2021 Bridge Builder Microgrant Project Winners Announced

Matt Bach
Assistant Director of Strategic Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(810) 874-1073
[email protected]


2021 Bridge Builder Microgrant Project Winners Announced

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League Foundation announced today recipients of its Bridge Builders microgrant program. The projects supported include 12 grant winners that reimagined the future of their communities in a way that value and celebrate individual well-being, diversity, and culture as local community assets.

The Bridge Builders Project began as a pilot program in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The microgrant program is designed to encourage the acts of creativity, selflessness, and connection that will help Michigan communities recover from the pandemic.

“These grants will help our local communities re-emerge from the pandemic as co-creators of the better future we want to see for ourselves,” said Michigan Municipal League Foundation President Helen Davis Johnson. “The creativity of the grantees has been truly inspiring, and we cannot wait to see the impacts these projects have on their communities.”

This year’s winners include:

  • Adventure/Imagination Center for Development, Saginaw – During the pandemic, Benjamin Champagne, a curatorial assistant at the Saginaw Art Museum, started hosting “renegade” art events around the Saginaw community. The events included poetry slams in the laundromat and on the bus and movie screenings from local filmmakers under bridges. This grant will allow him to expand his events with new speakers and a power inverter so he can be more mobile and reach more people.
  • Art Pole Project, Rogers City – 17 artists ages 5 and up have painted and designed PVC poles that are displayed around the city in parks and near local businesses. The grant will allow the artists to create more poles for their trail system and local senior community.
  • Casa de Rosado Center, Lansing – Casa de Rosado hosts Sunday mercados (markets) with artists selling their products and live performing artists like dancers and musicians. This grant will allow for extended times to allow the markets to operate further into the summer.
  • Trenton Visionaries and Stakeholders, Trenton – Trenton is a designated Trail Town along the Iron Belle Trail. Through the Deeply Rooted project, local businesses and civic groups will create illuminated sculptures on the tree trunks along the main commercial corridor and host an unveiling reception.
  • Stock Detroit Community Marketplace, Detroit – The Marketplace is a seasonal outdoor market run by the Warren Connor Development Coalition and Eastside Community Network that will serve as a community gathering space for sit-down dining, networking, resource sharing, recreation, and entertainment. This communal platform will connect residents to each other, the neighborhood, and community organizations.
  • Charles Drew Transition Center Horticulture Program, Detroit – The Charles Drew Horticulture Program is a specialized school-based program for special needs students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities, hearing, and visual disabilities, and those with autism. The mission for the Food Relief for Our Detroit Community project is for students to learn vocational horticulture skills for future employment opportunities while growing food for those in need through food pantry donations, providing healthy food options where currently there are none.
  • Burns Seneca Fischer Jr Block Club, Detroit –The Burns Seneca Fischer Jr Block Club in Detroit is a youth block club made of approximately 35 youth ages 4 to 19 who meet and decide on community projects that they want to do. This grant will help the youth host a play for the community. The youth will be engaged in everything from set and costume design to marketing and more.
  • Joo Won Park, Kresge Art Fellow, Detroit – A group of Korean American performing artists in Michigan will host an evening-length show consisting of music, dance, and multimedia art. Joo Won Park assistant professor of Music Technology at Wayne State University and Joori Jung, the director of Art Lab J ( will curate the show, panel session, and possibly a workshop. Depending on the COVID-19 situation, the project can take the form of online performance or in-person events.
  • Central Neighborhood Association, Traverse City – The Central Neighborhood is a mixed income area where for the past two years, they have been hosting PorchFest, an event where over 30 musicians play sets on porches throughout the Central Neighborhood. PorchFest 2021 is on Sept. 19, 2021. This year, they are expanding their outreach efforts to attract more locals to this free event with the goal of creating and sustaining connections among neighbors.
  • Singing in the Rain, Vassar – The city of Vassar will use hydrophobic paint to paint the city with interactive art along the sidewalks leading to and throughout their downtown. They also plan to hold events around the street art to engage families and residents.
  • The Jefferson Chalmers Farmers Market, Detroit – Jefferson Chalmers Farmers Market is a community farmer’s market that serves as a micro business and micro agribusiness incubator. Local residents can reserve vendor spaces to sell goods they have either made or grown. This helps spur local innovation, art and culture, and it promotes healthy eating which will enrich the lives of residents of the community.
  • The West Ann Street Placemaking Project, Sault Ste. Marie – The West Ann Street Placemaking Project is a partnership among local businesses and neighborhood leaders. A public space will be transformed with a mural, landscaping, and amenities for dog-owners to create a sense of place in their neighborhood and spark a sense of neighborhood pride and encourage people to care for their neighborhood.

Each Microgrant winner will receive $500 toward their project. All grant projects are required to take place in a Michigan Municipal League member community. The selected winners are determined to be projects that instill local pride, encourage civic participation, and build connection across divides in their respective communities.

For additional information, contact the League’s Matt Bach, assistant director of strategic communications, at (810) 874-1073 (cell) and [email protected].

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at

©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved