Grand Haven

14 ways grants are making a difference in the Grand Haven area

Tri-Cities Historical Museum plans to digitize its entire collection — more than 65,000 artifacts representing 200 years of local history — into a searchable online database. 

Transitioning to a cloud-based data management system will not only create greater efficiencies for the museum staff, it will also allow the museum to provide the community, and all school systems, remote access to its entire collection. 
Margaret Paxton, Assistant to the Curator of Collections, works at the Community Archives and Research Center.

The undertaking is included in a three-part capital improvement project at the Community Archive and Research Center (CARC), located at 14100 172nd Ave. in Grand Haven. A $40,000 Community Impact Grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF) will help cover the project’s cost. 

Along with creating a searchable, cloud-based collections management database, the project will include constructing an artifact processing room to meet museum best practices set forth by the American Alliance of Museums, and relocating the textile collection to CARC, explains Julie Bunke, Director of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum. 

“Each individual artifact has its own unique story that helps community members, students, researchers, and visitors understand our past and our place in national and global stories. We seek to empower our community to explore their own local history, and we believe this project will greatly support that important work,” says Bunke. 

The funding for the museum project is one of 14 second-round grant awards announced by the board of the GHACF and the Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

The grants, totaling $225,923, were awarded in support of Northwest Ottawa County and surrounding communities. 

GHACF is also awarding the following grants:
  • Arbor Circle — $25,000 for the second phase of the Thriving Families Campaign. The campaign provides capacity-building support to the Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Northwest Quadrant Subcommittee and associated staff for the upcoming year; promotes the web-based campaign, including the video “Be Their Influence” and the Thriving Families page; and the “My Life My Quit” program targeting both parents and teens regarding the signs and dangers of vaping in partnership with cessation information. 
  • Love in Action — $31,500 to renovate Love in Action’s health and dental clinic to increase space for staff, medical volunteers, and patients, while improving patient and client privacy and confidentiality. Renovations include the separation and ultimate creation of two reception areas for general programming clients and health clinic clients, while also creating new office and clinic space, a new filing room and updated flooring.
  • John Ball Zoo — $50,000 over two years for the zoo’s “Time to Soar Capital Campaign,” which aims to make the park modern, accessible, and sustainable in order to educate on the importance of conservation and environmental protections. This grant will support the modernization of the stormwater system, which involves the creation of a net-zero water habitat for a new pygmy hippo habitat. This new system will filter and clean stormwater and deposit it in the park’s pond with the goal of retaining, recharging, or reusing at least 85% of the stormwater on-site.
  • Tri-Cities Broadcasting Foundation — $30,000 to purchase television production equipment to create local programming of Public Education and Government cable television. The channels will feature timely, relevant, and interesting programming — such as local government meetings and updates, youth sporting events, and current events — and will be co-created and produced with student interns pursuing a career in public broadcasting. 

Additionally, YAC is awarding the following the grants:
  • Children’s Advocacy Center — $6,000 to build a Youth Advisory Council to address community issues concerning sexual assault. Youth will help to develop the council and provide direction to the Children’s Advocacy Center and their programming, as well as complete service projects and raise awareness for the center. 
  • GHACF — $5,000 to support the Emergency Human Needs Fund to help organizations during COVID-19, specifically those serving youth.
  • Grand Haven Area Public Schools — $1,660 to support the Community CHILL program. Community CHILL provides a safe place for fifth- through eighth-grade students to get homework help after school. This grant will provide transportation for those who do not live within walking distance, as well as snacks and other supplies. 
  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum — $5,000 to provide a STEAM for Success program for youth at the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Center. This grant will provide funding for programming that combines social-emotional and practical science skill-building, making immersion in scientific experimentation and exploration educational and therapeutic.
  • Lakeshore Middle School — $1,763 to support the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative and install a new drinking fountain in the cafeteria, reducing the need for students to purchase bottled water at school. The 900+ students at Lakeshore Middle School will now be able to refill water bottles as needed.
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation — $5,000 to sponsor the Jr. Pacers Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. The Jr. Pacers give youth athletes with disabilities the chance to be part of a team, to work toward a goal with their teammates, and to refine their athletic skills. 
  • Outdoor Discovery Center Network — $5,000 to support a youth Waterfront Cleanup project in Grand Haven; empowering youth to build community and social connection by cleaning up trash on beaches, in the Grand River, and along the waterfront.
  • Resilience — $10,000 to support Ginny’s Place, which provides shelter for families experiencing homelessness and those facing domestic violence. Funding will provide children with a warm bed, clothing, toys, books, and meals and snacks. Staff and volunteers also provide activities, crafts, and field trips.  
  • Tri-Cities Family YMCA — $10,000 to provide funding to support the Tri-Cities Family YMCA year-round youth Safety Around Water program. Funding from this grant would assist the Y in keeping its promise to the community of providing vital free and discounted programming to those in need. The Safety Around Water program teaches valuable water skills that reduce the rate of drowning and injury.

Serving the Northwest Ottawa County community since 1971, GHACF is regularly recognized as a top 100 Community Foundation in the nation and is the eighth-largest community foundation in the state of Michigan. 

The organization encourages philanthropy by individuals, families, corporations, and organizations, and serves as a steward of their charitable funds and legacies. In addition to awarding grants, the foundation offers technical support to nonprofits, convenes community leaders on issues of importance, and advocates for the nonprofit sector. For more information, visit
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