$330K in grants awarded for health programs

Alex Doty • Jan 8, 2016 at 12:00 PM

The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation received a boost that will allow it to help create a healthier community.

In partnership with the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, the foundations were awarded a $330,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Holly Johnson, president of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, said the grants will help fund initiatives that provide systemic changes to people’s lifestyles.

“We will start granting the money as soon as we can,” Johnson said.

All funds from the grant must be re-granted within two years. To ensure an ongoing effort, each community foundation has committed to another $80,000 — creating an additional $160,000 — to sustain projects in the third year.

The community foundations plan to award money to projects and programs advancing positive action on the priority issues identified in the Ottawa County Community Health Improvement Plan, Johnson said. Focus areas include access to health care, mental health and healthy behaviors, with special emphasis on projects that impact the senior citizens and youth in the community.

“We are grateful for the collaboration between the MHEF, the Council of Michigan Foundations and our community foundation partners around the state who all came together to make this re-granting opportunity possible,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the organizations are anxious to support programs that will create positive change in the community.

“We are just getting all of the paperwork signed with the MHEF, and we’ll be getting that money in late February,” she said.

In the next few weeks, the community foundation will post a request for proposals and begin accepting applications for grant funding. A group consisting of board members from both the Grand Haven and Holland/Zeeland foundations will decide on who gets funding.

“We’re forming a joint grant distribution committee with members from both Grand Haven and Holland/Zeeland, as well as representatives from each foundation’s Youth Advisory Council,” said Beth Larsen, director of grants and nonprofit services for the Grand Haven foundation. “This is an exciting opportunity to mobilize resources from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to begin the work that will help our community make meaningful progress on our highest-priority health issues.”

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund awarded more than $8.5 million to 29 community foundations across the state, making it the fund’s second-largest distribution of funds to improve the quality of health for Michigan’s children and senior citizens.

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