Michigan Municipal League Foundation Opens Applications for Grants to Bring People Together

Matt Bach
Michigan Municipal League
C: (810) 874-1073; [email protected]


Michigan Municipal League Foundation Opens Applications for Grants to Bring People Together

$20,000 DTE Energy Foundation Commitment Expands Bridge Builders Microgrant Program

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League Foundation today is launching its second round of the Bridge Builders Microgrant Program. Applications for the expanded program open today, April 30, 2021 and close May 31, 2021. The program is being greatly expanded thanks to a $20,000 grant from the DTE Energy Foundation.

The Bridge Builders microgrants support innovative work that intentionally and creatively brings people together, while socially distant, and repairs broken relationships in the community, said Helen D. Johnson, President of the Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

Because of the DTE Energy Foundation’s support, this year’s program is being expanded to include a category for collaborations between local businesses and artists. The $20,000 grant from the DTE Foundation  will fund up to four $5,000 Main Street microgrants – which will engage local businesses and artists to drive positive change together, overcome differences, and strengthen the fabric of communities.

“The microgrant program launched last year was intended to encourage acts of creativity, selflessness and connection that we were seeing in Michigan in response to the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnson said. “This year, Michiganders have an opportunity to re-emerge from the pandemic as co-creators of the future we want to see. The MML Foundation invites Michigan residents to imagine a future for their communities where trust and belonging thrive, individuals’ well-being is valued, and diversity and culture are celebrated community assets.”

This year’s program has grown considerably and includes two funding categories:

Neighborhood Microgrants
At least 10 $500 grants will be awarded to individuals, loose collectives, and community organizations statewide. These grants are intended for individuals, neighborhood/block clubs, grassroots organizations and groups of community members. This grant category asks everyday residents and emerging community leaders to identify ways to strengthen the social fabric of their communities through creative, intentional acts of connection.

Main Street Microgrants

Up to four $5,000 grants – funded by the DTE Foundation – will be awarded for collaborations between local small businesses and artists that aim to bring residents back to local businesses and celebrate culture and diversity. Entities eligible to participate include small businesses, downtown development authorities, locally owned businesses, chambers of commerce and other similar organizations; application teams must include at least three locally owned small businesses and at least one local artist.

This pilot program will be available in four regions: The upper peninsula (Prosperity Region 1); the northern lower peninsula (Prosperity Regions 2 and 3); west Michigan (Prosperity Region 4); and southeast Michigan (Prosperity Regions 9 and 10).

“At DTE, our aspiration is to be a force for good in the communities where our 10,000-plus team members live and serve – and our partnership with the Michigan Municipal League Foundation plays a critical role in driving our mission of service forward,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation. “We’re humbled to support the Bridge Builders microgrants program because time and time again, we’ve seen firsthand the power of creative, passionate grassroots efforts in creating a better tomorrow. We’re grateful to play even a small role in helping incubate solutions of, by and for our communities that will continue to drive Michigan – and Michiganders – forward.

Visit for complete details on eligibility and applications. Interested applicants can also watch free informational webinars about the Neighborhood microgrants here and the Main Street microgrants here. Questions about this program can be directed to: [email protected].

“The beauty of the Michigan Municipal League’s Bridge Builders microgrant program is its ability to generate creative, intentional solutions that drive positive, meaningful change statewide,” said Carla Gribbs, chairwoman, Michigan Municipal League Foundation. “We look forward to seeing this year’s grant recipients – our local artists, entrepreneurs, neighbors and grassroots organizations – come together to write their communities’ next great chapters, together.”

Media seeking additional information should contact Matt Bach, Michigan Municipal League assistant director of strategic communications, at [email protected] and (810) 874-1073.

About the MML Foundation
The MML Foundation is working to advance community wealth building across Michigan. The foundation does this work through strategic partnerships, investments in strong, diverse leadership for Michigan communities and place-based initiatives that drive equitable outcomes.

About the DTE Foundation 
The DTE Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2020, the DTE Energy Foundation provided more than $16 million in grant support and approximately $21 million in COVID relief to nonprofits where the company has a business presence. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in communities across Michigan in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Visit to learn more.

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