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 second grant cycle of 2022, the People Fund’s north region board awarded 21 grant requests totaling $62,863. The grants awarded include:

  • Antrim Conservation District-CAKE CISMA, Bellaire: $5,000 towards the purchase of a vehicle to transport their crew and job trailer.
  • Bellaire Public Schools, Bellaire: $1,200 for fabric for baby blankets made by high school students, which will be donated to the Antrim County Baby Pantry.
  • Blissfest Music Organization, Petoskey: $1,000 for front-of-house PA equipment.
  • Charlevoix Historical Society, Charlevoix: $5,000 for server and network upgrades.
  • Chief Shawano Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, East Jordan: $3,000 for a monument for unknowns buried in Eveline Township Cemetery.
  • Forest Area Community Schools, Fife Lake: $5,000 to purchase a new speaker system, wiring, cables, outlets, lights, flooring, paint, and construction materials for their stage.
  • Friends of the Kalkaska County Library, Kalkaska: $5,000 for library computers for the public.
  • Gaylord Community Productions, Gaylord: $2,600 to replace microphones and battery packs.
  • Good Neighbors Food Pantry, Boyne City: $3,798 for an additional refrigerator/freezer, contingent on raising the rest of the funding.
  • Grass River Natural Area, Inc., Bellaire: $1,350 to improve data collection on guests and wildlife for management decisions, contingent on raising the rest of the funding.
  • Great Lakes Burn Camp, Jackson: $3,000 for the Great Lakes Burn Camp Winter Camp 2023 in Cheboygan.
  • Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, Petoskey: $2,000 for Shackleton’s Incredible Journey program set, costume, and videographer expenses.
  • Lake Charlevoix Mariners, Charlevoix: $1,000 to purchase a heavy-duty boat lift, contingent on raising the rest of the funding.
  • Lake Side Elite Gymnastics, Boyne City: $3,000 for new equipment in their building expansion.
  • Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity, Petoskey: $3,000 for office furniture.
  • Otsego County United Way, Gaylord: $2,500 for emergency heating assistance funding.
  • The Baseball-Softball Fields of Boyne Inc., Boyne City: $5,000 for fencing at The Waterfront Field of Dreams Little League Park.
  • The Depot Jordan Valley Teen Center, East Jordan: $4,000 for their health and wellness enclosed trailer.
  • The Nehemiah Project, Petoskey: $1,400 for a stackable washer and dryer.
  • The Salvation Army, Petoskey: $3,000 for office furniture in the new community center.
  • Vienna Township Fire Department, Johannesburg: $2,015 for ice rescue safety equipment.

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

For the second grant cycle of 2022, the People Fund’s central region board awarded seven grant requests totaling $24,292.27. The grants awarded include:

  • Caritas Food Pantry, Custer: $2,000 for purchasing canvas bags for the pantry.
  • Eagle Village, Hersey: $1,393 to convert current fluorescent lighting to LED to increase energy efficiency.
  • Irons Seventh-day Adventist Church, Irons: $3,500 for the Irons Community Center and Food Pantry for fill, limestone, and excavation around the building, lawn, and parking lot.
  • Sandcastles Children’s Museum, Ludington: $5,000 for the Hola! Speaking Spanish at Sandcastles! exhibit.
  • Osceola County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Reed City: $7,000 for purchasing vital safety equipment for the CERT team.
  • Riverside Park Campground, Scottville: $3,000 for the City of Scottville Riverside Park & Campground public restroom refurbishment project.
  • Pathfinder Community Library, Baldwin: $2,399.97 for replacing two aging public computers and one staff computer.

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 nine grant requests totaling $32,280.35. The grants awarded include:

  • Christian Neighbors SE, Plainwell: $3,500 to purchase a cooler for their demonstration/training kitchen.
  • Congregational Kitchen, Allegan: $2,652.35 for kitchen equipment.
  • Harmonized Healing Counseling Services, Inc., White Cloud: $7,500 for their office remodel, contingent on raising the rest of the funding needed.
  • Oceana County Council on Aging, Hart: $5,498 for snow day emergency kits for seniors.
  • Open Arms Child Advocacy Center, White Cloud: $800 for transportation services.
  • Stony Lake Therapeutic Riding Center, New Era: $3,600 for their veterans’ program.
  • Sylvia’s Place, Allegan: $5,000 for a 24/7 hotline operation for survivors of domestic violence.
  • Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Grand Haven: $2,500 for Aging in Place home repairs with preference given to support a project in our service area.
  • White Lake Area Sportfishing Association, Montague: $1,230 for repairs at the DNR walleye rearing pond in Muskegon.

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.

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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