Thank You Consumers Energy Foundation! Grant Awarded to Launch Manistee

Posted on Mar 11, 2018 in News



The Consumers Energy Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to the Manistee County Community Foundation in support of Launch Manistee, an initiative with bold goals working to support the success of children, students and economic prosperity in Manistee County.

Consumers Energy Foundation made a $20,000 donation to Launch Manistee on Friday to support their early education programs. Shown (left to right) are Eric Gustad, Consumers Energy, Ed Kolanowski, Manistee Catholic Central, Susan Hornkohl, Manistee County Community Foundation, Mary Ann Behm, Launch Manistee, Chelle Hrachovina, Manistee County Community Foundation, Ashleigh Maier, Brethren and Manistee HS College Advisor, Laura Heintzelman, Manistee County Community Foundation, Beth Urban, Launch Manistee, Carolyn Bloodworth, Consumers Energy Foundation, Shelly Vanvoorst, CASMAN Academy, Danielle Oleniczak, Manistee Catholic Central, Hannah Rodriguez, Launch Manistee and Haley Doyle, Launch Manistee



“The Consumers Energy Foundation is committed to Michigan having world-class education programs at all levels, and we are pleased to support Launch Manistee,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Because of Launch Manistee, more 3 and 4-year olds are benefitting from quality pre-school experiences and more high school students are prepared to ultimately get a great job. The energy and collaborative spirit of Launch Manistee are yielding precisely the kind of results that we need to ensure a talented, competitive workforce and a vibrant, diverse economy.”


Launch Manistee is a cradle-to-career educational initiative formed in 2014 and engages diverse partners to help ensure Manistee County residents are ready for school, post-secondary options and career.  The Manistee County Community Foundation provides fiscal and administrative services for the program.


“We are deeply grateful for the Consumers Energy Foundation’s continued investment in Manistee County students, families and businesses,” said Mary Ann Behm, who has served as program coordinator for Launch Manistee since the program was initiated.  “With their support we can build upon our successes and march on towards ensuring our students and residents can succeed in school and their careers.”


As outlined in a common agenda adopted by a cross-sector Leadership Team, Launch Manistee has two overarching goals.  The first is aimed at ensuring that all area children have access to quality preschool options.  The second goal is targeted at increasing the postsecondary attainment rate in Manistee County which includes helping students earn college degrees, complete certificate programs and achieve other high-quality credentials.


Recent achievements of the Launch Manistee network include:


  • Coordinating a collaborative effort to define what school readiness means and how the child, family, schools and community all play a supporting role.
  • Sustaining participation by all six Manistee County High Schools in three state-wide initiatives aimed at increasing post-secondary attainment: College Application Month, College Cash Campaign and Decision Day.
  • Growing and enhancing the Manistee County Career Expo held during the Business Expo through a partnership with the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Coordination of the Manistee Commitment Scholarship Program which supports cohorts of Manistee County students beginning in the ninth grade who receive a tuition scholarship to West Shore Community College for up to three years and 60 credit hours.
  • Formation of a new Action Team focused on student post-secondary persistence and retention.
  • Working collaboratively with local employers to connect students with job opportunities to fill vacancies and enhance the local economy.