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Benzie Nonprofits Receive Rotary Charities Grants

Grow Benzie
Grow Benzie Garden
Benzie Cognition
Cognition Snake

Two Benzie County nonprofits are among those getting support from Rotary Charities of Traverse City.

Rotary Charities recently announced its spring grant cycle – and their reach extends beyond Grand Traverse County.

Grow Benzie has been planted in Benzonia for the past twelve years. They now partner with more than 20 other organizations they refer to as the “Benzie Hive”. With a $50,000 dollar grant from Rotary, they plan to improve collaboration and cooperation with their groups throughout the county.

Grow Benzie Executive Director Josh Stoltz says, “We call it the Benzie Hive. And we have 24 organizations that either utilize space here on our 4-acre campus, or utilize some of the services we offer like marketing or administrative support… we can see how we can cross-pollinate … and use this as an opportunity to be more efficient and not duplicate services within the county.”

Grow Benzie plans to hire a resource manager to manage the facility and work on outreach and fund development with their member organizations. Stoltz says they can help anyone in the community looking for services or anyone looking for places to volunteer.

Just down the road in Beulah – the Cognition Science and Discovery Center is also getting a boost from Rotary Charities.

They’re calling it phase two of “Operation Growth Spurt.”  The interactive, hands-on science playground has science exhibits, experiments, and even live animals. They say it’s designed – quite literally – for kids of all ages.  Cognition Executive Director and Co-Founder Kimmee Wenkel says, “We say it’s for ‘kids’ of all ages. Because really we want to make sure the parents and grandparents that come in here also are inspired, are learning something. It tends to set the tone for our younger friends when are adults are investigating and learning too.”

Cognition plans to use their $50,000 grant to build new exhibits indoors and out. They say COVID has extended their reach – with people from all over the state stopping by to make Cognition part of their “staycation”.

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