Categories: Uncategorized


Categories: Uncategorized


Aldo Manner



Sept 05, 2023Petoskey, Michigan – On August 2, 2023, United Way of Northwest Michigan (UWNWMI), Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities (GCRC), and Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District (Char-Em ISD) were notified by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund Board of Directors that their grant request of $500,000 to support the program “Whole Child Nutrition Policy, Infrastructure, Food Literacy” has been approved.

“This grant will allow our local schools to expand upon successful farm-to-school initiatives already in place, which have proven successful in nurturing the knowledge, growth, and health of students and the school community,” said Mike Haynes, Director of Instructional Services, Char- Em ISD.

  • These funds will be used for nutritional programming in schools, to bolster awareness of healthy food choices, and to increase student access to locally produced foods in school cafeterias
  • Serving approximately 9,000 students in 20 schools throughout the Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties within the Char-Em ISD.
  • Letters of Support from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan and all 9 public school districts affiliated with the Char-Em ISD were included in the grant submission.
  • Letters of Collaboration from GCRC, FoodCorps, Char-Em ISD submitted with application“We are excited to work with United Way to bring this essential programming to our region, and appreciative that they and the Health Fund have provided a way for Groundwork and our partners to continue to expand access to locally grown food for all of the children in our community,” shared Jen Schaap, Food and Farming Program Director, Groundwork Center for Resilient CommunitiesOriginally a collaboration between the Health Department of NW Michigan, GCRC, and Char-Em ISD, UWNWMI stepped into an administrative role just prior to the grant submission deadline to secure this funding, when the Board of Health did not approve the meeting agenda necessary to authorize the Health Department’s application.

“Scrambling to submit this grant was not on my work plan for this spring, but this work is too important to lose. The Health Department of Northwest Michigan and Groundwork staff worked hard to get this grant ready, and United Way wanted to make sure that their dedicated effort still served our community,” said Rebeca Otto, Director of Regional Community Impact – Char-Em Region. “We had the capacity to be the last leg of this relay and fully live up to our mission of connecting and mobilizing the caring power of our local communities to advance the common good. We hope, however, that governing bodies will continue to pursue funding sources that staff bring forward. Nonprofit workers are exhausted and, while we have learned to expertly pivot, it is not the best use of our time.”

Nutritional education programming, health information collection, and school kitchen improvement stipends to begin in October 2023, and continue through the following school year.

The Whole Child Nutrition Grant will serve as a pilot program to incorporate healthy diets and nutritional awareness throughout the Char-Em ISD, and to build schoolwide cultures of health.

For more information visit The Char-Em office for United Way of Northwest Michigan is located at 1691 US 131 S, Petoskey, MI 49770

Rebeca Otto can be reached at or 231-881-2591.