$218,770 in People Fund grants awarded

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Great Lakes Energy, with the help of its members, continues its commitment to local communities through the People Fund. During 2018, the People Fund awarded $218,770 in grants to charitable and community organizations. The Great Lakes Energy People Fund is supported solely by Great Lakes Energy members who allow their electric cooperative to round up their bill each month to the next dollar.

The grants funds were awarded to 64 charitable and community organizations throughout Great Lakes Energy’s 26-county service area, which stretches from Kalamazoo to the Mackinac Straits.

“Thanks to the generosity of our members we’ve awarded more than $3.5 million in grants since 1999 to local non-profits groups and organizations,” says President/CEO Bill Scott. “The local communities in our service area benefit greatly from this program that is fully funded by our members who allow their bill to be rounded up to the nearest dollar each month.”

Members of the electric cooperative who wish to participate are encouraged to enroll in the People Fund online at gtlakes.com or by contacting Great Lakes Energy’s office.

“People may not think 50 cents a month can do much, but when added with the contributions of other Great Lakes Energy members, we are able to help so many,” explains Scott. “Giving back to the community is one of the cooperative principles and we couldn’t do it without our members’ generosity.”

The following groups received People Fund grants in 2018:


North Area:

  • Alanson Public Library: $2,810 for five new computers.
  • Beaver Island Historical Society of Michigan: $7,352 for signs for a historical walking tour.
  • Charlevoix County: $10,000 for phase 3 of the non-motorized trail project from Charlevoix to Boyne City.
  • Charlevoix Ministerial Association: $2,500 for a benevolence fund to help people in need.
  • Christ Child Society of Northern Michigan, Harbor Springs: $5,000 for clothing for needy children.
  • Crawford County Commission on Aging, Grayling: $4,365 for lighting and a water spigot for community garden.
  • Crawford County Community Christian Help Center, Grayling: $2,449 for a freezer and electrical work.
  • Crawford County Library, Grayling: $3,000 for a Ultimaker 3/3D printer.
  • Crossroads Ministries, Gaylord: $4,000 for remodeling work and storage containers.
  • Elmira Township Parks and Rec Committee, Elmira: $5,000 for a paved walkway at a community park.
  • Freshwater Future, Petoskey: $6,000 for a water contamination study and public education.
  • Friendship Centers of Emmet County, Petoskey: $5,148 for a solarscreen window roller shades.
  • Gaylord Gators Swim Team: $455 for a computer and software.
  • Good Samaritan Family Services, Ellsworth: $3,847 for a wood working shop equipment for His House.
  • Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, Petoskey: $2,000 for a youth concert at Petoskey Middle School.
  • Imagination Library of Crawford County, Grayling: $5,000 for books for ages birth to kindergarten.
  • Little Traverse Bay Quilters Guild, Harbor Springs: $1,000 for fabric and material for quilts for veterans.
  • Manna Food Project, Harbor Springs: $6,000 for local farm produce program called Produce for People II.
  • New Horizons Clubhouse, Rapid City: $2,500 for washer, dryer and utility sink.
  • North Country Trail Association, Petoskey: $5,000 for Iron Belle Trail Bear River Bridge project.
  • Northern Michigan Antique Flywheelers Club, Boyne Falls: $4,300 for a sound system.
  • Northern Michigan Equine Therapy, Boyne City: $3,604.88 for a SureHand lift.
  • NW Michigan Habitat for Humanity, Harbor Springs: $800 for four framing nailers to help build homes.
  • Otsego County Habitat for Humanity, Gaylord: $1,200 for cash register and electrical work for the ReStore.
  • Raven Hill Discovery Center, East Jordan: $8,000 for a Water/Ways exhibit.
  • Riverbend Park Pickleball Project, Petoskey: $6,000 for a pickleball court project.
  • St. Mary School, Charlevoix: $8,000 for a playground structure open to the community.
  • The Salvation Army, Petoskey: $1,850 for repairs to the community center building.
  • VFW Post 1518, Gaylord: $5,000 for improvements to the Veterans Community Park entrance.
  • Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy: $3,500 for phase 2 of a watershed project.
  • Wawatam Area Senior Citizens, Inc., Mackinaw City: $2,200 for a commercial freezer.


Central Area:

  • American Youth Soccer, Leroy: $609.90 for lawn maintenance equipment.
  • Cadillac Wexford Public Library: $1,600 for stacking chairs for a children’s and teen room.
  • Caritas Food Pantry, Custer: $1,000 for holiday meals for families in need.
  • Chase Main Street Foundation: $5,000 for a new roof and chimney removal at the library.
  • Circle Rocking S Children’s Farm, Free Soil: $2,500 for asphalt between barns.
  • Citizen’s Sportsmen’s Club, Fountain: $3,835 for new windows, toilets, sinks and electrical.
  • City of Scottville: $2,500 for two automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for city hall.
  • Lake County Historical Society, Baldwin: $1,716.95 for new museum exhibits.
  • Lakeshore Food Club, Ludington: $2,000 for carts and materials.
  • Luther Fire District No. 1: $2,714.50 for a hydraulic pump system for the Jaws of Life.
  • Northwest Lake County Senior Citizens, Irons: $4,000 for kitchen improvements at the senior center.
  • Osceola County Parks Commission, Reed City: $3,425 for a Gator utility vehicle.
  • Pathfinder Community Library, Baldwin: $2,000 to enhance the young adult/student area.
  • Reed City Area District Library: $3,200 for one children’s learning station.
  • Reed City Quilt Guild: $2,000 for materials for quilts that will be donated to the Susan B. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City.
  • Riverton Township, Scottville: $6,434 with $2,454 to upgrade the wooden bleachers to aluminum and $3,980 to upgrade electrical system at the township hall.
  • Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, Ludington: $3,000 for the restoration of Big Sable Lighthouse.
  • Sandcastles Children’s Museum, Ludington: $870 for a soft play tunnel for toddlers.
  • West Shore Pregnancy & Family Support, Ludington: $4,775 with $3,200 for rental of work space and $1,575 for general client services and the Earn While You Learn program.
  • Western Michigan Fair Association, Scottville: $750 for a 100 ft patriotic wall for display during the 2018 fair.

South Area:

  • Allegan County Legal Assistance Center (ACLAC), Allegan: $474.82 for a software update and license to print legal forms and a law dictionary for patrons.
  • Christian Neighbors SE, Plainwell: $3,500 for utility payment assistance.
  • Hart Area Public Library: $1,000 for a Ozobot robot kit for children.
  • Hope 101 Ministry Inc., Newaygo: $4,712 for renovation of a donated residence for Newaygo County homeless persons.
  • Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes: $2,000 for a Junior Achievement supplies for Newaygo Elementary and Middle School programs.
  • Love INC of Oceana County, Shelby: $1,500 for a gas card incentive to encourage enrollment in the reNEW program classes on life skills.
  • Oceana Conservation District, Shelby: $3,000 for an environmental education program for school-age and preschool children.
  • Oceana County Council on Aging, Hart: $2,000 for a washer and dryer for the Adult Day Care home.
  • Project Hope of NE Allegan County, Dorr: $1,750 for personal care items for Project Hope’s food pantry.
  • Sylvia’s Place, Allegan: $3,950 for group therapy sessions for domestic abuse survivors.
  • The Starting Block, Hart: $2,842 for kitchen incubator improvement and a laptop and desktop computer.
  • White Lake Senior Center, Montague: $229.99 for Microsoft Office computer software.
  • YMCA of Barry County: Hastings: $10,000 for B. Bus Mobile Library which provides books and reading activities for children.

The 2018 People Fund Annual Report is included in the January issue of Michigan Country Lines magazine recently mailed to Great Lakes Energy members. Others may obtain the report by contacting Great Lakes Energy at 1-888-485-2537 or by visiting gtlakes.com and downloading the report.

The Great Lakes Energy People Fund is accepting applications for 2019 grants from local non-profit organizations. Deadline for applications for the 2019 grant cycles are April 15 and Oct. 15. Request an application by calling 888-485-2537 ext. 1313, or request it online by visiting gtlakes.com.

NOTE:  You can download the 2018 People Fund annual report at: