Rotary Charities of Traverse City Announces “Emerging Needs” Grant Recipients

Rotary CharitiesTen different projects all across northern lower Michigan are getting a financial boost.

Rotary Charities of Traverse City is making the announcement that $406,000 in grants to split between ten community initiatives.  The money comes from the Emerging Needs Fund, which supports efforts that aim to address significant community needs.

Sakura Takano Rotary

Sakura Takano, Rotary Charities CEO

One focus of the grants is childcare, including funding for a community daycare co-op in the Commongrounds development near downtown Traverse City.  Rotary Charities CEO Sakura Takano says, “We’re also having a few grants related to early childhood education as well. So that’s pretty exciting.  I feel like we’re putting our resources in areas, and being a part of something much bigger, and just happy to be a part of it.”

Other projects include things like behavioral health, community policing, and housing. “I think one of the exciting pieces of our Emerging Needs grant is providing grant funding to projects that are so close to getting their funding through, to be able to put shovels in the ground and get housing solutions to people in the community,” Takano says.

Emerging Needs Grant Recipients

The Friendship Center – Suttons Bay, MI
LIFT Program Expansion – $41,600
Leelanau Investing for Teens (LIFT) is an afterschool mentorship program committed to empowering youth to discover and embrace their strengths. In response to community input and growing need, LIFT is building partnerships with Leelanau County schools to establish middle school afterschool programming at Suttons Bay Public Schools for the 2022-23 school year. Rotary Charities grant funding will support a hiring a Middle School Program Leader.

Goodwill Northern Michigan – Traverse City, MI
North Boardman Community Policing Program – $60,000
Through a collaborative partnership with Goodwill Northern Michigan, Traverse City Police Department (TCPD) seeks to advance positive outcomes for people experiencing homelessness and the community, with a focus on the North Boardman area of downtown Traverse City. Rotary Charities grant funding will provide support for a Community Police Officer to work with a TCPD Police Social Worker and Goodwill’s Outreach Workers and the NW MI Coalition to End Homelessness to provide effective resources to individuals experiencing homelessness and/or health emergencies, including mental health crises.

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians – Peshawbestown, MI
Lower Boardman-Ottaway River Cultural Program – $25,000
In collaboration with the Great Lakes Fishery Commision (GLFC) FishPass Outreach and Education Team, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB) seeks to deepen tribal cultural awareness and perspective in local community culture. Rotary Charities grant funding will provide support to the GTB Natural Resources and Culture and Language Departments in their efforts to gather, review, and apply Traditional Ecological Knowledge in local community planning efforts around rivers and watersheds including the Lower Boardman-Ottaway River.

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region – Traverse City, MI
New Waves Housing Development – $50,000
Through a collaborative partnership, New Waves United Church of Christ (NWUCC) and Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region (HFHGTR) seek to address the regional shortage of workforce and affordable housing by building 14 homes on a church-owned parcel at the intersection of M-72 and Bugai Road in Leelanau County. Six of the homes will be part of HFHGTR’s home ownership program, one will be church staff housing, and the remaining seven units will be owned and managed by NWUCC as part of a low-cost rental program. Rotary Charities grant funding will support initial pre-development costs of the site, including infrastructure like roads, wells, and electricity.

HomeStretch Nonprofit Housing Corporation – Suttons Bay, MI
Vineyard View Townhouse Apartments – $60,000
HomeStretch, in partnership with Leelanau Christian Neighbors, is seeking to alleviate the affordable housing crisis in Leelanau County by developing eight affordable residential apartment units in Suttons Bay on a parcel of land donated by the Leelanau County Land Bank Authority. Conditions of the rezoning of the property require a 20-year deed restriction requiring that the units will be occupied by persons with an annual income not to exceed 80% of area median income. Rotary Charities grant funding will provide support to close the funding gap needed to begin construction of the project.

Kalkaska County Library – Kalkaska, MI
Updating Books in Kalkaska Middle and High Schools – $10,000
Kalkaska County Library seeks to increase the number of Kalkaska Middle and High School students and faculty who utilize the school libraries and improve the district’s literacy rate by updating the school library books and resources and replacing worn and outdated titles. Rotary Charities grant funding will provide support to purchase approximately 400 new books for each school.

Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region – 10 Counties Behavioral Health Initiative Action Team Support – $25,000
The Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region (NMCHIR) launched the Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) in 2021 in response to the spiraling behavioral health crisis and critical lack of resources in Northern Michigan. Through input gathered from hundreds of stakeholders from across the region and action at a BHI Summit, 12 BHI Action Teams of cross-sector leaders, staff, and local youth were formed and have been working towards goals that promote wellbeing and resiliency and seek to improve access to mental health services. Rotary Charities grant funding will support the implementation of the Action Teams’ collaboratively-developed projects.

Northern Michigan Health Consortium – Traverse City, MI
Crisis Wellness Clinic Project Director – $50,000
In response to an identified lack of adequate mental health crisis services, a highly collaborative Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) Action Team of Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region (NMCHIR) is working to create a Crisis-Wellness Center in Traverse City, which would offer support and connections to services for people of any age regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. The Clinic will strive to alleviate and stabilize those experiencing a mental health crisis and reduce unnecessary visits to the emergency department, inpatient psychiatric units, or jail. Rotary Charities grant funding will provide support for a Project Director to move from planning to implementation.

Traverse City Area Public Schools – Traverse City, MI
Peer-to-Peer Program Development – $45,000
In an effort to raise awareness of mental wellbeing and reduce the stigma of mental health among students, Traverse City Area Public Schools is bringing University of Michigan’s Peer to Peer program to Traverse City Central High School and West Senior High School. The program will train students to watch for signs like social isolation or feelings of hopelessness, and learn to monitor their own emotions and take care of themselves, seeking support from adults when they need it. The program will also create dedicated sanctuary spaces in both buildings where students can recharge and receive needed support. Rotary Charities funding will provide support to pilot the project during the 2022-23 school year.

United Way of Northwest Michigan – Traverse City, MI
Northern Blooms Montessori Family Center – $40,000
Northern Blooms Montessori Family Center, a community-centric early childhood program, will offer childcare spots for up to 20 children aged 12-36 months. With its facility located in the Commongrounds Co-op development on Eighth Street, Northern Blooms will offer residents and employees of downtown Traverse City a convenient option for quality, affordable childcare with cost of services based on a unique equityfocused financial structure. Rotary Charities grant funding will provide support for build out of two classrooms and furnishings.