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Competitive Grant Awards Announced

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Sturgis Area Community Foundation is excited to announce the recipients of 2020 Competitive Grant Awards. In total, more than $100,000 was awarded this month in support of charitable programs and projects serving Sturgis and surrounding communities.

Here’s a closer look at look at some of this year's funded projects.

Projects Supporting Children and Families

Solving the local challenges of today— poverty, educational attainment, hunger— means investing in strong outcomes for the workers, parents, and leaders of tomorrow. Achieving strong outcomes for the next generation happens by connecting what today’s children and families need – at home, at school, at work and in their communities. By providing competitive grants, we aspire to help grantees make measurable improvements in children’s lives that will impact our collective future.

St. Joseph County Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect will receive funding to provide “Welcome Home" Baby Bags to new parents throughout our county. In collaboration with the Great Start Collaborative, these bags will provide new parents with children’s books aimed at promoting connections between babies and caregivers while also enforcing safety messaging and education with parents.

There are currently 177 children in foster care throughout St. Joseph County. With grant funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Mich., we hope to improve outcomes and give some of our county’s most vulnerable children the support they need to thrive.

Research shows that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers are:

o more likely to be adopted permanently

o 50% less likely to re-enter the foster care system

o performing better in school

o spend, on average, 7.5 less months in foster care than those without a CASA

o 90% less likely to have their own children in the foster care system

For 11 years, Sturgis Helping Hands has helped meet some of the most basic needs of local children and families. Through its “Backpack Program”, Sturgis Helping Hands provides backpacks of food and essentials that ensure students in need have access to meals on weekends and over the holidays. The program is run by volunteers which ensures 100% of funds granted will directly support food for local children and their families.

Projects Supporting a Vibrant Community

Sturgis Area Community Foundation aspires to build a community where individuals seek to live, work, and visit. Through grantmaking, we hope to create public spaces that promote health, happiness, and well-being for all who call the Sturgis area “home”.

Grant funding will support the installation of an outdoor public fireplace in downtown Sturgis and contribute to the overall goal of creating a “sense of place” in our community, including spaces that make people want to experience our downtown. The fireplace is part of a “Power of 10+” placemaking strategy. The idea behind this concept is that places thrive when users have a range of reasons (10+) to be there. These might include a place to sit, playgrounds to enjoy, art to touch, music to hear, food to eat, history to experience...or in this case, a fire to huddle around.

For more than 50 years, the Sturges-Young Center for the Arts has served as a key cultural asset to local communities. As the Sturges-Young continues its “Road to Restoration”, grant funds from the Community Foundation will provide new acoustic panels that will improve the sound quality of future events in this beloved space.

The goal of this project is to foster a robust city center in Sturgis. Grant funding will support opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with their community through outdoor events and cultural experiences planned in downtown Sturgis.

As a leader and resource for local philanthropy, the Sturgis Area Community Foundation works closely with non-profits and charitable agencies every year to fuel positive change where we live. Our grantmaking framework is the vehicle that provides funding to nonprofits, empowering the people and organizations that best understand how to serve their communities with the resources they need to create impact. These investments are powered by the generosity of donors who have entrusted the Foundation to meet our community’s needs. If you have questions about grants or would like to know more about our work, please contact our office at

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