JACKSON, Mich., April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Consumers Energy Foundation is supporting Michigan communities and an innovative solution to protect healthcare workers with over $600,000 in grants to help the continuing battle against COVID-19. These grants plus the $500,000 donations announced in March bring the Foundation's contribution to COVID-19 support to over $1 million.
"It's inspirational to see how Michiganders are stepping up to fight the COVID-19 virus," said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. "As our company continues to provide critical energy to Michigan's homes and hospitals, our foundation is honored to support the front line of this war against COVID – through providing additional protective equipment for doctors and nurses, helping our senior citizens stay safe in isolation, and ensuring everyone in Michigan has access to food."
Grants totaling $300,000 will be distributed to 30 community foundations supporting 45 counties across Consumers Energy's service territory.
"Consumers Energy Foundation's latest commitment to address the challenges of the coronavirus is an investment in local problem solving," said Kyle Caldwell, CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations. "Michigan's community foundations are connected to the issues and nonprofits that are most relevant during this crisis. This latest grantmaking will go a long way in supporting local partnerships, front line nonprofits, United Ways and others helping Michiganders' resilience."
The Food Bank Council of Michigan is receiving $140,000 to support the production of 5,000 quarantine boxes for isolated and home-bound senior citizens, each containing a 7-day supply of nutritionally-balanced, shelf-stable food.
A $100,000 grant is going to Michigan State University to support the work of MSU Extension to develop an innovative process to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 using commercial ovens to decontaminate personal protection masks to help alleviate the shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.
"Our scientists in the Food Processing and Innovation Center were able to spool up this process in less than a week," said Jeff Dwyer, director of MSU Extension. "Having clean PPE, especially N95 masks has the potential to save lives in hospital settings in Michigan and throughout the world. We are grateful that the Consumers Energy Foundation saw the potential and is willing to help fund our front-line workers."
Another $90,000 will be distributed across Michigan to support local nonprofits addressing the crisis.
Separately, Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe and her husband, Eric, recently made a donation in the company's hometown of Jackson of $1 million for a relief fund to provide grants for small businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Foundation grants being announced today are in addition to the $500,000 it provided last month to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Michigan Association of United Ways. The Food Bank Council of Michigan will use $250,000 from these funds to help fill gaps where schools are unable to provide food for children, vulnerable seniors and those who need food for their families but cannot work due to COVID-19. The Michigan Association of United Ways is using the $250,000 from the Foundation to deploy emergency response activities in local communities, including to ensure sustainability to nonprofits so the organizations can continue addressing basic needs.
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider. The foundation enables communities to thrive and grow by investing in what's most important to Michigan — its people, our planet and Michigan's prosperity. In 2019, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed more than $11.5 million to Michigan nonprofits. For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy Foundation