“Our company and its employees are committed to this state and the communities we serve,” said David Mengebier, senior vice president of governmental and public affairs and president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “A big part of our promise to be a good neighbor is helping those in need and doing our part to make this state a better place for everyone to work and live.”
Half of the contributions in 2012 went to organizations that provide direct assistance to those in need including: The Heat And Warmth Fund (THAW), $3 million; The Salvation Army, $1 million, and TrueNorth Community Services, $1 million. The United Way also received significant support from Consumers Energy with $1.7 million going to 56 local United Way organizations. Of that amount, $1.1 million was contributed by employees.
To help celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary, the Consumers Energy Foundation also conducted a special matching grant program in 2012 to provide support for priority projects in 10 Michigan communities. Those grants, which generated $2.5 million in total support, went to projects selected by local leaders as important for their communities.
Other highlights of Consumers Energy’s contributions in 2012 included the following:
• $3.9 million from the Consumers Energy Foundation and CMS Energy provided to support 973 projects. That support focused on education, social welfare, community, civic and cultural activities, and the environment.
• $1 million to early childhood initiatives and basic needs programs received in contributions from a CMS Energy donor-advised fund. Those grants included $62,500 for Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Jackson County for a school-based mentoring initiative and a host of grants for child care scholarships.
• $213,475 was awarded to 424 nonprofit organizations on behalf of 531 employees and retirees through its Volunteer Investment Program (VIP). Through this program, organizations supported by employees and retirees with volunteer time may receive grants of $100 to $500 or more.
• $121,942 of the foundation’s Matching Gifts program was utilized in order to match employee and retiree donations for 34 higher education institutions, 20 community foundations, and 64 food banks, food pantries, and homeless shelters across the state.
“Since 1886, we’ve been a part of Michigan’s fabric. By volunteering or making financial contributions, we are striving to leave communities across the Great Lakes State better than we found them – and in 2012, we did just that,” added Mengebier.
Individual notable 2012 grants included:
• $100,000 to the Gerald R. Ford Foundation in Grand Rapids to support the Legacy of Integrity capital campaign to construct an education wing, featuring a student learning center, at the Ford presidential library
• $60,000 to the Child Care Network to support child care scholarships for families in Jackson County
• $50,000 to Michigan Technological University in Houghton, to support the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Power Systems
• $40,000 to Grand Valley State University in Muskegon to support the construction of the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute Field Station
• $35,000 to the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs to support an outreach initiative designed to assist veterans with access to benefits to which they and their dependents are eligible
• $33,000 to the Michigan Association of United Ways to support the Michigan Benefits Access Initiative, a public-private partnership providing Michigan families in need with local, one-stop access to all available benefits
• $30,000 to the Food Bank of South Central Michigan to support renovations and expansion of the organization’s distribution facility in Fort Custer Industrial Park in Battle Creek
• $30,000 to the Manistee County Community Foundation to support the restoration and reopening of the historic Vogue Theatre in downtown Manistee
• $30,000 to the Michigan Theatre of Jackson to support a special window and door replacement project
• $30,000 to the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency to support child care scholarships for families in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Manistee counties
• $30,000 to the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County to support the 2012 Imagination Library program.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy. It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues. For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit www.consumersenergy.com/foundation