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Community Foundation Announces 2021 Teacher Mini-Grant Awards

With students and educators returning to face-to-face learning this fall, the Community Foundation is excited to announce its award of over $6,600 in Teacher Mini-Grants! This year’s Teacher Mini Grant (TMG) program awarded 29 grants to seven schools in Oceana County – nearly doubling the number of grants awarded in 2020. In addition to support from the Oceana Youth Fund, the TMG program was able to expand through its partnerships with additional Donor Advised Funds of the Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) including Mrs. Mullen’s Closet, Little Point Sable Arts for Oceana and the Mary Ann Peterson “Grandma Pete” Memorial Fund(s).

Historically, the TMG program has been primarily supported by the Oceana Youth Fund, a program overseen by the Oceana Youth Advisory Council (YAC). YAC is a coalition of student representatives from all five area high schools. The Youth Advisory Council awards nearly $30,000 in annual grants, funding projects related to youth development and needs.  New this year, in response to educator feedback, TMG apps are available once a year, in August.  This allows teachers to apply while they’re planning for the year and awards are made available in September.

Teachers throughout the county are encouraged to submit their needs for new classroom programs, as each teacher is eligible for up to a $250 award. These awards fund special project materials, curriculum expansion, student prizes, special events, skill development, and teacher engagement. Examples of Teacher Mini Grant awards include books for student birthday presents, special artists in residence, and STEM materials even including drones! “The Mini-Grant program connects teachers to community support, often providing additional financial resources to facilitate exciting, innovative programs,” says CFOC Program Officer and YAC Advisor Danielle Siegel. “It is a great way to thank our educators for their tremendous impact in Oceana County.”

With the support of Mrs. Mullen’s Closet, Little Point Sable Arts for Oceana and the Mary Ann Peterson “Grandma Pete” Memorial Fund, the Foundation was able to fully fund all requests! The Grandma Pete Fund focuses on supporting elementary schools and reading skills, as Mary Ann believed that “if you can read, you can do anything!” Similarly, Mrs. Mullen’s Closet is a non-profit established to honor Dyanne Mullen, a former principal of Spitler Elementary School. This Donor Advised Fund provides emergency and school supplies to children in Oceana County. Finally, the Arts for Oceana Fund supports arts and entertainment in Oceana, including fostering a love for all things artsy in our area students. As advised funds at the Foundation, these partners are proud champions of youth needs.

To learn more about the Teacher Mini-Grant program and its recent awards, visit oceanafoundation.org/grants/teacher-mini-grants/. Questions on Teacher Mini-Grants should be directed to Danielle Siegel at danielle@oceanafoundation.org or by calling the Community Foundation office at 231-869-3377.