GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD TV8)-The Consumers Energy Foundation announced today $500,000 in grant funding to help two statewide organizations — the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) and the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) — to provide direct assistance and necessities to Michiganders. The grant funding is part of the Consumers Energy Foundation’s commitment to investing in Michigan’s people and addressing critical and emergent needs in a meaningful way.

“As costs continue to rise in nearly every facet of our lives, we know many in our state are facing significant challenges to accessing basics like food and safe housing,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Consumers Energy Foundation is committed to eliminating whatever barriers possible to those basics, and these grants will allow two organizations that are out in our communities every day to continue and expand the work they’re doing to connect people and families with the resources they need to thrive.”

The two $250,000 grants will allow both organizations to distribute the funding throughout the state where the need is greatest, with a focus on addressing immediate needs for residents within the Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed (ALICE) population. Specifically, the funding will provide:

  • $250,000 for FBCM to distribute to food banks for the purchase of food, which has become increasingly difficult due to increasing food prices and supply chain shortages; every $1 will support six meals, resulting in 1.5 million meals.
  • $250,000 for MAUW to distribute to local United Ways to provide direct assistance with basic needs, including housing repairs, gas and transportation assistance, rental assistance and other necessities.

Those in the ALICE population do not qualify for federal assistance yet are often one major expense — a car repair, broken water heater or unplanned medical expense — away from financial disaster.

“The Food Bank Council of Michigan is grateful, and very appreciative, for the support of the Consumers Energy Foundation to help fund the work of our food bank network to address food insecurity in Michigan,” said Food Bank Council of Michigan executive director Dr. Phil Knight.  “For so many people in our state a daily meal has become an impossible choice between food and other crucial needs, such as electricity, childcare, or medicine.  Food banks across the state are seeing an uptick in the number of food insecure individuals due to inflation.  This generous donation from the Consumers Energy Foundation is very timely and impactful and will go a long way toward increasing food access for Michigan residents.”

“The Michigan Association of United Ways works together with Local United Ways across the state every day to help ALICE families thrive,” said Teresa Kmetz, Board Chair of the Michigan Association of United Ways. “With the generous and continued support of the Consumers Energy Foundation, the Michigan United Way Network is able to advance our work to help Michigan’s 1.5 million ALICE families meet their most basic needs – housing, child care, food, technology, health care, and transportation. We are grateful to have steadfast partners, like Consumers Energy Foundation, alongside us in this work.”

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 2021, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed over $17.5 million to Michigan nonprofits. 

Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.