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April 14, 2020

Bridgman, Mich., “The Heart of Cook” has awarded grants to 35 area non-profit organizations totaling over $58,000. The “Heart of Cook” is a corporate-advised fund held by the Berrien Community Foundation.  

 Traditionally, Heart of Cook Grant Awards are presented in person at a grant reception hosted by the Cook Nuclear Plant’s Heart of Cook Grant Committee. However, due to the extraordinary stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the decision was made to forego the reception this year in order to get the awards out as expediently as possible.

“Like so many businesses in our community, the global pandemic has put our local nonprofits in a very difficult position,” said AEP Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Joel Gebbie. “Their need for help in order to help others in need is extremely urgent and will continue to be so for some time. That’s why, aside from this year’s Heart of Cook grant awards, the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation has also given an additional $25,000 to the Southwest Michigan Cares Fund on behalf of I&M and Cook Plant, which was recently created in response to COVID-19-related needs.”

The 2020 Heart of Cook grants will support a wide range of programming with everything from food pantries to domestic violence shelters to services for seniors and people with disabilities. The Heart of Cook focuses on programs that address education, human services and environmental projects and gives priority to programs that involve a Cook Nuclear plant employee.

While the Heart of Cook grant program is administered by the Berrien Community Foundation, a committee comprised of Cook Nuclear Plant employees reviews all of the grant applications and makes decisions. This year, the Heart of Cook committee received and reviewed over 60 grant applications requesting more than $324,000.

Organizations receiving 2020 grants were:  

  • 100 Women Strong
  • Advancing Christ’s Kingdom Ministries-Michigan City
  • Animal Aid of Southwestern Michigan
  • Berrien Community Foundation Senior Care Kits
  • Berrien Conservation District
  • Berrien County Blanket Brigade
  • Berrien County Health Department
  • Bread of Life Food Pantry
  • Bridgman Fire and Rescue Department
  • Caring Circle, Lory’s Place
  • CASA of Southwest Michigan
  • Countryside Academy
  • Disability Network Southwest Michigan
  • Emergency Shelter Services
  • Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank
  • Ferry Street Resource Center
  • Grace Christian School
  • Harbert Community Church
  • Living Epistle Church
  • New Life Church
  • Paris' Purse
  • Sarett Nature Center
  • Senior Nutrition Services Region IV, Inc.
  • Servants at Work
  • Soup Kitchen, Inc.
  • Southshore Concert Band
  • Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
  • St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
  • St. Joseph High School Key Club
  • Stem 4 Them
  • The Avenue Family Network
  • The Bark Angels
  • Trinity Lutheran School
  • Watervliet Free Methodist Church


Grant applications for 2021 will be available in January by contacting the Berrien Community Foundation at www.berriencommunity.org.

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,370 employees serve more than 597,000 customers. More than half of its generation is emission-free, including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,600 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.  For more information visit www.indianamichiganpower.com or www.cookinfo.com

The goal of the Berrien Community Foundation is to connect needs with resources in our community. Working with individuals, corporations and other foundations, BCF creates endowments and other funds that support the ever-changing needs of Berrien County. For more information about BCF and how you can create your own legacy of giving, visit their website at www.BerrienCommunity.org or call (269) 983-3304. 

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Cook Nuclear Plant                            

Bill Downey                                                                                                       

Communications Manager                                                        




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