Powering our communities in Indiana and Michigan is just the beginning. I&M wants to improve the quality of life for those living, working and serving in our communities.
The American Electric Power Foundation focuses giving in four specific areas:
- Improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education, with an emphasis in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
- Providing basic human services in the areas of hunger and housing to assure people have the necessities to build successful lives.
- Embracing change and equity through sustainable programs moving racial and social justice forward.
- Enriching the overall vitality of the community and to improving the environment and people’s lives.
In 2022, the AEP Foundation awarded more than $2.1 million in grants to support nonprofit agencies in our communities. We are well on our way so far this year to help even more organizations, students and the environment with grants.
The following grants were announced in the first quarter from the AEP Foundation upon the recommendation of I&M:
Racial justice work will be furthered with a $100,000 grant to the YWCA Northeast Indiana. The investment will allow the organization to add new levels of programming to their racial justice work, including more community events and a training program for organizations and companies.
“YWCA Northeast Indiana is honored to receive support from AEP Foundation for our racial justice programming,” Carla Kilgore, YWCA’s Director of Mission Advancement. “These funds will support education, consultation, and community organization and outreach, including community events such as our Diversity Dialogue series and our Race Against Racism 5K walk/run fundraising event.”
YWCA Northeast Indiana also offers educational programming about diversity and healthy relationships, operates a boutique that provides women with low incomes suitable clothing for job interviews, and participates in racial justice initiatives.
Grant County residents will be safer during storm season thanks to a $30,000 grant. The Grant County Emergency Management Agency used the money to purchase 12 new emergency radios.
“The Grant County Emergency Management Agency identified the need with their radio communication,” said Rob Keisling, External Affairs manager. “Some of their equipment was reaching the end of its life and in some areas the organization needed more radios. So, we were happy to partner with the agency and provide the necessary funding to make it happen.”
This is the first time the AEP Foundation has supported an Emergency Management Agency.
A $50,000 grant will help the Muncie Mission secure a second truck to feed hundreds of meals each day to the community. The trucks are used to rescue food from wholesale and distribution companies that can’t use the food for actual sale.
“During the pandemic we saw a surge in giving, which we were blessed to receive but the giving isn’t at the same level. Because of the economy and prices across the community, there is just as many, if not more in need now,” said Bob Scott, vice president of development with the mission. “We are fortunate when community focused organizations like Indiana Michigan Power and the AEP Foundation rally around us, as we never want to turn anyone in need away.”
The trucks are also a major part of the Mission’s Attic Window thrift stores. The fleet of trucks can pick up donations from the community of furniture, appliances and more. The stores– two locations in Muncie, Hartford City, New Castle and Winchester – then sell those items to the public with the money going to fund the feeding and sheltering of those in need.
The South Bend Education Foundation will use a $25,000 grant from the American Electric Foundation to support the South Bend organization’s Teacher Wish List and Teacher Store initiatives. Both efforts provide help teachers through funding of needed items and classroom supplies.
The Teacher Wish List is an application-based program, where teachers can apply for mini-grants of up to $300 to support classroom needs. The Teacher Store is a room that is stocked with typical classroom supplies, which teachers may pick up free of charge. Both efforts were historically seasonally offered around the back-to-school and winter break times of the year.
“The grant from the AEP Foundation will allow us to expand the Wish List to a year-round program and open the Teacher Store quarterly,” said Steve Funk, South Bend Education Foundation’s Executive Director. “We also intend to provide further support for teachers by making them aware that if we have basic items in stock which they need, the Foundation will support them by delivering these items directly to their school.”
The playground at Bridgman’s Toth Street Park will receive a facelift thanks to a $75,000 grant. The city will incorporate inclusive playground equipment so able-bodied children can play right alongside those who have physical challenges. A group of local parents were catalysts for the entire project.
“We have dreamed of updating Toth Park to better serve our community for over five years,” said Jodi Bodtke, Bridgman resident and parent contributor. “It is so exciting and encouraging to see our recommended changes come to life and we’re grateful for the people who have given their time, energy and resources toward this project.”
The new playscape installation is expected to begin this summer and fall and should be completed spring 2024.
For more information on our charitable giving and community involvement, visit IndianaMichiganPower.com/Community.