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Community foundation awards grant to aid adult literacy

• Jun 12, 2018 at 3:00 PM

The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation Board and the foundation’s Youth Advisory Council recently made six second-round grant awards totaling $382,958 to support the Northwest Ottawa County community.

Included is a $10,000 grant to R.E.A.D. (Reading Enables Adult Development) to provide training and resources for its English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

R.E.A.D.’s mission is to provide Northwest Ottawa County adults with an opportunity to improve and transform their lives by strengthening their reading and language skills. It is the only local, free, one-on-one tutoring program for adults seeking to improve their literacy skills, and more than 80 percent of the participants are ESL students.

"The support of the R.E.A.D. ESL program grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation ensures that R.E.A.D. can train new tutors to serve incoming ESL students and provide resources for all our ESL student/tutor pairs,” said Susan Lowe, executive director of R.E.A.D. “The support from this grant has an amazing impact on our current 28 ESL students' and their families' lives as they continue to achieve their literacy goals and integrate into our community."

Funding will provide two sessions to train 10-20 tutors, six tutor workshops for additional training and 60 ESL learning workbooks for the student/tutor pairs. Funding will also contribute to ESL intake and assessment testing.

Other grants awarded:

• Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance: $50,000 per year for five years for general operating support. This funding will support existing program and services that benefit area nonprofits, while also allowing the alliance to expand into new growth areas such as leadership development.

• Ottawa Area Intermediate School District: $35,000 for its Doing More Together Partnership Program, which will create a minimum of five videos to share with a regional and statewide audience through multiple mediums. The videos will highlight the region’s educational partnerships to attract new families, commerce and skilled workers to the area.

• Northwest Ottawa Chamber Foundation: $40,000 (including $10,000 from YAC) for the Lakeshore Youth Leadership Connections, a program that cultivates leadership qualities in students from Grand Haven and Muskegon areas.

• St. Patrick/St. Anthony Parish: $10,000 for its Job Seeker Program, which provides employment attainment services to the unemployed, underemployed and those with barriers to access employment within the Northwest Ottawa County region. The parish serves as the only local West Michigan Works office space in Northwest Ottawa County, and this space will allow them to provide more one-on-one time with clients.

• Greater Ottawa County United Way: $31,691 for the Housing Next Responsive Grant Fund, which creates and funds innovative projects with local partners to support the housing needs of people in our community.

• Grand Rapids Children’s Museum: $6,267 from the foundation’s YAC for Traveling S.T.E.A.M. Exploration program, which will serve youth (primarily ages 14-16) in the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center. The program will also teach social-emotional skills to build self-confidence and increase a curiosity for science.

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