Consumers foundation to award $50K to small towns in need

Roger Curtis Courtesy Consumers Energy

The Consumers Energy Foundation is bringing back a competition that will award $50,000 for big ideas proposed by Michigan’s small towns.

The Jackson-based charitable arm of Consumers Energy said Friday that its Put Your Town on the Map pitch competition will fund three projects to build strong communities. Towns with a population of up to 10,000 can submit proposals through Feb. 24 of “innovative ideas that attract visitors to downtowns; focus on housing, education or employment; create community pride; and more.”

Consumers Energy and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) will select 10 communities to make their pitch at the Small Town and Rural Development Conference, to be held virtually April 13 and 14.

The top three winners will receive grants worth $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.

“The pandemic has created challenges for communities of all sizes, but it hasn’t stopped communities from embracing bold ideas to put themselves on the map,” said Roger Curtis, Consumers Energy vice president of public affairs. “Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring Michigan’s communities of all sizes are growing and thriving, and we’re excited to provide financial help to turn original ideas into reality.”

Consumers created the competition in 2019, awarding Port Austin, Spring Lake and Sparta a total of $15,000 in grants from the foundation. Last year’s competition was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community leaders can learn more and apply at CEDAM’s website.

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