grand Rapids.

The Poet Laureate serves as an ambassador for poetry in Grand Rapids, creating programs and projects to foster the writing, reading and enthusiasm for poetry by the public. Currently, Calvin College professor L.S. Klatt is serving out a three-year term, which began in 2014, as Poet Laureate.

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