The North Bank Communities Fund (NBCF) of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation surprised seven local schools with an unexpected Back-to-School Grant. Recipients are free to use the $583 grant at their discretion, but the NBCF encourages the schools to use the money to support at-risk students.

“We are currently talking about the importance of being kind to others, showing empathy, and preventing and stopping bullying. Therefore, the timing of [this] act of kindness and generosity could not have been better,” said Mitzi Milanowski, a faculty member at the Spring Lake Alternative Education High School. “My students were able to feel what it is like to be the recipient of kindness and [these] actions reinforced all that we having been trying to convey to our students.” Milanowski said the school plans to use the majority of the money to enhance their reading library.

Other schools plan to use the funds to support programming. “We [look] forward to using these funds in our AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, specifically to hire and train college tutors for our tutorial process,” said Cathy Cantu, Director of the West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics. “This is a critical process to our AVID elective that services those students who may otherwise struggle to be prepared for high school and college.”

Added Milanowski, “I am very proud and happy to live in a community like ours, where there are people who truly care about the welfare of our young people and are eager to give of themselves and their resources to improve the education and lives of our students.”

The following schools received grants from NBCF: Holmes Elementary School, Jeffers Elementary School, Lake Hills Elementary School, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Spring Lake Alternative Education High School, West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics, and Walden Green Montessori.

The North Bank Communities Fund was established in 1990 to support the communities of Spring Lake Village, Spring Lake Township, and the City of Ferrysburg, as well as other communities that are north of the bridge and considered part of the north bank communities in Ottawa County. Grants from this Fund support local projects in the areas of education, recreation, and the environment.