For almost a year the Blue Star Moms have been working to raise $40,000 to renovate the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans’ community room, the Cozy Corners.
“They have done a fantastic job and received a $30,000 grant from SpartanNash Company [owners of Family Fare, D&W and other grocery stores],” said Tiffany Carr, director of member and community relations for the home. Carr also works with the Finish the Mission Veterans Relief Fund. Along with the Freedom Cruise, the Finish the Mission Veterans Relief Fund focuses on capital improvement projects for the home along with assisting individual veterans.
“The Blue Star Moms came to us about the Cozy Corners project and we said, ‘How much do you need?'” Carr said, adding that the $5,000 grant received from the GM Foundation on Saturday during the 28th Street Metro Cruise will help wrap up the fundraising efforts so that renovation on the community room could start in the next 30 days.
For the past several years GM has recognized and supported local organizations that help with a number of projects within the community. The GM Community Grants program, funded by the GM Foundation, is providing $2 million to hundreds of organizations in 47 communities where GM employees live and work. Of that amount, $25,000 was awarded to the General Motors Grand Rapids Components Operations in Wyoming to give to local organizations.
“We actually start the process by surveying our employees,” said Grand Rapids Components Operations Personal Director Dale Johnson. “We ask them where they are volunteering and what organizations they are participating with.”
From there, the list of possible organizations are reviewed with the goal being to select a broad spectrum of groups with various initiatives, health, education, human services, environmental and community development, Johnson said. This Grand Rapids Components Operations awarded $5,000 grants to five organizations: Finish the Mission Veterans Relief Fund, Feeding America, the YWCA, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Greater Wyoming Community Resource Alliance.
The Greater Wyoming Community Resource Alliance provides scholarships for Wyoming families to participate in health, wellness and recreational activities. City Manager Curtis Holt said the Alliance has been the recipient of grants from GM in the past and are honored to have again been selected again this year.
“It’s a real honor to know that the employees were the ones who help select the groups,” said YWCA Development Community Coordinator Amber Jones. The YWCA plans to use its grant for its Girls Inc. Leadership and Community Action program which is designed to help foster future leaders in the communities where people live.
“Our primary services focus on sexual assault and domestic violence,” Jones said. “We have a pressing need for help after something has happened and do not always have the funds for prevention. This money will be specifically set aside for that program.”
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council will use its funds for the Teach for the Watershed program at Godfrey Lee Elementary School. This program teaches science in the field and the stream with mentors from GM volunteering to help the students learn about science and to make a connection between science-based careers. The money also will help with the 13th Annual Mayors’ Grand River Clean Up set for Sept. 10.
The Feeding America – West Michigan Food Bank will use its grant toward the support of its School Mobile Pantries which has feed more than 1,200 families during a four-month period. At Parkview Elementary, less than a mile from the GM facility, the School Mobile Pantry distributes 7,500 pounds of fresh produce, dairy products, and grains.