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Protecting Michigan’s Environment Through the Planet Awards

We’re dedicated to ensuring Michigan has world-class natural resources by funding programs and organizations that strengthen environmental stewardship, preserve the natural beauty of Michigan and reduce environmental impact when natural resources are used.

As part of this commitment, the Consumers Energy Foundation—the charitable arm of our company—awards grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting Michigan’s land, water and air.

Although we provide grants year-round ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 to support environmental efforts, once per year we award our largest grants through a signature program known as the Planetworkers scouting michigan land Awards. These awards provide as much as $250,000 to two or more Michigan nonprofits or municipalities committed to improving the environment through projects and programs that have long-term benefits.

Since launching the program in 2019, we’ve provided $2 million in grants to Planet Awards winners. Let’s take a look at some of the previous winning projects:

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks was awarded a $100,000 Planet Award in 2022 to support its Healing the Huron River Headwaters project designed to restore the forested wetland and floodplain habitats that make up the headwater area of the Huron River.

The Huron River flows more than 100 miles from its headwaters northwest of Pontiac to its mouth at Lake Erie. Much of the river's headwater area is located within Indian Springs Metropark in northwest Oakland County and the adjacent Michigan Nature Association’s Timberland Swamp Nature Sanctuary. The ecosystems in the headwater area are home to diverse plant communities comprised of a variety of threatened and endangered species. Through restoration of these important habitats, the Metroparks is working to support the wetland system, improve water quality and reduce flooding downstream.

group of kidsThe two-year restoration project has included the planting of native replacement trees in areas where ash and oak trees have been killed by pests and disease, as well as the enhancement of native pollinator habitat in nearby prairies and meadows through native plug and seed plantings. To date, 100 seven-gallon container trees, 1,950 bare root trees, and 602 native wildflowers have been planted. In addition, invasive species including autumn olive, honeysuckle, privet and phragmites have been treated across 250 acres. This work was supported by Metroparks staff and volunteers from the public and local Girl Scouts.

Macomb County received a $250,000 Planet Award in 2022 to enhance the urban tree canopy by planting trees, native shrubs, and pollinator habitat on public land throughout communities that include Mount Clemens, Harrison Township and Roseville. So far, over 300 trees and 50 shrubs have been planted, more than 10 acres of prairie have been restored, and the county has been able to leverage their Planet Award to receive an additional $1.5 million in grant funding. Visit our blog to learn more.

One of the very first Planet Awards recipients, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, used its $100,000 grant to support the On the Water (OTW) program, which helps Michigan residents connect with their freshwater resources through clean-up events, education and outreach, and recycling efforts. During the 18 months the program ran, more than 650 volunteers removed 8,665 pounds of trash, cleared 1,510 pounds of invasive species and cleaned up 1,872 acres of watershed.group of people with giant check

Last year, Planet Awards were provided to the Nature Conservancy and the Genesee Conservation District to protect threatened and endangered species and convert publicly owned land back to naturalized spaces.

The Planet Awards are one of three signature grant allocations - totaling $1.5 million each year. The Foundation also awards the Prosperity Awards and the People Awards to support community development efforts and support basic needs, education, and workforce readiness. Nonprofit organizations throughout Michigan can submit letters of intent for these signature grants and the top projects are invited to submit applications for consideration.

Nonprofits and municipalities can submit requests for smaller amounts year-round for consideration through the Consumers Energy Foundation’s traditional grantmaking program. Learn more at ConsumersEnergy.com/Foundation.