Fifth Third Foundation Announces 2017 Strengthening Our Communities Fund Award Recipients

December 12th, 2017
(from left to right) Don Precour, Market Leader Mortgage for the Eastern Michigan Region at Fifth Third Bank; Tawnya Rose, Assistant Vice President Community Development Relationship Manager at Fifth Third Bank; Hector Hernandez, Executive Director of Southwest Economic Solutions; David Girodat, President and CEO for the Eastern Michigan Region at Fifth Third Bank

DETROIT – The Fifth Third Foundation has announced its 2017 Strengthening Our Communities (SOC) Fund grants for eastern Michigan. The Fund awards grants to designated nonprofit programs that support homeownership, affordable housing, small business development and financial stability for individuals and families. Programs in these areas strengthen and stabilize communities and make them a better place to live, work and thrive.

“The Strengthening Our Community grants are important because they result in people’s lives being positively changed and they grant organizations the opportunity to expand their reach,” said Heidi Jark, managing director, Fifth Third Foundation. “Through these grants, we are able to continue building lasting relationships and help strengthen communities where we serve.”

Locally, five nonprofit organizations received a combined $200,000 to benefit many communities, including Detroit, Pontiac and Flint. The organizations plan to use the grants to repair and replace aging furnaces in low- to moderate income communities, provide loans for commercial and business improvements and provide entrepreneurial training and financial literacy classes.

“We are committed to making community investments that improve lives in eastern Michigan and across our national footprint,” said Regional President of Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan, David Girodat. “We believe these grants provide meaningful support to the efforts of these organizations to build and maintain strong, vibrant communities and that provide pathways to opportunity in our community.”

“The grant from Fifth Third will benefit those served by our ProsperUS Detroit program, which trains and supports Detroiters aspiring to start small businesses in their neighborhoods,” said John Van Camp, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Solutions. “The donation truly contributes to strengthening our community in multiple ways, and we thank Fifth Third for its generous support.”

The Fifth Third regions formally invited nonprofit organizations to apply for the funding and awards were made four times this year. Grant awards begin at $25,000 and are for a one-year period. The maximum grant awards per region depend on the program and demonstrated need.

The eastern Michigan recipients of Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants are:

The $25,000 grant will be used to repair and replace aging furnaces in owner-occupant households earning 80 percent or less of the annual median income in the Unity Park neighborhood of Pontiac.

The $50,000 grant will be used for Motor City Re-store. Motor City Re-store is designed to support existing businesses and create visible commercial corridor improvements. The program provides access to capital through loans and matching grants for physical improvements and project design for external façade improvements to existing neighborhood businesses. The grant dollars will provide these existing businesses with the resources and support needed to improve storefronts to benefit the community and make neighborhood commercial corridors more walkable, more attractive and ultimately better for business and the communities that they serve.

The $25,000 grant will be used to assist entrepreneurs in starting new businesses in Flint, Genesee and the surrounding counties. The program goal is to grow the GDP per capita income for minorities, women and veterans, reduce unemployment, retain individuals graduating from local colleges and encourage new talent and businesses to move to the area.

The $50,000 grant will be used to support a new retail collective for woman and minority entrepreneurs.

The $50,000 grant will provide at least three cohorts of 8 to 12 Detroit-based neighborhood entrepreneurs with training and technical assistance relevant to their professional development needs to get them “loan-ready” to expand their current business model. The entrepreneur training is a 20-week training program and to date, 855 participants have graduated from the program. 100 percent of the graduates are Detroit residents.

News Release from Fifth Third Bank on December 12, 2017

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