Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Awards $2 Million

The Detroit-based Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has announced grants totaling $2 million in support of programs aimed at improving access to healthy food for children and seniors in southeast Michigan.

Twenty grants were awarded through the foundation's Healthy Food Connect program, a two-year regional funding initiative that seeks to connect children and seniors in the region to people, programs, and services working to ensure they have healthy food options every day. To that end, the program provides two different levels of funding — Leadership grants of up to $200,000 in support of large-scale programs with the potential to have systemic impact, and Local Impact grants of up to $75,000 in support of projects with a more modest reach or that test new ideas.

Recipients of Leadership grants include the Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp., which was awarded $135,000 in support of its efforts to expand and coordinate the sale of affordable healthy food in fresh food pop-up markets in the region; Elder Law of Michigan, which will receive $200,000 for an integrated system designed to improve participation among eligible seniors in food assistance programs; and Food Gatherers, which was awarded $200,000for a program designed to boost access to surplus fresh produce among low-income youth and seniors in Washtenaw County.

Recipients of Local Impact grants include the Coalition on Temporary Shelter, which was awarded $75,000 in support of a program that provides a fine dining experience featuring locally grown and healthfully prepared foods and nutrition education to homeless children and their parents; Detroit Friendship House Inc., which will receive $31,000 to provide access to healthy produce to children from diverse backgrounds through a community garden in Hamtramck; and Greening of Detroit, which was awarded $75,000 to create community gardens at public housing developments in the Detroit metro area.

"We are pleased to support a diverse group of nonprofit organizations in pooling their collective expertise and resources to make a difference in the lives of children and seniors," said CFSEM president Mariam C. Noland. "This is one of the largest regional healthy food access initiatives ever undertaken in southeast Michigan, and we believe it is going to have an impact on our youngest and oldest residents for years to come."