In 2012, Consumers Energy celebrated 125 years of serving Michigan by pledging $1.25 million to support Michigan communities. The Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy’s philanthropic arm, fulfilled this promise by donating $125,000 to 10 nonprofit projects around the state. To be eligible for the $125,000 anniversary grant, each community had to apply with details of the project and raise $125,000 in local matching funds.
We followed up with one grant recipient, a 9-field youth sports complex just north of Grand Rapids.
A Different Kind of Energy from Art Van Sports Complex
“We shot for the stars when we built this complex,” said Mike Guswiler, President of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “We couldn’t be happier with the success here, but we still have some work to do.”
If you’ve ever stopped by the Art Van Sports Complex , you will know that it doesn’t generate its positive energy from electricity or natural gas, but from the thwack of a bat that sends runners scurrying around the base path, yelling from the dugout by teammates and coaches alike and the cheers from the bleachers as disabled children play their first game at Miracle Field.
Complete with baseball, softball and soccer fields as well as a BMX trail, the complex in Rockford attracts 40 to 60 teams around the United States to visit during a typical summer weekend – some as far away as Oklahoma.
There’s nothing quite like the Art Van Sports Complex in Michigan or maybe even the country. Sports Planning Guide recently named it one of the top 14 baseball facilities in the country.
Other 125th Anniversary Grant Recipients
- Bay City – A grant to Bay Commitment College Access and Resource Center helped Bay County students and parents apply for college and financial assistance.
- Flint – A grant to Community Foundation of Greater Flint supported the Flint/Genesee County Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and repaired/replaced roofs of the homes of low-income families.
- Jackson – A grant to United Way of Jackson County supported the launch of Energizing Education, an initiative to promoting literacy in Jackson County.
- Kalamazoo – A grant to Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity supported the organization’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which targeted distressed neighborhoods.
- Lansing – A grant to Michigan Nonprofit Association supported the development of the Nonprofit Center at the Armory.
- Muskegon – A grant to Community Foundation of Muskegon County supported the Russell Block Market program, which fosters opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop sustainable retail businesses in downtown Muskegon.
- Saginaw – A grant to Saginaw Community Foundation supported the restoration of the city’s Deindorfer Woods Park.
- Pontiac – A grant to Lighthouse of Oakland County supported the renovation of the headquarters for the organization, which helps struggling families move to self-sufficiency and independence.
- Traverse City – A grant to Traverse City Film Festival supported the group’s effort to renovate the exterior of the historic State Theatre in downtown Traverse City.
Michigan nonprofit with ideas and plans to make our communities smarter, safer and more fun? Let’s talk: ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.