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As of: 5:45 AM, 9/28/21

News Release

Consumers Energy Partners with MML Foundation to Assist Minority-Owned Small Businesses in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, Mich. Wednesday, April 28, 2021

$55K Matching Gift Card Program Helps Businesses affected by COVID-19

Consumers Energy is partnering with the  Michigan Municipal League Foundation to create a unique gift card program to let customers double their spending and help 40 minority-owned businesses in the Grand Rapids area.

The initiative is part of Consumers Energy’s Our Town program to assist small local businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consumers Energy’s $55,000 contribution to the Michigan Municipal League Foundation is allowing the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber and Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses to provide $25 Mastercard gift cards to 40 of their member businesses.

“This unique partnership with the MML Foundation allows Consumers Energy to work with an important business segment facing challenges because of COVID-19 by increasing local spending in the greater Grand Rapids community,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience.

Under the program, which kicks off this Friday, patrons who spend a minimum of $25 at a participating location will receive a $25 Mastercard gift card that can be applied to their purchase or spent at any of the participating businesses. Each business will receive an equal number of gift cards for distribution, but supplies are limited and are expected to sell out quickly.  

The program comes on the heels of a successful Our Town gift card effort in late 2020 where Consumers Energy contributed $800,000 in 55 communities which, unlike Grand Rapids, have local merchant gift card programs.

The program is also backed by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, which is working to advance community wealth through strategic partnerships and investments in strong, diverse leadership for Michigan communities and place-based initiatives that drive equitable outcomes.

Foundation President Helen D. Johnson said an essential part of this gift card program is how it is geared toward underserved communities and minority-owned businesses. Johnson also thanked Consumers Energy and Grand Rapids area leaders for their tremendous commitment to this program.

“The MML Foundation is proud to join Consumers Energy and the Grand Rapids area in supporting this gift card effort. This program will provide much needed financial assistance to our local businesses that need it the most in emerging from the pandemic,” Johnson said. “Our Foundation believes in community wealth building and enhancing the human experience in our communities in ways that share economic prosperity for everyone. That is exactly what this program does.”

“This is a great way to directly help our local businesses hit so hard by the pandemic,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, a past Michigan Municipal League Board president. “I appreciate Consumers Energy’s focus on local communities, the support from the MML Foundation and the work from the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber and Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses to make this a reality.”

More information is available by visiting the participating business organization’s websites:  Home - WMHCC and GRABB Local.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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Media Contacts: Roger Morgenstern, 517-499-6320, or Brian Wheeler, 517-740-1545