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Celebrating Local Impact: Spring Grant Recipients


The Sturgis Area Community Foundation, along with its affiliates, the Constantine Area Community Foundation and the White Pigeon Area Community Foundation, are proud to announce the recipients of their Spring grant cycle. A total of $119,000 in grants have been awarded to local organizations to support their work and advance their missions in local communities.


Meet the Recipients

Rooted of St. Joseph County

$50,000 - Rooted Safe House


Rooted of St. Joseph County provides crucial services to children undergoing traumatic transitions, including those transitioning to foster care, displacement due to house fires, or other forms of homelessness. Having worked to provide children with basic necessities in the midst of their transition from an unsafe home to a long-term placement, Rooted has now set its vision on another transitionary need.


When children are removed from an unsafe situation, most often a long-term placement is not immediately available. It could be hours or even days before a placement can be matched to a child. With the construction of the Safe House, Rooted will provide a place for children to receive basic daily needs such as toiletries, clothing, and shoes. Children will have a space to play, to be fed, and even to sleep during their time of transition. The Safe House will be a place of peace and comfort during a very difficult time. Agency workers will be provided an on-site workspace and Rooted will provide volunteers to help care for the children and ease this time of transition.  






To learn more about Rooted of St. Joseph County and the Rooted Safe House project, visit rootedsjc.org.



Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Michigan

$50,000 - Formula for Impact Program


Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Michigan will receive funding to support before and after school programs for Sturgis Public School students in grades 1-5. Boys & Girls Clubs currently offers programs throughout school year and summer at Eastwood School. These programs provide structured activities that promote academic success, develop good character and leadership skills, and encourage healthy lifestyles.


Sturgis Club Staff Karley Hull (Afternoon Program Director) and Marsha Dobberteen (AM Manager) with students of the Boys & Girls Clubs at Eastwood Elementary


Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce

$2,500 - Community Education Program


The Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce provides extensive support to local businesses through networking, advocacy, and educational programs designed to enhance business operations and community engagement. This Spring, the Chamber has been awarded a grant to fund its Community Education Program.


Community members sit in on the Chat GPT Lunch & Learn hosted by the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce

The grant supports a series of classes and workshops essential for local business success. These educational opportunities address practical topics like digital marketing, financial management, and adapting to technological advancements. Such training is essential for local businesses as it equips entrepreneurs and their teams with modern skills and knowledge, enhancing their adaptability and competitiveness in a rapidly evolving market. By improving professional competencies, these programs also contribute to the economic resilience and growth of the Sturgis area, benefiting the wider community.


"One of the most important goals of the Chamber is to ‘CONNECT’ our businesses and our community to resources that can aid in their success. Hosting multiple educational opportunities throughout the year is just one of those ways that we are connecting people with those resources." shared Kari Hatt, Executive Director of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. "Our most recent Lunch and Learn focused on ChatGPT. Still to come this year, we plan on having a session on Canva, business 101, and a session on accounting and finance for small businesses."


Constantine Public Schools

$500 - Human Trafficking Responder Training


Human Trafficking Responder Training Event

Educating individuals to recognize the signs of human trafficking is essential due to the covert nature and alarming prevalence of this crime. Training enables community members to act as first responders, potentially saving lives by identifying and reporting signs of trafficking. Such education is particularly necessary in areas like Constantine, where socio-economic factors and geographical location increase vulnerability to traffickers.

Kathy Jo Tully, Constantine High School Teacher and CFR Training Co-Chair, shared,


"Human trafficking is a growing problem all over the United States, and our Constantine community remains highly vulnerable. Our five-member committee felt morally compelled to get as many people trained as possible to recognize the signs of trafficking, report suspicious behavior effectively, provide trauma-informed care to victims, and keep our loved ones safe online and offline."

The Constantine Area Community Foundation has awarded Constantine Public Schools a grant to assist with the costs of the Human Trafficking Responder Training event. This grant supports a partnership with Women at Risk, International, to conduct an intensive one-day training session focused on educating the Constantine community about human trafficking. Speakers from various sectors, including law enforcement and survivors, shared their insights and experiences at the training event.



KeyStone Place

$5,000 - Interior Bathroom Renovation


KeyStone Place provides temporary, emergency housing and essential services to homeless and at-risk individuals in St. Joseph County. Its focus is on promoting self-sufficiency while respecting the dignity of those it serves. The organization assists a diverse group, including adults, children, veterans, families, and individuals with disabilities.


Recently, KeyStone Place Inc. received a grant from the Sturgis Area Community Foundation for the much-needed renovation of the men's and women's restrooms at its facility. The updates will include new paint, flooring, vanities, towel racks, showers, tile, and trim. Approximately 40 residents utilize these facilities daily, which have significantly deteriorated due to constant use and have not been renovated for many years. The grant will address these issues by improving the conditions of these bathrooms, ensuring they are safe and hygienic for daily use.



City of Sturgis (Parks & Cemetery)

$3,500 - Oaklawn Pickleball Courts


The sport of pickleball has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity in Sturgis, capturing the interest of a broad age range from children to senior citizens. The City of Sturgis has identified a strong community desire for outdoor pickleball facilities, evidenced by the active participation of approximately 100 individuals in pickleball activities at the Doyle Community Center each week.


The Sturgis Area Community Foundation has awarded a grant to the City of Sturgis Parks & Cemetery Department for the construction of the Oaklawn Pickleball Courts. This project involves converting an existing ice-skating rink at Oaklawn Park into 5 to 6 pickleball courts. The grant will be used to cover the costs of surface coating, paint, and essential equipment. This initiative will allow the center to host various events and activities, such as tournaments, family gatherings, and pickleball drills for all skill levels. This will enrich the community's recreational options throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons.



Doyle Community Center

$2,500 - Summer Adventure Club


Offering engaging activities for youth during the summer months in Sturgis is vital as it provides structured, enjoyable, and educational opportunities outside of school. Engaging in meaningful activities helps young people develop social skills, physical fitness, and cognitive abilities, all while building a sense of community and belonging. These programs can also serve as a safe haven, keeping youth productively occupied and away from potentially harmful alternatives.


The Sturgis Area Community Foundation has awarded a grant to support the Summer Adventure Club at the Doyle Community Center, emphasizing its commitment to community enrichment and youth development. This year, the program has been redesigned with a weekly theme-based structure, incorporating a diverse range of activities like sports, crafts, and themed games. Each themed week promises to deliver a unique, immersive experience—from a Hawaiian week with a splash pad day to a Disney week with costume contests. The grant from SACF will specifically be used to purchase craft supplies and fund entertainment activities, directly enhancing the quality and reach of the program, which anticipates over 140 students this summer.


About SACF Grant Programs


The Community Foundation offers two primary grant programs each designed to support projects that enrich our County's social, economic, and cultural landscape.


Community Impact Grants are intended to support larger projects and programs. By backing nonprofit-led initiatives, these grants create lasting benefits in areas critical to our community's health and vitality. The Community Foundation focuses on funding projects and programs that align with SACF Impact Grant Priorities:


  • Housing: Ensuring that all community members have access to safe, quality housing.


  • Educational Progression & Workforce Development: Equipping our workforce with the necessary skills and education to thrive in a changing economy.


  • Care of Children: Supporting the well-being and development of our youngest citizens.


  • Community Development & Placemaking: Enhancing our communities' physical and social landscapes to make them more vibrant and welcoming places.


SACF's Micro-Grants programs supports small-scale initiatives and is tailored to support smaller projects that have the potential to make significant impacts. These grants help grassroots initiatives and emerging organizations to pilot new ideas, extend their reach, or simply add that extra bit of support where it's needed most.


Eligible organizations can access applications to both the Impact Grant and Micro-Grant online at www.sturgisfoundation.org/grants.



 

The Sturgis Area Community Foundation is a $30M foundation committed to serving the charitable needs of our community and enriching the quality of life for all people in the Sturgis area. Through philanthropic services, strategic investments, and community leadership, the Sturgis Area Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about now and for generations.


For more information on grants or donor services, email sacf@sturgisfoundation.org.

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