People Fund Grants

Give Locally and Win $100: The People Fund has raised more than $4.5 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 2023 ANNUAL REPORT

See 2023 Grant Recipients

For the final grant cycle of 2023, the People Fund’s north region board awarded 16 grants totaling $59,285.10. The grants awarded include:

  • American Legion Post 227, East Jordan: $5,000 for the EJ Honor and Service project.
  • Antrim County Drain Commissioner, Bellaire: $1,000 for the Citizen Precipitation project.
  • Banks Township Fire & Rescue, Ellsworth: $7,000 for dive team equipment, contingent on raising the rest of the funding.
  • Bellaire Area Historical Society, Bellaire: $7,000 for a newspaper digitization project.
  • Big Water Creative Arts, Inc., Petoskey: $4,000 for equipment for the Rock Jam programs.
  • Camp Quality, Boyne City: $1,503.99 for a Camp Quality Teen Weekend.
  • Charlevoix Historical Society, Charlevoix: $7,000 for roof replacement on the Charlevoix Historic Train Depot.
  • Cheboygan County Habitat for Humanity, Inc., Cheboygan: $2,500 for the Technology for our Future program.
  • Free Rein Farm, Inc., Bellaire: $900 for equine-assisted learning at local schools.
  • Friendship Centers of Emmet County, Petoskey: $2,000 for a Meals on Wheels replacement vehicle.
  • G.R.A.C.E. Center, Grayling: $1,075 for an AED, contingent on raising the rest of the funding.
  • Kalkaska Commission on Aging, Kalkaska: $1,075 for an AED.
  • Rotary Club of Charlevoix Charities, Inc., Charlevoix: $5,000 for the Mount McSauba (Charlevoix) Community Playground build.
  • The Salvation Army, Petoskey: $5,000 for a replacement copier/printer/scanner.
  • Village of Ellsworth, Ellsworth: $4,231.11 for the River Park playground equipment upgrade.
  • Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Petoskey: $5,000 for technology for the Empowering Bright Futures program.

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

For the final grant cycle of 2023, the People Fund’s central region board awarded four grants totaling $15,950. The grants awarded include:

  • Luther Fire District No. 1, Luther: $5,000 for Scott Air Pak.
  • Mason County Historical Society, Ludington: $2,050 for exterior wood door repairs at the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, contingent on raising the rest of the funding.
  • Meceola Currie Comfort Home, Reed City: $3,900 for a snowblower and a printer.
  • Sandcastles Children’s Museum, Ludington: $5,000 for the Budding Naturalist exhibit.

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

For the final grant cycle of 2023, the People Fund’s south region board awarded 10 grants totaling $38,200. The grants awarded include:

  • City on a Hill Ministries, Zeeland: $5,000 for an internet upgrade and phone system replacement.
  • Helping Hands, Inc., Howard City: $1,000 for food restocking.
  • Hesperia Beautification, Hesperia: $700 for Story Walk, a public art exhibit.
  • Newaygo County Environmental Coalition, Newaygo: $3,200 for the NCEC Michigan Green Schools project.
  • Newaygo County Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect, White Cloud: $3,000 for child forensic interviews.
  • Oceana County Animal Friends, Pentwater: $500 for the Union Street TNR project.
  • Shelby Optimist Club, Shelby: $10,000 for ceiling repair.
  • Spiritual Care Consultants of West Michigan, Hastings: $7,500 for the Spiritual Care Children and Adolescent program.
  • West Central Michigan Horticultural Research, Inc., Hart: $2,500 for the Oceana County F.I.R.S.T. Motor Robotics Team.
  • Wings of Hope Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc., Allegan: $4,800 for telehealth technology.

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 $4.5 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.


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

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