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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary Develops Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards

Alpena, MI (April 2022)—“The best way to get someone to protect something is to get them to love it and the best way to get them to love it is for them to experience it.” That’s one of the mottos driving the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (The Sanctuary), says Superintendent, Jeff Gray. Located in Alpena, the 4,300 square-mile, federally-protected marine sanctuary is the nation’s first freshwater sanctuary and contains over 200 of the world’s best-preserved historic shipwrecks.

One

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Stories of ImpactNatural Environment

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Connects Neighborhoods and Preserves Ecology with its Southwest Greenway

Detroit, MI (April 2022)—In 2003, a small group of local leaders presented a bold vision for Detroit’s waterfront. The vision was inspired by the belief that all Detroiters should have safe, clean, accessible, and welcoming places to gather on the river. From this vision, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy was born, and a plan emerged for a five-and-a-half-mile public space spanning the Ambassador Bridge to the MacArthur Bridge at Belle Isle. Today, the riverfront welcomes more than three million visitors annually.

Buil

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center Creates Career Paths for Detroiters

Detroit, MI (April, 2022) - Veronica Williams was living in a homeless shelter when she started the Fundamentals of Industrial Sewing and Production (FISP) curriculum through Detroit’s Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC). She was uncertain of her next step in life, but began to find new purpose as a student in FISP.  FISP trained Veronica not only in traditional sewing skills but in advanced and emerging technologies — all paths to high-potential careers throughout the sewn goods industry. For Veronica, this opened the door to a new beginning. She aced the course and had the opportunity to become one of ISAIC’s first paid apprentices, the next step to a future with unlimited possibilities.

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Lean Rocket Lab Empowers Local Entrepreneurs

Jackson, MI (April, 2022) - Felicia is a single mom living in Jackson, Michigan, with big goals of owning and running a food business. She’s been diligently saving money with the hopes of eventually buying a food truck to launch her dreams . It’s small businesses like Felicia’s that drive communities and economies forward. In fact, 64% of the jobs created in the United States  in 2019 were created by small businesses. Yet at the same time, many small businesses fail to thrive due to financial, educational and social barriers. This is particularly true in small communities such as ,  Jackson, Michigan. One of the missions of Jackson’s Lean Rocket Lab is to support local entrepreneurial ideas like Felicia’s and give  small businesses the best chance to succeed.

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Launching Dreams into Action at the Allen Neighborhood Center Accelerator Kitchen

Lansing, MI (November, 2021) -You can feel the excitement when you walk into the Allen Neighborhood Center’s Rathbun Accelerator Kitchen in Lansing. Four small food businesses — Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes, Tantay Peruvian Cuisine, Smoothie Queen, and Gogi 2 — recently opened in this sparklingly new, shared-used kitchen, taking the next step in their entrepreneurial food journeys, supported by a Walters Family Foundation grant.

All

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Supporting Culinary Visionaries in Eastern Market’s Metro Accelerator

Detroit, MI (November, 2021) - Eastern Market Partnership is known for connecting Detroiters to fresh and affordable food. They also excel at providing a suite of tools to help food-based businesses launch, scale-up, and succeed.  Since 2015, Eastern Market has offered affordable shared commercial kitchen space. Now, with support from a Walters Family Foundation grant, its Eastern Market Metro Accelerator is going a step further. This 15,000-square-foot facility is divided into eight ready-to-occupy suites for emerging food businesses to expand their production, limit displacement and keep creative entrepreneurship within the Eastern Market district. It also provides invaluable business coaching support and networking connections.

Curr

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Pivoting in the Pandemic to Help Families Thrive with Downtown Boxing Gym

Detroit, MI (November 2021)—The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an incredibly challenging time for students, parents and teachers alike. The stressors of online schooling and work-from-home set-ups created less than ideal environments for families. Luckily, spaces like the Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG) exist, a free academic and athletic program that provides Detroit students with the tools they need to succeed. Since 2007, the organization has provided tutoring, mentorship, enrichment programs, college and career prep, social-emotional skills building, and basic needs support.

Duri

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Stories of ImpactNatural Environment

Restoring Rivers, Connecting Communities with Huron Pines

Grayling, MI (June 2020)—From fishing and canoeing to kayaking, swimming and picnicking at the water’s edge, the recreation on our Michigan rivers is priceless. Yet hundreds of our precious water resources are struggling to stay resilient. Sometimes that means that these rivers are backed up by dams or sediment, making them susceptible to flooding or difficult for fish to traverse. These types of issues can affect the health of our waters, fisheries and the outdoor fun we have with our families.

The

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

From Idea to Ownership: Allen Neighborhood Center’s Accelerator Program Empowers Food Entrepreneurship

Lansing, MI (June, 2021) -Breaking into the food industry can require a lot of grit and hard work, not to mention extensive capital and market savvy. It’s an enormous undertaking for a sole entrepreneur. To ease the burden, shared Incubator kitchens have been popping up all over the U.S., including 15 in Michigan. One such Incubator space was opened by the Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing, and has since supported the dreams of 57 small food businesses.

Whil

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