New programs, new equipment and new opportunities for children in the Greenville Public School (GPS) district were made possible again this April because of the combined efforts and resources of the Greenville Area Community Foundation (GACF) and the Education Foundation of Greenville (EFG). Over $243,700 in grant funding from the GACF and EFG will enhance the education of GPS students for the 2016-17 school year. Another over $60,000 was awarded by the GACF to area non-profit organizations for great educational programs and projects throughout the county.

The GACF awarded grants from the Grace Sagendorf Education Fund, the Sagendorf Opportunities for Success Fund, the Ray J. & Mary G. Tower Family Fund, the Catherine Stall & June Motley Fund, and the Carl Barberi Caring for Kids Fund. In total, $291,826 was awarded by the GACF with $228,396 going directly to Greenville Public Schools.

The largest grant, $110,458, was awarded to GPS for Google Chromebooks. “The generous K-12 Chromebook grant funded by GACF in support of Greenville Public Schools, will allow us to nearly double technology accessibility for students across the district. Students will benefit as technology integration for instruction will be on the same devices used for state summative assessment -with keyboards being imperative,” says Chief Academic Officer, Michelle Blaszczynski.

“Technology has become a very important tool to teaching and learning, and Chromebooks were in high demand, as there just weren’t enough to meet all the needs in the past.  A “roar” of excitement was heard across the district when news of this grant funding was shared.  We are very blessed by the support of both GACF and EFG who are our partners in education,” she added.

Another large, $31,147 grant will fund new classroom furniture for four Greenville High School classrooms that hope to reflect the needs of 21st Century learners. A $23,514 grant will provide 60 AlphaBetterUp desks and stools for the 5th grade classrooms at Cedar Crest Elementary. Cedar Crest Elementary will also get a new sound and projection system for the gymnasium with a $24,179 grant. Another significant grant went to the High School for new equipment in the strength and conditioning room that will allow the flexibility to train various students and athletes in a more efficient and safe manner. Additional grants to GPS included $6,535 to purchase audio systems for the Early Childhood Special Education and Great Start Collaborative classrooms at Cedar Crest, as well as, new playground equipment for preschool-age children at the school; a new planer for the woods lab at the High School; $3,000 grant to expand the nonfiction libraries for 8th grade English Language Arts classrooms at the Middle School; and a $4,225 grant for a Summer Library Program for elementary & middle school students.

Six additional organizations received grants from the GACF including the Montcalm County Great Start Collaborative to help fund an Early Childhood Conference, their Dolly Parton Imagination Library program and math and literacy take-home backpacks; and Mount Calvary Christian Preschool and Child Care for safety enhancements to their center and its participants and families. St. Charles Catholic School received two grants – 16 Chromebooks and stability balls – totaling $7,024. Faith Community Christian School was also awarded two grants for 12 iPads and funds to help with preschool start-up costs. Another grant went to Montcalm Community College (MCC) to help with the purchase of a 24 foot trailer to transport equipment to local schools to get kids interested in careers in manufacturing, robotics and welding.

A large, $20,000 grant was awarded again this year to the Grand Rapids Symphony Society for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Greenville Area Music Education Programs. These programs provide music education opportunities to GPS students through the Artists-in-Residence program serving Kindergarten through sixth grade, as well as High School and Middle School students in Side-by-Side Concerts and a pilot Middle School education initiative.

Greenville Public Schools and St. Charles Catholic School also received grants for their Opportunities for Success programs. These programs help students fulfill a need that might otherwise go unmet, and to help make the student more successful in their educational environment.                                                           

The Education Foundation of Greenville (EFG) awarded thirteen grants totaling $15,400. A $2,097 grant went to Cedar Crest Elementary for safe, age appropriate playground equipment for preschool students, and two child-sized stationary bikes will provide another opportunity for movement throughout the day for Cedar Crest students. Another large grant will be used to purchase a robotics kit to help Middle School Innovative Solutions students learn robotics and coding, while a $2,000 grant will fund book clubs and support the literacy and critical thinking skills of 8th grade students at the school.  Baldwin Heights Elementary school received three grants including a $400 award to build a garden shed to store materials and provide a place to transplant seedlings and seeds for the Baldwin Heights Garden; Stand Up Desks to provide 5th grade students who struggle with maintaining focus, an option to stand up while working to increase on-task behavior; and a $965 grant to provide sensory materials and behavioral modification aids to help students with behavioral deficits. Three grants were awarded to Walnut Hills Elementary as well. A $500 grant will provide Epi-Pens to the staff at Children’s Corner for emergencies where a child may have an undiagnosed allergy, and another will provide at-risk readers with headphones for listening to audio books and using reading applications on tablets. They also received a grant to provide a “Kindergarten Kit” to all Kindergarten families to help them become engaged with their child’s education. The district received another two grants: $1000 to support the GPS Young Yellow Jacket Running Clubs and another $1,000 that will support the purchase of safety belts, rain ponchos, crossing guard vests and hand held signs for the safety patrol at all four elementary buildings.

Both Foundations are pleased to be able to support educational programs and projects within the Greenville school system.

The Greenville Area Community Foundation will award grants again this fall and all Greenville area non-profit, tax exempt organizations are encouraged to apply. The deadline for grant applications for the Fall General Grant Cycle is August 12, 2016. The August 12 deadline also applies to the Lakeview Area Community Fund, and the Meijer Children’s Health Care Fund that awards grants to organizations that provide healthcare programs for indigent children.

For further information on the Greenville Area Community Foundation and the grant process contact Amy O’Brien, GACF Director of Grants & Communications at amy@gacfmi.org or by phone at 616.754.2640. You can also visit the website at www.gacfmi.org for applications and additional information. Questions about the Education Foundation of Greenville can be directed to Wendy Baty at edufound@greenville.k12.mi.us or www.efgmi.com.