Leave a Lasting Impression Today.  Learn How.

Community Foundation Awards $11K to Support DEI Efforts

[Photo credit: Arts for All of Northern Michigan // Image description: A young Arts for All program participant with shoulder-length blonde hair who is holding up a square canvas art piece they created.]

The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation recently awarded $11,000 from its Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Fund to support seven organizations across Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties. Applications for the Foundation’s next round of DEI Fund grants are due by June 1.

The Community Foundation’s DEI Fund supports equity and inclusion efforts across the five-county region, including primarily proving support for organizations led by Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+, immigrant, neurodiverse, and disability community members. Trainings, programs, and other partners advancing equity and inclusion are also considered.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital for a just society. By working together, we can create a more inclusive society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Cameron Ann Fraser, Executive Director of Michigan Indian Legal Services. “Our DEI Fund partnership with the Community Foundation is a testament to the power of collaboration in driving meaningful change, and it serves as a beacon of hope for those who seek justice and equality in Michigan.”

Recent DEI Fund grant partners include:

  • Arts for All of Northern Michigan ($1,300) to support the organization’s Art Escapes Program that recruits local artists to teach art classes to special education students across the region.
  • Michigan Indian Legal Services ($1,450) to support providing more legal educational materials for client communities and to support updates to the organization’s website that will make it more accessible to community members with disabilities.
  • Norte Youth Cycling ($1,300) to support the organization’s More Girls on Bikes program that aims to plan, organize, and execute all-girl rides, clinics, and mechanics classes led by local women cyclists to foster a welcoming, safe, and supportive place for girls in the region.
  • Northern Michigan E3 (via Utopia Foundation) ($1,000) to support Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month community programming at the Traverse Area District Library and the Dennos Museum.
  • Northwest Education Services ($1,250) to support its Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging Committee in raising awareness and building a stronger understanding of social justice issues among educations in the region.
  • Suttons Bay Public Schools ($1,500) to support a cultural immersion field trip to Mt. Pleasant and Detroit for 26 high school students that will include visits to the Ziibiwing Center to learn about Anishinaabek culture and history, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the Detroit Institute of Art.
  • Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center ($750) to support the creation of a DEI library that will include books for both youth and staff alike and help to create more understanding and awareness of inclusive language, anti-racism, body inclusivity, neurodiversity, gender identity, Tribal culture, and more.

“We are honored to receive this grant and stand alongside the Community Foundation in our shared commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive Northern Michigan,” shared Val McCarthy, Executive Director of Arts for All of Northern Michigan. “Together, we can create positive and lasting change, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, can access the transformative and enriching experiences the arts can provide.”

Since its inception in 2021, the Community Foundation’s DEI Fund has awarded more than $87,000 in grants to organizations across the five-county region. Consumers Energy Foundation, the Foundation’s Rotary Endowment directed by Rotary Charities of Traverse City, and other local donor partners have made these grant awards possible. The Community Foundation continues to accept gifts to support the DEI Fund at www.gtrcf.org/supportDEI.

“While many of our DEI outreach programs sound really good on paper, the reality is that each one of them requires staff time, equipment, and organization,” noted Wes Sovis, Development Director of Norte Youth Cycling. “Without the support of community partners like the Community Foundation, nonprofits would not be able to conceptualize, launch, and grow these DEI programs.”

The Community Foundation is currently accepting DEI Fund grant applications from nonprofit, educational, governmental, and Tribal entities in the five-county region, with awards available up to $2,500 per organization per year. Grant applications are due next by June 1 and can be found on the Foundation’s website: www.gtrcf.org/grants/apply. Subsequent application deadlines are September 1 and December 1.