People Fund Grants

Give Locally and Win $100: The People Fund has raised more than $4 million for non-profit projects since 1999. Round your bill up to the nearest dollar (an average of 50 cents per month) to help your local community and get rewarded.

About the Program

Great Lakes Energy members help to enhance the quality of life for people in our communities through the People Fund. Bills of participating members are “rounded up” to the next dollar amount and grants are awarded to non-profit organizations for charitable activities throughout our service area. Grants are awarded by three independent Boards of Directors representing three geographical regions – south, central and north. There are no overhead costs – 100 percent of the money collected is returned to our communities. 

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Win $100

All contributors are entered into two annual random drawings where we give away six $100 bill credits. This is our small way of saying “thanks” to every GLE member who supports the People Fund.

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How are Grants Invested?

In order to have the greatest impact on people within the GLE service area, the People Fund will generally invest funds in project or activities that:
  • Are one-time in nature rather than ongoing or continuous
  • Benefit a large number of people
  • Leverage funds from other sources
  • Distribute funds to individuals or families in crisis
  • Help programs increase their capacity to deliver services

For more information please download the PEOPLE FUND 2021 ANNUAL REPORT

See 2022 Grant Recipients

For the first grant cycle of 2022, the People Fund’s north region board awarded 28 grant requests totaling $75,632. The grants awarded include:

  • Boyne Arts Collective, Boyne City: $2,500 for community art classes.
  • Charlevoix Area Community Pool, Charlevoix: $5,000 for the pool resurfacing project.
  • Christ Child Society Northern Michigan, Harbor Springs: $2,500 for the diaper pantry.
  • Community Recovery Alliance, Inc., Petoskey: $2,000 for Recovery Informed Workplace Program & Training.
  • Community Sharing Program, Lewiston: $750 for a food pantry computer.
  • Crawford Ausable Day Care, Inc., Grayling: $2,000 for latch key expansion.
  • Crawford County Community Christian Help Center, Grayling: $2,500 for a summer food program for children.
  • Crawford County Library, Grayling: $400 for Operation Connect equipment.
  • Eta Nu Charities, Boyne City: $1,500 for Dress for Chill clothing supplies.
  • Grass River Natural Area, Inc., Bellaire: $2,000 for Grass River Natural Area safety equipment.
  • Harbor Springs Festival of the Book, Harbor Springs: $3,000 for books for schools.
  • Hudson Township Fire and Rescue, Elmira: $1,400 for Hudson Township Fire and Rescue, address number markers.
  • Kiwanis Club of Charlevoix, Charlevoix: $1,000 for a book vending machine.
  • Manna Food Project, Harbor Springs: $2,500 for healthy food options for clients.
  • Northern Michigan Antique-Flywheelers, Walloon Lake: $6,000 for spectator bleachers.
  • Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity, Petoskey: $3,700 for tools to increase capacity.
  • Otsego Conservation District, Gaylord: $4,182 for Otsego County Demonstration Garden repairs.
  • Otsego County Commission on Aging, Gaylord: $1,500 for home-delivered hot box meals.
  • Otsego County Habitat for Humanity, Inc., Gaylord: $2,000 for the Gaylord Habitat ReStore furnace replacement.
  • PoWeR! Book Bags, Suttons Bay: $2,500 for PoWer! book bags for children in Antrim County.
  • Raven Hill Discovery Center, East Jordan: $5,000 for the Solar SMART (Science Mathematics And Related Technologies) exhibit.
  • River House, Inc., Grayling: $2,500 for a replacement technology project.
  • Tara’s Meadow Education and Retreat Center, Petoskey: $1,600 for the Beaver Island Sustainability Initiative – Student Mentorship Outdoor Education & Field Study Project.
  • The Refuge in Otsego County, Gaylord: $5,000 for Train Up Otsego.
  • Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association, Boyne City: $2,500 for excavator repair.
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1518, Gaylord: $2,600 for an electronic exterior sign for Veterans Community Park.
  • Wagbo Peace Center, East Jordan: $3,500 for Wagbo Petting Farm barn improvements.
  • Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Petoskey: $4,000 for safety upgrades to the retaining wall at Porter Street location.

The north region includes the counties of Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Montmorency, Otsego, and Oscoda.

For the first grant cycle of 2022, the People Fund’s central region board awarded 16 grant requests totaling $27,800. The grants awarded include:

  • Angels of Action, Big Rapids: $1,000 for summer family engagement, nutrition, and literacy programs.
  • Bread of Life Food Pantry, Baldwin: $2,000 for food and supplies for the greater Lake County area.
  • Carr Community Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., Branch: $2,500 for turnout gear for new volunteer firefighters.
  • Circle Rocking S Children’s Farm Inc., Free Soil: $3,000 for roof repair, asphalting for handicap, and a hard drive.
  • Gateway to Success Academy, Scottville: $2,000 for a garden and sustainability center, contingent on raising the rest of the funding needed.
  • Grant Township Fireman’s Association, Manistee: $1,900 for task-appropriate turnout gear.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Mason County, Scottville: $1,000 for their ramp program.
  • Lake County Habitat of Humanity, Baldwin: $2,500 towards home construction, contingent on raising the rest of the funding needed.
  • Lincoln Township Fire Department, Reed City: $2,400 for firefighter safety communications equipment.
  • Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, Inc., Mecosta: $1,000 for #13 and #14 honor flights and missions.
  • Norman Township Fire Department, Wellston: $1,500 for Seek Thermal imaging cameras.
  • PoWeR! Book Bags, Suttons Bay: $2,000 for PoWeR! Book Bags in Lake County, contingent on raising the rest of the funding needed.
  • Reed City Area District Library, Reed City: $2,000 for backyard games and seating.
  • Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, Ludington: $1,000 for an informational panel for the fog signal building.
  • Staircase Youth Services, Ludington: $500 for the Back-to-School Backpack Bonanza.
  • Western Michigan Fair Association, Ludington: $1,500 for roofing repair.

The central region includes the counties of Clare, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Osceola and Wexford.

For the second grant cycle of 2022, the People Fund’s south region board awarded 17 grant requests totaling $46,000. The grants awarded include:

  • Allegan United Methodist Church, Allegan: $2,600 for replacing the food pantry commercial freezer, contingent on raising the rest of the funds needed.
  • Ashland Grant Fire District, Grant: $1,500 for v-watches.
  • Bread of Life Food Pantry, Baldwin: $3,500 for food pantry items for the greater Lake County area.
  • Hart Economic and Redevelopment Team, Hart: $3,000 for Main Street outdoor speakers.
  • Hart Preservation Group, Hart: $1,000 for the Hart Historic District museum fire extinguisher project.
  • Immigrant Connection, Fishers: $3,000 for establishing an immigration legal services site in Hart.
  • Mercy Health Muskegon, Muskegon: $4,500 for Water Safety Cartoonversation books.
  • Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Inc., Mecosta: $1,500 for #13 and #14 honor flights and missions.
  • Oceana County Council on Aging, Hart: $3,300 to replace a broken stand mixer for the Senior Meal Program, contingent on raising the rest of the funds needed.
  • Oceana County Historical and Genealogical Society, Hart: $2,000 for video conferencing equipment.
  • Oceana County Medical Care Facility, Hart: $1,000 for an outdoor courtyard improvement project.
  • Project Hope of NE Allegan County, Dorr: $2,000 for personal care items, cleaning and paper products, and over-the-counter medications for pantry clients.
  • Special Olympics Michigan Area 05, Newaygo: $1,500 for uniform renewal.
  • Spiritual Care Consultants of West Michigan, Hastings: $5,000 for The Spiritual Care Children and Adolescent Program.
  • Stony Lake Therapeutic Riding Center, New Era: $6,000 for student scholarships for Stony Lake Therapeutic Riding Center.
  • Walkerville Thrives, Walkerville: $3,500 for the The Old School Recreation Center.
  • White Cloud Community Library, White Cloud: $1,100 for the Opening the Doors of Learning program.

The south region includes the counties of Allegan, Barry, Kent, Muskegon,  Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa.

Enroll in the People Fund

By allowing us to “round up” your monthly electric bill to the next dollar, you put your small change to work right in your own community. All of the money collected goes back to grant recipients. All contributors are entered into two annual drawings where we give away six $100 Great Lakes Energy bill credits. This contest is our small way of saying “thanks” to every Great Lakes Energy member who supports the People Fund. The People Fund has awarded more than $4 million to local charitable groups since 1999.

For an average round up contribution of 50 cents per month, your small change will make a BIG difference. Plus you could win $100! No billing round up contributions are used to fund this contest.

For security verification, please enter any random two digit number. For example: 92

Apply for a Grant

Grants are awarded to non-profit, charitable organizations that provide humanitarian, educational or community development services within our 26-county area. A portion of the funds may be awarded to organizations that help individuals or families in crisis or to tax exempt organizations.

Letters of interest are due April 1 and Oct. 1.
Grant applications and associated paperwork are due by April 15 and Oct. 15. 

Grants are awarded by three independent boards of volunteer directors who evaluate every application in their region—north, central or south. They evaluate each application based on the specific project and unique needs of the region, looking for programs that enhance the quality of life in our communities by:

  • Promoting good citizenship
  • Increasing the capacity of rural organizations to promote self reliance and independence
  • Supplementing local initiatives
Grants may be awarded if they:
  • Are one-time in nature, rather than on-going.
  • Benefit a large number of people
  • Leverage funds from other sources.
  • Distribute funds to organizations that help individuals or families in crisis
  • Help programs to increase their capacity to deliver services.
  • Are for a tax-exempt, non-profit or 501(c)3 organization
  • Enhance cooperation and collaboration among organizations
  • Avoid duplication of services
  • Help deliver services of an organization more effectively

Grants are generally not awarded for:

  • Daily school operations
  • Normal operating expenses
  • Fundraising or political campaigns
  • Loans or deficit spending
  • Endowment funds
  • Retroactive projects
  • Individuals
  • Faith-based organizations*

*Faith-based organizations may receive funding for projects only if the project provides services to all community members, regardless of the community member’s religious affiliation or participation, i.e. a food pantry, community dinner, etc.

Every Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member may contribute to the People Fund by authorizing the cooperative to “round up” their bill to the next highest dollar (an average of 50 cents each month or $6 per year). All contributions are tax-deductible. There is no overhead.  All of the money contributed is returned to our local communities.

Grant Application

For security verification, please enter any random two digit number. For example: 45