Battle Creek's micro-grant fund to help small businesses just grew to $600,000 dollars, thanks to a $200,000 contribution from the Consumers Energy Foundation, a
$75,000 donation from Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU), and an additional $75,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF). BCU started the emergency fund in April after receiving an initial $250,000 in support from WKKF..

The COVID-19 Micro-grant Fund was created to help small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Funds may be used to maintain payroll and workforce expenses, including accounts payable, rent and other bills that could have been paid otherwise if the executive order had not been issued. The fund is not intended to replace lost sales, profits, or business expansions.

The additional money will allow BCU to open up the micro-grant fund to eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Battle Creek as well as the adjacent communities of Springfield, Emmett Charter Township, Bedford Charter Township, and Pennfield Charter Township. To qualify, applicants should have fewer than 15 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. The maximum award for Round 2 will be $5,000. Companies which previously were denied a grant are invited to reapply.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the Consumers Energy Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,” said Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of BCU. “With the initial award of $250,000, we anticipated making between 35-50 awards. We received 127 applications requesting more than $1.8 million in the initial round. The combined additional funding will enable us to support an additional 65 to 85 businesses across the Battle Creek region.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation’s contribution is part of an effort to help small business customers in this time of need. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and have been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michigan’s small business community succeed now, more than ever. We are making an investment in our communities, business owners, workers and their families, and a commitment to help power through together.”

The Consumers Energy Foundation is donating $1.8 million to nine organizations to provide a lifeline to small businesses across Michigan – focusing in particular on helping female- and minority-owned businesses. In all, the Foundation has given over $3 million to meet the needs of Michigan residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Consumers Energy Foundation's contribution is part of an effort to help small business customers in this time of need. Consumers Energy is promoting a hotline, 800-805-0490, and a website to provide meaningful and immediate help.