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MSUFCU's Desk Drawer Fund Donates $72,500 to 5 Community Organizations

The Desk Drawer Fund, the philanthropic foundation of MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU), recently announced it would be awarding $72,500 in grants to five community organizations, supporting their efforts to make a positive impact in our community.

Founded in 2019, the foundation focuses on five areas, or “pillars,” as it fulfills its mission to help create jobs, teach valuable skills, and improve the overall quality of life in communities. These pillars include arts and culture, empowering youth, financial education, fostering entrepreneurialism, and stable housing. The following organizations received grants during the second quarter of 2023:

Arts and Culture

City of East Lansing and the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival ($10,000) — The city’s two-day musical event, which takes place June 23-24 this year, celebrates the best in local, regional, and national jazz. Thousands from across the state of Michigan are expected to attend.

“The Summer Solstice Jazz Festival highlights the best in local and regional jazz, and we’re proud to present these artists in a free festival in the heart of downtown East Lansing,” said Justin Drwencke, Administrative Services Coordinator for Parks, Recreation & Arts for the City of East Lansing. “With the support of Desk Drawer Fund, we’re able to uplift local and emerging talent, sometimes providing students and newer artists with their first major bookings. This community-supported festival can be a great introduction to jazz and is sure to be a fun time for the whole family.”

Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center’s ArtPath ($15,000) — ArtPath exhibits 20 temporary artworks from artists across Michigan — including art murals and interactive sculptures — along the Lansing River Trail during the summer. It aims to connect the Old Town, downtown, and REO Town neighborhoods in Lansing.

“ArtPath is more than just a public art project. It’s a celebration of Michigan’s rich artistic community and a catalyst for creativity and connection,” said Michelle Carlson, Lansing Art Gallery Executive Director. “Thanks to the generous support of the Desk Drawer Fund donation from MSUFCU, we’re able to bring this vision to life, providing local artists with a platform to showcase their talents, engage with the community through artist talks and workshops, and connect with a broader audience through the creation of their artwork. Together, we’re creating a vibrant shared experience that uplifts our community and fosters the careers of talented artists.”

Fostering Entrepreneurialism

Michigan Women Forward ($30,000) — MWF, with offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids, invests in expanding economic opportunity to Michigan women and provides microloans to help entrepreneurs with business growth. The Desk Drawer Fund’s donation will help 45 entrepreneurs this year.

“MWF is thrilled to become a Desk Drawer Fund partner, because each year thousands of Michigan entrepreneurs — over 1,900 in 2022 alone — come to MWF seeking microloans but need critical business assistance, marketing, and technology support to start their businesses or take them to the next level,” said Carolyn Cassin, MWF President and CEO. “With these funds, MWF and MSUFCU will provide financial education and prepare clients to obtain microloans. MWF’s vision and mission are to create a more inclusive economy so that everyone can build wealth. With MSUFCU’s investment, MWF will be able to target and assist more women and people of color who have been unable to fully participate in diversifying our economy.”

Stable Housing

Capital Area Housing Partnership ($7,500) — This Lansing-based organization will use its donation to provide financial counseling to ensure safe, affordable housing and financial security, impacting 650 households.

“Achieving the dream of an affordable place to call home can be exciting and challenging. That is why our housing counseling team serves hundreds of mid-Michigan households annually through tailored guidance and support to find housing and financial stability,” said Rawley Van Fossen, Capital Area Housing Partnership Executive Director. “Thanks to the Desk Drawer Fund’s partnership, we will continue to build more opportunities and stable futures for our neighbors.”

Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region ($10,000) — Based in Traverse City, this organization will use its donation to help build six new affordable homes and assist in its efforts to find innovative ways to serve the community’s needs.

“Habitat Grand Traverse Region works side by side with qualified families to help build and buy their own homes, as well as working with existing homeowners to bring aging homes up to current health and safety standards,” said Wendy Irvin, Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region CEO. “Additionally, Habitat Grand Traverse Region facilitates financial education for applicants who need to work on their credit and prepare their budgets for future homeownership.”

“The Desk Drawer Fund is proud to support these organizations and their missions as they work to improve the quality of life through the arts, entrepreneurialism, and housing,” said MSUFCU Chief Community Impact Officer Susi Elkins. “With the help of these grants, we look forward to seeing how each organization will positively impact those who make up the communities they serve.”

For more information on the Desk Drawer Fund and to donate, visit deskdrawerfund.org, call 517-333-2299, or email deskdrawerfund@msufcu.org.

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