Berrien County, MI, May 18, 2016 – “The Heart of Cook” provided grants to 29 area non-profit organizations totaling almost $53,000 at a grant reception at Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant on May 17. The “Heart of Cook” is a corporate advised fund held by the Berrien Community Foundation.

Grants awarded this year supported a wide range of programming from human trafficking awareness, to a local robotics team to a unity garden growing project. The Heart of Cook focuses on programs that address education, human services and environmental projects and gives priority to programs that involve Cook Nuclear Plant employees.

“Cook employees are very active in initiatives to improve our community,” said American Electric Power Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Joel Gebbie. “This is just one more way for us to support these important causes.”

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. It was a difficult decision making process this year as Heart of Cook received over 40 grant applications for a total of $310,000.

Cook Plant Licensing Activities Coordinator Danielle Burgoyne has been involved with this committee work for several years. “There are always so many amazing organizations doing such terrific work in our region,” Burgoyne said. “It’s very hard narrowing it down. But we are always proud to be able to help increase the impact these programs have in any way we can.”

Organizations receiving grants and the projects in 2016 funded were:

  • AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist – Food and Nutritional Program
  • Alano House – Alano House of Southwest Michigan
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien & Cass – Expansion of Services in Berrien County
  • Chikaming Township Park Board – Chikaming Ice Rink Skates for Kids
  • Countryside Academy – Fishing for Knowledge
  • Curious Kids Museum – AED and First Aid Kits
  • Fairplain Presbyterian Church – Community Food Pantry
  • Fernwood – Education Center Green Roof
  • First Church of God – CARS Ministry Expansion
  • Grace Christian School – Safe Doors
  • Green Bridge Growers – Greenhouse Expansion/Job Development
  • Harbert Community Church – Half Day Plus Program
  • Healing Paws – Building Best Friends
  • Lakeshore High School-Lincoln REALWELD Welding Training Program
  • Leadership LaPorte County – Youth Summer Camp
  • Living Epistle Fellowship – Manna House Food Pantry
  • LOGAN Community Resources – Sensory Swings and Bags for a New Benton Harbor Autism Learning Center
  • Michiana Search Dogs – Team Jackets
  • New Life Baptist Church – New Life Church Food Pantry
  • Southshore Concert Band – Summer Concert Series
  • Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force – Human Trafficking Awareness
  • Southwest Michigan Kickers Soccer Club – AED/Emergency Oxygen Device
  • Southwest Michigan RACERS – 2016 Olympic Day
  • St. Joseph High School Key Club – Senior Prom for Senior Citizens
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran School – FIRST Robotics Lego League Team
  • Support Our Troops Festival – 6th Annual Support Our Troops Festival
  • Unity Gardens – Unity Gardens Growing Project
  • Volunteer Southwest Michigan – CASA of Berrien County
  • Watervliet High School – Graphing Calculators and History Supplies

Grant applications for 2017 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, IN, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 589,000 customers. It operates 2,600 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,160 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 450 MW of purchased wind generation and, by the end of 2016, approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 223,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.



For I&M
Dave Lefor
Community Relations Representative

For Berrien Community Foundation
Lisa Cripps-Downey

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