MML Foundation Announces 2023 Bridge Builders Funded Projects

Matt Bach
Michigan Municipal League
O: (734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
[email protected]


Microgrants Going to 12 Projects in 10 Michigan Communities

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Twelve projects from 10 Michigan communities are receiving microgrants that aim to bring people out of their homes and into their communities through creative and collaborative projects.

Today, the Michigan Municipal League Foundation announced the recipients of the statewide 2023 Bridge Builders Microgrants program. The program includes four Main Street Microgrant recipients and eight Neighborhood Microgrant recipients. The projects are located in the following communities: Bessemer, Detroit (two projects), Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marcellus, Muskegon (two projects), North Adams, Rogers City, and Vicksburg.

This is the fourth round of the microgrants program, and this year saw a big increase in entries – more than one hundred applications were submitted.

The Bridge Builders Microgrants program offers small, one-time grants for creative projects in Michigan Municipal League member communities. Projects bring together neighbors, artists, business owners, and municipal leaders and often inspire bigger, cross-sector collaborations in Michigan communities.

“Michigan is full of exceptional people who intentionally and creatively bring people together across divides to celebrate our shared humanity and the places that we call home. This program brings community leaders, business owners, neighborhood residents, and municipal leaders together to collaborate on thoughtful, creative projects,” said the MML Foundation President

Helen Davis Johnson. “This year’s applications were exceptional, and we are looking forward to working with these communities in the coming months.”
This year’s program included two funding categories. Bridge Builders Main Street Microgrants offer small, one-time grants of up to $5,000 for collaborative, creative projects in Michigan Municipal League member communities. Microgrants fund projects that bring together local artists and businesses in downtowns and business districts across Michigan.

Bridge Builders Neighborhood Microgrants offer small, one-time grants of up to $1,000 for collaborative, creative projects, or events in Michigan Municipal League member communities. Each project should build bridges across the community by bringing people together.

This year’s Neighborhood projects include:

A Night at the Coloring Museum, Detroit—A temporary art installation inviting community members to color transitional wall murals.

Cornerstone Village Botanical Garden, Detroit—Transformation of a vacant lot into a botanical garden to benefit people and pollinators.

Growing Food. Growing Fun. Growing Fellowship., Holland—A project to revamp individual gardening plots into a community gathering space.

I Remember When, Marcellus—A multimedia project in which community youth will interview community elders. Interviews and photographs will be displayed during a First Friday event.

Lansing Eastside Crosswalk Painting, Lansing—Crosswalk art installations to beautify the neighborhood and calm traffic.

The Growth of Corn(hole) in Our Park, North Adams—A permanent cornhole game installation in the local park, with decoration provided by the community’s kindergarten and senior high school classes.

This is Us, Muskegon—A mural installation on fencing at McLaughlin Community Park.

Washington Avenue Art Crawl (WAAC), Kalamazoo—A free, walkable, welcoming exhibition featuring local artists and a collaborative art project.

This year’s Main Street projects include:

  • Art Has Power, Rogers City—A poetry festival and art walk to activate downtown Rogers City and highlight business opportunities.
  • ARTS in the BURG, Vicksburg—A reoccurring summer festival that brings together residents, artists, and businesses to celebrate Vicksburg. Also included is the community’s first “art cart,” a transportable art station.
  • The Lakeside Cross Walk Art Project, Muskegon—A cross walk art installation that celebrates the diversity of Muskegon and its Lakeside district while calming traffic.
  • Welcome to Bessemer—Our Past Creates Our Future, Bessemer—A mural installation to commemorate Bessemer’s history and ethnicities.

Projects were selected by statewide juries after moving through a community engagement-focused online voting process in June.

Those with questions or those interested in partnership opportunities should contact Rachel Skylis at 734-669-6333 or [email protected].

The MML Foundation creates and cultivates resources, partnerships, and opportunities that Michigan communities need to thrive.


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