Midwest Energy and Communications launches grant program aimed at creating vibrant communities

Published 8:44 am Friday, January 29, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — One Cass County business is looking to help make the communities it serves a little more vibrant.

Electric cooperative Midwest Energy and Communications is inviting local nonprofit organizations serving individuals within its electric service territory to apply for support through the new Building Vibrant Communities Grant Program. The program is made possible through sponsorship dollars from MEC’s power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative.

Qualified nonprofit organizations can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to help fund projects and initiatives that support the mission of the organization. National organizations are not eligible, including local chapters.

The program has two grant cycles: Jan. 1 through June 30 and July 1 through Dec. 31, and awards are announced within 60 days following the end of the cycle deadline. Organizations may receive only one grant award each calendar year, and funds may not be used for general operating budgets or payroll expenses.

Patty Nowlin, vice president of corporate communications at MEC, said she hopes the grant program can be an extension of MEC’s mission.

“Our vision as an organization is to create vibrant, relevant and sustainable rural communities,” Nowlin said. “We do that through our business, but we like to do that through a community approach where we are supporting things in the community that also help to create vibrant, relevant and sustainable communities.”

While Nowlin said MEC often works to improve the communities it operates in through its business, volunteerism and smaller sponsorships, the Vibrant Communities Grant Program would not be possible without the sponsorship with Wolverine Power Cooperative. Wolverine also helps support MEC’s long-running Strengthening Schools Grant Program.

“This will allow us to support efforts and activities that do good things for the people we serve in this territory,” Nowlin said. “This is another way that we can do something to support not only our customers but the community as a whole. That just makes rural life and living better.”

Applications are evaluated, and funding decisions are made based on the information provided in the grant application and the impact on the individuals and communities served. Incomplete applications will not be considered, and an application is not a guarantee of funding, and $15,000 is available in each funding cycle, Nowlin said.

Nowlin said she would encourage any qualified nonprofit 501c3 organization to apply for the grant to help make their community better.

“There are so many 501c3 organizations out there doing good things helping local people in our local communities that we just wanted to create this vehicle to help support them in their efforts,” Nowlin said. “We [at MEC] are very excited about this. We want to be good stewards of these funds and ensure we are making the biggest impact for people across the community.”

For more information or to apply, visit teammidwest.com/vibrant-communities.