The Readiness Center in Benton Harbor is the recipient of the $50,000 Stephen E. Upton Love Your Community Grant through the Berrien Community Foundation. The award was announced Wednesday evening at the 65th Annual Meeting and Celebration of the Berrien Community Foundation.
“I can’t believe we got this,” said Readiness Center Director Sister Paulita Walters. “This will help us to continue on. When I started this, I asked for a grant for $2,000. It’s always been hard for me to ask but it just shows the generosity of this community.”
The Stephen E. Upton Love Your Community Grant is an annual award to a non-profit organization in Berrien County. The Readiness Center project is a program to bridge the transition from the current director into a volunteer role while ensuring that the future of this program serving children and families in our community.
In addition to the Readiness Center, the 2017 finalists were:
- Lake Michigan College – The Occupational Extension Program to work with students with developmental delays to get them work force ready.
- Lakeland Health – The Self-Healing Initiative – A project to help community members deal with adverse childhood experiences such as abuse and neglect so they can move forward into a healthy adulthood; and
- Senior Nutrition Services/Meals on Wheels – Gourmet Quick Bites – using food donated by restaurants and caterers to make frozen meals for seniors.
“These grants were all so wonderful,” said Elizabeth Upton. “The grant writers were heroes. They represented their organizations so well. It made the decision very difficult”
Before announcing the winner, Steve Upton agreed said the committee struggled to decide but he was glad to see so many worthy projects. “We know that there will be support for these projects because they are all so worth it.”