During Earth Month you will likely see an abundance of blue Consumers Energy volunteer shirts out and about in your communities. Every April, employees come together to help repair, enhance and beautify the state we all call home. You may see groups of employees mulching gardens, clearing paths and painting dilapidated structures or cleaning up the areas around our parks and rivers.
And while you may see a more obvious presence during Earth Month, our company, the Foundation and employees are giving back year-around to leave our planet better than we found it. Whether it’s the company taking a stand for Michigan’s future by eliminating coal use and reducing carbon emissions 90% by 2040, the Foundation providing grants to nonprofit agencies that protect Michigan’s land, water and air or a group of our employees getting together to beautify a community space and earning a Caring for Community grant to make an even bigger impact.
The planet is important, but it’s not all we are focused on.
At Consumers Energy we believe it’s important to give back to the communities that have given so much to us. And while our primary business might be pipes and wires to deliver gas and electricity to the people of Michigan, we are more than just an energy provider.
We live in the small towns that depend on big projects to put them on the map.
We enjoy summers on the beautiful Great Lakes and rivers and support initiatives that protect and care for Michigan’s waterways.
We hike and bike the miles of trails that wind up, across and through the state - like the Dragon Trail at Hardy Dam.
Our children attend the schools where they also learn about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and FIRST in Michigan Robotics.
Our friends and family members depend on 211 and United Way funded programs and food from local food banks.
For more than 135 years we have been part of communities in Michigan. And we want to help our local communities grow and thrive through the Consumers Energy Foundation.
And while we split our investments in three areas, in 2022, nearly half of the $7.8 million donated, supported the people pillar. When we focus on people, we are specifically working to end poverty in Michigan. And we make it a priority to fund organizations who are focused on our Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) population. This population often makes too much to qualify for federal assistance but is only one major expense – a car repair, a broken water heater or unplanned medical bill – away from financial disaster.
So, we support agencies that focus on providing basic needs like United Way, Salvation Army, food banks and food programs, shelters, senior services centers and more. We also believe quality education is the first step to preparing youth for a promising future and therefore support education programs from pre-K through higher education like FIRST in Michigan robotics, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program and the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. Finally, we support workforce readiness by supporting a statewide effort to increase the number of qualified applicants for STEM and skilled labor jobs in Michigan.
And all our investments – whether in people, the planet, or Michigan’s prosperity – are grounded in our commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). We emphasize DE&I in all funding areas and support social justice programs that advance equity. Check out our company blog to learn more about where our support goes and how it is funded.
While you might see our employees out in groups making big impacts during Earth Month, know that they are supporting many organizations and important causes in behind-the-scenes roles every day. Our co-workers volunteer as robotics coaches, sit on local boards and committees and serve as mentors, coaches and scout leaders. And we support employee and retiree volunteerism through three programs—Volunteer Investment Program (VIP), Caring for Community Program and Matching Gifts Program.
Are you a grant seeker making a positive impact on what’s most important to Michigan – its people, our planet and Michigan’s prosperity? We award grants for capital funding and innovative projects and campaigns that align with our priorities. Check out our website to learn how we’re making an impact and see if your work could be eligible for a Consumers Energy Foundation grant.