06-28-2018 $53,000+ in grants awarded to area nonprofits by “The Heart of Cook”; Albemarle Foundat

HELLO AND GOODBYE … Outgoing Watervliet City Manager Michael Uskiewicz (left) hosted a BBQ lunch last Friday for city employees to welcome new hires, City Clerk Christa Townsend and City Manager Tyler Dotson. (TCR photo by Karl Bayer)

$53,000+ in grants awarded to area nonprofits by “The Heart of Cook”

The Heart of Cook” provided grants to 33 area non-profit organizations totaling more than $53,000 at a grant reception at Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant. The “Heart of Cook” is a corporate advised fund held by the Berrien Community Foundation. While the Heart of Cook grant program is administered by the Berrien Community Foundation, a committee comprised of Cook Nuclear Plant employees reviews all of the grant applications and makes decisions. After receiving 85 applications totaling more than $330,000 the Heart of Cook Grant Committee certainly had its work cut out for them in the decision making process. “This is my first year on the committee,” said Grant Committee Member Ashlie Guyberson, “and it was a bit overwhelming, to say the least, taking a look at the incredible volume of need in our community. But it was also extremely heartening to know there are so many dedicated organizations in place to meet those needs. We’re glad we can help with that effort.” The grants supported a wide range of programming from STEM-based educational programs, to emergency housing and food supply to transportation services for seniors. The Heart of Cook focuses on programs that address education, human services and environmental projects and gives priority to programs that involve Cook Nuclear plant employees. “This really is an employee-driven effort,” said American Electric Power’s Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Joel Gebbie, who was on hand to present the awards. “The Heart of Cook Grants are really just the icing on the cake for us. The real reward is having our folks go out into the trenches as volunteers and personal advocates for many of these important organizations. We’re glad to play our part on multiple levels.” Organizations receiving grants in 2018 are: Advancing Christ’s Kingdom Ministries of Michigan City, AIDS Ministries – AIDS Assist, The Bark Angels, Berrien County Council for Children, Berrien County Youth Fair Association, Blessings in a Backpack of Bridgman Elementary, Busy Hands of Michiana, Child and Family Services of Southwestern Michigan, Children’s Music Workshop, Countryside Academy, Baroda Cub Scout Pack 663, Fernwood Botanical Garden, Ferry Street Resource Center Inc., First Assembly of God – Common Table Food Pantry, Girls on the Run of Southwest Michigan, Grace Christian School, HOPE Resources at Coloma United Methodist Church, Lest We Forget Inc., Living Epistle Fellowship Inc., Living Water Food Pantry at Watervliet Free Methodist Church, LOGAN Community Resources Inc., Michigan Flywheelers Museum, New Heights Christian Community Development Association, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church Bread of Life Food Pantry, River Park United Methodist Church, River Valley Senior Center, Sarett Nature Center, Senior Nutrition Services Region IV Inc., Southshore Concert Band, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, St. Joseph High School Key Club, St. Joseph Parish Conference Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. Grant applications for 2019 will be available in January by contacting the Berrien Community Foundation at www.berriencommunity.org.

Albemarle Foundation  donates $15,000 to  Al-Van Humane Society

Al-Van Humane Society was awarded a $15,000 donation from Albemarle Corporation in South Haven, to support its animal welfare work; $10,000 earmarked for critical medical care to prepare animals for adoption and lifesaving medical emergencies, and the remaining $5,000 to finish work on the new adoption center. Over the years, Albemarle has continued to show their generosity and support, donating $27,000 to the C.A.R.E.S. Capital Campaign, thus earning them a naming opportunity in the new center; and over $40,000 to the shelter’s general operating needs over the past six years. On April 30 the doors to Al-Van’s new Adoption & Community Education Center opened at 07591 Blue Star Highway in South Haven. Over 400 individual and corporate donations helped Al-Van reach the $500,000 goal for their capital campaign two years earlier than planned, adding over 6,000 square feet for animal sheltering. In addition, the centrally located community education room will allow for a variety of training opportunities for the community, and their resale shop, Rescued Treasures, remains on site. Al-Van now runs two buildings to address the needs of homeless animals in the community. The shelter on 8th Avenue is now the Intake Center. Anyone wishing to surrender an animal is asked to call Intake at 269-639-2242 to make an appointment. Anyone wishing to adopt a shelter animal should come by the adoption center located on Blue Star Highway. Hours for both buildings, and Rescued Treasures Resale shop, located next to the adoption center remain the same. Al-Van continues to seek corporate donations for shelter operations. There are also several naming opportunities at the new center still available. Contact Jennifer Nuernberg, Executive Director, at 269-637-5062 for more information. Founded in 1968, Al-Van Humane Society (AVHS) is a no-kill non-profit animal welfare organization dedicated to providing emergency food and shelter for homeless pets. It is an independent and private, 501c3 non-profit organization. In 2012, the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance awarded AVHS the Most Improved Open Admission Shelter, and Al-Van took on no-kill best practices. For information on Al-Van, upcoming events, and ways to donate, visit their website at www.al-van.org. Al-Van is proud to have served the community for 50 years, thanks to the generosity of thousands of donors, and looks forward to expanding services and saving more animals in the years to come.