The Consumers Energy Foundation is sponsoring a competition that will provide $50,000 to support big ideas in small towns across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
The “Put Your Town on the Map” pitch competition will provide dollars for three projects that build strong communities. Up to 10 finalist communities will compete for the funding April 22 at the annual Small Town and Rural Development Conference at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich.
“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring that Michigan’s communities of all sizes are growing and thriving,” says Roger Curtis, Consumers Energy’s vice president of public affairs. “We were impressed by the incredible ideas from so many communities last year. We’re excited to invest more dollars into the competition’s prizes and look forward to seeing even more creativity and innovation on display.”
Consumers Energy created the competition to reward ideas and provide critical dollars for projects in Michigan’s small towns. Communities with a population of up to 10,000 have until March 2 to submit proposals.
Consumers Energy and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan will select 10 communities to make a pitch at the Rural Partners of Michigan conference for grants worth $25,000; $15,000; and $10,000.
Last year’s first competition featured $15,000 in grants. The winners were:
- Port Austin, first place ($7,500), a large vacant lot will be developed into an interactive and dynamic space for tourists and community members.
- Spring Lake, second place ($5,000), a plan to bring public art to the Lakeside Trail to make the village a destination for visitors.
- Sparta, third place ($2,500), The Orchard, an incubator for small businesses.
The “Put Your Town on the Map” competition aims to reward a variety of innovative ideas, such as those that attract visitors to downtowns; focus on housing, education or employment; create community pride and more. Community leaders can learn more and apply at cedamichigan.org.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. In 2019, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed more than $11.5 million to Michigan nonprofits.
For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit consumersenergy.com/foundation.