Consumers Energy Foundation gives $500k to Nature Conservancy, Genesee Conservation District

JACKSON–The Consumers Energy Foundation announced today it awarded $500,000 in grant funding to two organizations—the Nature Conservancy-Michigan Chapter and the Genesee Conservation District—for its 2023 Planet Awards. The two grants, each totaling $250,000, will fund projects in both organizations to protect threatened and endangered species, and create natural spaces.

“At the Consumers Energy Foundation, we know how important protecting Michigan’s natural resources is to our future and our quality of life,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Planet Awards are an opportunity not only to celebrate organizations that share that commitment but to make a major investment in protecting Michigan’s land, water and air.”

The two grant recipients are:

* The Nature Conservancy-Michigan Chapter: To protect habitats within the region, the grant will fund expansion of The Nature Conservancy’s prescribed fire program in four Michigan counties — Jackson, Van Buren, Lenawee and Monroe — to help preserve several threatened and endangered species and restore and maintain several fire-dependent ecosystems in the area.

* Genesee Conservation District, Flint: A two-year project to convert publicly owned land in Flint back to naturalized spaces, the grant will fund restoration of dozens of vacant lots in the city back to native forest and grassland. The project will assess individual lots and develop site-specific plans for removal of dead and dying trees, invasive plants and trash before reforesting and replanting approximately 5 acres throughout a community that has faced significant and historic environmental injustice.

“On behalf of everyone at The Nature Conservancy, I want to sincerely thank the Consumers Energy Foundation for this generous gift,” said Helen Taylor, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “At The Nature Conservancy, we’re committed to building a future where people and nature both thrive. But we can’t do it alone. We depend on partners and leaders like Consumers Energy, and we are so grateful and honored to receive this Planet Award and the support of the Consumers Energy Foundation.”

“On behalf of the Genesee Conservation District Board and Staff, we express our appreciation and gratitude to the Consumers Energy Foundation for their generous funding support,” said Angela Warren, Executive Director of the Genesee Conservation District. “We look forward to project implementation and the transformative impact it will create on Flint’s landscape through blight reduction and improving our community’s climate resilience.”

Each year the Consumers Energy Foundation selects Planet Awards grantees based on specific proposed projects which will tangibly impact preservation and restoration of Michigan’s land, water and air. The Planet Awards are the first of three signature grant funding opportunities, totaling $1.5 million, that the Foundation provides each year.

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 2022, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed more than $18.5 million to Michigan nonprofits.

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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