“For many of Michigan’s small communities, funding for one big project can make the difference for years of business attraction, economic development, and population growth,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Consumers Energy Foundation is proud to sponsor this competition to help enable creative ideas from passionate community members to give new life to small towns across the state.”
The Put Your Town on the Map competition seeks to reward innovative ideas that attract visitors to downtowns, advance housing, education or employment, cultivate community pride and more. Community leaders can learn more and apply here.
The Consumers Energy Foundation and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) will select 10 finalists to make their pitches at the Small Town and Rural Development Conference in June. The top three winners will receive grants worth $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Consumers Energy started the competition in 2019. In 2023, grant dollars were awarded to Fennville to install bilingual community wayfinding signs, Reed City for the Crossroads Recreation Connection, and Harbor Beach to expand community gardening.
"I can imagine Hart a year from now with 75-100 visitors a day to see the Tin Man, walking through our artisan marketplace and reviewing local products, and shopping in Hart," said Jim Evans, Hart City Council member. The City of Hart was a 2022 grantee for its Hart Project Initiative to bring more art, including a 20-foot tin man sculpture holding a huge heart, in the city’s downtown.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. The Foundation contributes to the growth and strengthening of Michigan communities by investing in what’s most important — our people, our planet and Michigan’s prosperity. In 2023, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed more than $11 million to Michigan nonprofits. For more information, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.