We are pleased to announce thirteen third-round grant awards, totaling $450,085, in support of Northwest Ottawa County and our surrounding communities. This includes a $75,000 grant to Momentum Center for their Teen/Pre-Teen Program, which provides community and support to area youth and focuses on positive relationships, mental health, and wellbeing, with the goal of reducing mental health crises in the youth population.

“Our teenagers are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. With this generous support from the community foundation, we will be able to expand the Momentum Center Teen Program so that we can provide a place of respite for our young people no matter who they are or where they are on their journey.” — Barbara Lee VanHorssen, Experi-Mentor at the Momentum Center

The program is for youth ages 11-17 (or 18 years if in high school) in the Northwest Ottawa County community. Momentum Center Teens is modeled after the Momentum Center’s adult program and practices a people-first environment. Specifically, the program strives to increase the number of participants and maintain or increase participation and engagement rates. The program also aims to decrease self-reported levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, substance use, and stigma while improving self-esteem, quality of relationships, and overall well-being of its members.

“Our young people will become more resilient as they learn the skills of building healthy relationships, effective communication, and how to identify and seek out resources when needed,” said VanHorssen. “The Tri-Cities is fortunate to have a community foundation that is so in tune with community needs and so generous in its support of strategies for meeting those needs.”


Other grants awarded:


Ready for School

$35,000 for Reach Out and Read: West Michigan Regional Healthcare Collaborative, a North Ottawa Demonstration Pilot that provides developmentally appropriate books to health care providers to give to caregivers. The program encourages caregivers to share books regularly with their children, equips parents and guardians with the knowledge and tools they need to nurture early learning, and builds home libraries. This cost-efficient, evidence-based program gives early literacy tools to families of young children, which promotes early literacy, healthy child development, and strong parent-child relationships.


Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM)

$20,000 to engage Grand Haven Area Public Schools (GHAPS) third-grade students through art education. The GRAM will partner with GHAPS to engage all third-grade students in the children’s focused exhibition, “David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling,” throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.

The program includes the following: students will visit the GRAM and receive docent-guided tours of the exhibition and art-making workshops; GHAPS elementary art teachers will receive a professional development workshop led by GRAM staff and will be eligible for credit toward continuing education requirements; students will have an opportunity to participate in hands-on artmaking workshops in the GRAM studio; teachers will utilize curricula developed by GRAM in their classrooms following the visit to nurture and develop student learning; finally, GRAM will host a student artwork exhibit and reception for students and families to celebrate their creations.


Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates

$20,000 to expand their Legal Outreach Program into Northwest Ottawa County to ensure immigrants and refugees have accurate information about their rights, resources, and community programs available to them. The program includes education regarding rights and resources for immigrant and refugee populations; tools and information to aid in the avoidance of fraud and exploitation; and connection to resources to support the development of stability and security. LIA is the only organization in Ottawa County to provide low-cost, quality immigration legal services.


ODC Network

$101,000 for their Cultural History Center (CHC), which will provide hands-on learning to children and patrons while also creating an authentic, immersive experience of Indigenous Peoples’ history and culture in an engaging and inclusive way. The CHC will include nearly a mile of trail that allows visitors to interact with nature while also exploring the indigenous cultures and histories through exhibits such as French Fur-trader Outpost, Winter Village, Archery Shade Structure, Amphitheater and Fire Pit, and Waginogun. The completion of the CHC will provide students and their families (specifically third, fifth, and seventh graders) access to a new educational site regarding local history, indigenous peoples, European migration, and the impact humans have had on the environment.



$15,000 to build greater capacity and presence throughout the Lakeshore to support small business owners and entrepreneurs through staff support and strategic, purposeful marketing activity such as participation in local membership organizations and events.


Walden Green Montessori School

$15,080 for the purchase of varied, relevant, current, and engaging books for classroom libraries, as well as bookshelves and book bins. Funding will also support Family Literacy Nights, which will provide parents with tools to be partners in their children’s success, and support a summer reading program.


West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum

$12,005 to create a sustainability network in Northwest Ottawa County that will include four main components: creating the Grand Haven Area Sustainability Leadership Committee and Sustainable Grand Haven Forums, implementing waste audits for 12 Grand Haven area organizations, and a collaborative outreach and public relations campaign highlighting successful sustainability initiatives at area businesses and organizations. The collaborative will provide participating organizations peer-to-peer learning opportunities and improve waste management practices including the establishment of a commercial composting program for local businesses.


Feeding America West Michigan

$20,000 to expand their freezer storage, which will allow FAWM to accept upwards of 400,000 additional pounds of donated, individually quick-frozen product comprised of healthy, local produce and protein. FAWM reclaims large amounts of surplus food from farmers, retailers, and manufacturers and is responsible for inspecting, sorting, and repacking it for distribution to over 900 partner food security organizations throughout West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. In turn, this product will be available for distribution throughout FAWM’s service area – including food security programs in our community.


Grand Haven Area Public Schools

$12,000 to provide training and education regarding the development of social-emotional well-being skills for administration and staff at GHAPS in partnership with Opportunity Thrive, a nonprofit focused on developing thriving educators and schools. The training is designed to strengthen the resiliency of the adults that serve students across GHAPS and further contribute to improved mental health, self-care, and employee retention.


Mercy Health Partners

$95,000 for the third, and final, phase of the Mercy Health Muskegon Medical Center capital campaign. A component of this campaign includes the Healing Garden, which will feature a 6,200 square foot central main garden, with an expansive green space that includes accessible walkways, as well as seating and shade provided by trees. The Healing Garden is a critical component of Mercy Health’s aspiration to care for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Patients, visitors, and staff will have the opportunity to utilize the garden independently for reflection, intercession, recuperation, and recovery.


Ottawa County Department of Public Health

$17,000 for Ottawa Food Healthy Eating Campaign, which will allow Ottawa Food to partner with a local marketing firm to create and implement a public awareness campaign regarding the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption, including nutrition and cooking resources. According to the 2017 Community Health Needs Assessment, more than 80% of adults in Ottawa County and over 60% of youth currently consume fewer than five servings of fruits and veggies per day.


Harbor Humane Society

$13,000 for “People and Pets – A Resource for All, Keeping Families Together” to provide individuals with limited finances increased access to services that contribute to healthier pets and families, such as spaying/neutering, on-site vaccinations, etc.


For more information, visit our grants page or contact Holly Cole, VP of Grants & Program, at hcole@ghacf.org.