- To the United Way of Northwest Michigan for expanding its AmeriCorps VISTA Program to include summer associates. AmeriCorps VISTA is a full-time national service program for organizations interested in developing lasting solutions to address poverty. The local VISTA program last year leveraged $169,012 for community nonprofits.
- To the MI Farm Coop for expanding its multi-farm CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. The cooperative consists of more than a dozen local farm members. The group’s business model allows for 80 percent of the price of items sold through the cooperative to go back to the farmer, with profit sharing between the members. The cooperative sells fresh, local agricultural goods to restaurants, caterers, institutions, retail stores and through the CSA in Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie counties.
- To the Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology, which obtained $50,000 through the Extension Risk Management Education Competitive Grants Program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Funds provide educational programs in regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and renewable energy, and workshops like cropping and carbon farming for small farmers in northwest Lower Michigan.
- To Networks Northwest, which received a $400,000 Innovative Fund Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The grant will “support the creation of a shared economic development strategy” for Networks Northwest’s 10-county coverage area, according to a release. The strategy will focus on 31 “growth and investment areas” in the region, identified by Networks Northwest as “having the core infrastructure of water, sewer, broadband, staff and plans for growth.”