We’re pleased to announce six second-round grant awards totaling $382,958 to support the Northwest Ottawa County community, including a $10,000 grant to R.E.A.D. (Reading Enables Adult Development) to provide training and resources for their English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

R.E.A.D.’s mission is to provide Northwest Ottawa County adults with an opportunity to improve and transform their lives by strengthening their reading and language skills. It is the only local, free, one-on-one tutoring program for adults seeking to improve their literacy skills and over 80% of the participants are ESL students.

“The support of the R.E.A.D. ESL Program grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation ensures that R.E.A.D. can train new tutors to serve incoming ESL students and provide resources for all our ESL student/tutor pairs. The support from this grant has an amazing impact on our current 28 ESL students’ and their families’ lives as they continue to achieve their literacy goals and integrate into our community.” —Susan Lowe, Executive Director of R.E.A.D.

Funding will provide two sessions to train between 10 and 20 tutors, six tutor workshops for additional training, and 60 ESL language learning workbooks for the student/tutor pairs. Funding will also contribute to ESL intake and assessment testing.

R.E.A.D has seen a consistent increase of ESL students throughout their nine years of operation. General Operating support to the ESL program allows tutors to adequately and successfully meet the needs of their current student population, while increasing their capacity for new students.

Other grants awarded:

  • Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance – $50,000 per year for five years for general operating support. This funding will support existing program and services that benefit area nonprofits, while also allowing LNA to expand into new growth areas such as leadership development.
  • Ottawa Area Intermediate School District – $35,000 for Doing More. Together. Partnership Program, which will create a minimum of five videos to share with a regional and statewide audience through multiple mediums. The videos will highlight the region’s educational partnerships to attract new families, commerce, and skilled workers to the area.
  • Northwest Ottawa Chamber Foundation – $40,000 (including $10,000 from the Youth Advisory Council) for the Lakeshore Youth Leadership Connections, a program that cultivates leadership qualities in students from Grand Haven and Muskegon areas. Past funders include Grand Haven Area and Muskegon Public Schools, Muskegon Community College, 100 Men Who Care, leaders in the Grand Haven and Muskegon area, and the Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg.
  • St. Patrick – St. Anthony Parish – $10,000 for their Job Seeker Program, which provides employment attainment services to the unemployed, underemployed, and those with barriers to access employment within the Northwest Ottawa County region – specifically Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg. St. Patrick – St. Anthony’s Parish serves as the only local West Michigan Works office space in Northwest Ottawa County, and this space will allow them to provide more one-on-one time with clients.
  • Greater Ottawa County United Way – $31,691 for the Housing Next Responsive Grant Fund, which creates and funds innovative projects with local partners to support the housing needs of people in our community.

The GHACF Youth Advisory Council awarded the following additional grant:

  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum – $6,267 for Traveling STEAM Exploration program, which will serve youth (primarily ages 14-16) in the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center. In addition to STEAM projects, the program will also teach social-emotional skills that build self-confidence and increase a curiosity for science.