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Heart of Cook Awards

 “The Heart of Cook” provided grants to 39 area non-profit organizations totaling almost $54,000 at a grant reception at Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant on May 5. The “Heart of Cook” is a corporate advised fund held by the Berrien Community Foundation.
 “We love and appreciate the communities in which our employees live and volunteer, The Heart of Cook program allows employees to give back in those areas,” said Larry Weber, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. “We appreciate the support the community has given to us over the years and it is our privilege to show our thanks through The Heart of Cook.”
 Grants supported a wide range of programming with everything from an electric car club, to a climbing tower to assistance to patients undergoing treatment for cancer. The Heart of Cook focuses on programs that address education, human services and environmental projects and gives priority to programs that involve a Cook Nuclear plant employee.
 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. It was a difficult decision making process this year as Heart of Cook received a record 85 grant applications for a total of $354,000. “It certainly isn’t easy,” said Cook communications manager and “Heart of Cook” committee chair Bill Schalk. “There were so many great programs that would impact the lives of so many in our community. We had to make some difficult decisions. At the same time it is rewarding to be able to assist the agencies and their clients that were funded. The scope of the organizations truly reaches far into the community and impacts a broad spectrum of people.”
Organizations receiving grants and the projects funded were: 
• Benton Harbor Area Schools – Benton Harbor High School Library Project
• Berrien Conservation District – On-Farm environmental Education Field Day
• Berrien County Cancer Service – Patience Assistance
• Berrien County Council for Children – Children’s Assessment Center
• Berrien County Health Department – Baby’s Own Bed
• Berrien County Parkinson Support Group – Parkinson Awareness
• Berrien Regional Educational Services Agency – Mini- Maker Faire
• Boy Scouts of America Troop 614 sponsored by First Church – camping equipment
• Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County – Project Learn
• Buchanan District Library – digitization project
• Buchanan High School Robotics Team – MegaHurtz Team 5056
• Canine Companions for Independence – Puppy sponsorship
• Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary – Wheelchair ramp program
• Chikaming Open Lands – Nature preserve invasive species control
• Child & Family Services of Southwestern Michigan, Inc.- Safe Shelter
• Community Non-Profit Housing Corporation – Community Youth and Outreach
• Deer Creek Open Space Association, Inc. – Save the Woods
• Emergency Shelter Services – transportation funding for homeless clients
• F.C. Reed Middle School – First Lego League
• Five Pines Ministries – climbing tower
• Friends of the Lincoln Township Public Library – “tween Tomes
• Gateway Services – Project Automation
• Harbert Community Church – Half day program
• Healing Paws, Inc. – Training for volunteers
• Hospice At Home – Lory’s Place
• Junior Achievement – Economic Education for kids
• Lakeshore Community Schools – Electric Car Club
• LOGAN Community Resources, Inc. – Autism learning center equipment
• Michiana Search Dogs – safety vests
• New Life Church Food Pantry – food pantry supplies
• Sarett Nature Center – trail grooming
• Save A Stray – Feline Fix It
• Senior Nutrition Services Region IV – emergency meals
• Southwest Michigan Young Life – camp scholarships
• St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church – food pantry supplies
• St. Paul's Lutheran School – First Lego League
• Susan G Komen Michigan – Walk for Pink
• Therapeutic Equestrian Center – Saddle STARS

Grant applications for 2016 will be available in January by contacting the Berrien Community Foundation at
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN and serves more than 580,000 customers in Indiana and Michigan. I&M, part of American Electric Power, is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.