Banking & Finance and Nonprofits

Bank foundation awards $300K to nonprofits

November 26, 2018
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Start Garden 100 Ideas initiative announcement
A crowd listens to the announcement of the 100 Ideas initiative. Courtesy Start Garden

A bank foundation has awarded six West Michigan organizations grants totaling $300,000.

Grants from the Fifth Third Foundation’s 2018 Strengthening Our Communities Fund went to Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, or GROW, Northern Initiatives, Women’s Resource Center, The Literacy Center of West Michigan and Start Garden.

In its second year, the fund awards grants to nonprofit programs that support affordable housing, small business development and financial stability for individuals and families.

“We believe these grants provide meaningful support to the efforts of these organizations to build and maintain strong, vibrant communities and that provide pathways to opportunity in our community,” said Tom Welch, president of Fifth Third’s West Michigan region.

Grant program

The Fifth Third region formally invited nonprofits to apply for the funding.

Grant awards begin at $25,000 and are for a one-year period. The maximum grant amounts per region depend on the program and demonstrated need.

Fifth Third will award $3 million in Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants across its footprint in 2018, which is part of an overall five-year, $32-billion commitment.

West Michigan recipients

GRCC: The $100,000 grant will be used for the college’s English as a Second Language Integrated Workforce Training Program, which will deliver adult education in context with career skills to prepare people for in-demand occupations, including welding, machining and being a certified production technician.

GROW: The $25,000 grant will support small business and micro-lending outreach in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan: The $75,000 grant will assist in embedding financial literacy throughout adult literacy programming and pilot literacy classes for entrepreneurial learners who are starting or own businesses. The Literacy Center of West Michigan also received a $100,000 grant in 2017.

Northern Initiatives: The $25,000 grant will go toward small business and micro-lending outreach in Kent County.

Start Garden: The $50,000 grant will continue to support the annual Start Garden 100 Ideas competition to launch new entrepreneurs. One-hundred business ideas received $1,000 each to compete to be one of 10 that received $20,000 to get off the ground. Start Garden also received a $50,000 grant in 2017.

Women’s Resource Center: The $25,000 grant will support Empower and New Beginnings programs, which offer career and skill development for low- and moderate-income women and women re-entering the community from the Kent County Correctional Facility.

Fifth Third Foundation

Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation supports organizations in the areas of education, health and human services, community development and the arts.

Fifth Third Bancorp

Based in Cincinnati, Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) is the parent company of Fifth Third Bank.

The institution operates 1,152 branches and 2,443 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina.

As of Sept. 30, 2018, Fifth Third had $142 billion in assets.

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