The DTE Energy Foundation has awarded grants to seven West Michigan-based organizations to boost access to jobs, education and basic needs for people who are disadvantaged. Grant recipients include the After 26 Project, Autism Alliance of Michigan, Feeding America West Michigan, Grand Rapids Urban League, Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes, Kids’ Food Basket and West Michigan Asian American Association, Inc.

“Supporting these organizations will have a multiplier effect in developing our state’s talented people and filling a void where families need it most,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation. “Our partners work to directly improve lives through job readiness in their region, bolstering the quality of life for communities. To ensure we have the next generation of skilled and professional workers, we must provide students with excellent training, and the DTE Foundation’s support will create educational pathways so people can thrive.”

This support will better position each organization to meet the specific needs of the people they serve through job readiness, education, and equipping people with basic needs like food assistance. 

“We are so thankful to DTE Foundation to be one of the seven amazing organizations who are all doing critical work for our West Michigan community,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, Founding CEO of Kids’ Food Basket. “At Kids’ Food Basket, we meet an immediate need by providing daily nourishing ready-to-eat evening meals to children and families. With opportunities such as this, together, our collective community can take one step closer to realizing a hunger-free West Michigan for all.”

The grant recipients – and communities – will use their expertise to ensure the DTE Foundation’s commitment has maximum positive impact:

  • After 26 Project – $26,000 grant to support the After 26 Project in operating a successful café/gift shop in the community employing adults with special needs and job coaches, cooks, wait staff and managers.


  • Autism Alliance of Michigan – $125,000 grant to fund the Autism Alliance of Michigan’s efforts to raise expectations and expand education and employment opportunities for people touched by autism across their lifespan.


  • Feeding America West Michigan – $50,000 grant to bolster Feeding America West Michigan’s work in gathering and distributing food to relieve hunger and increase food security in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.


  • Grand Rapids Urban League – $10,000 grant for the Listen Up! program, which aims to fill the STEM workforce pipeline by connecting industry to the classroom. With a focus on equity of access, the project aims to unite the private sector to accelerate the growth of the STEM pipeline for students of color in Grand Rapids and Kent County.


  • Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes – $30,000 grant to help Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes raise student awareness of STEM and other careers by demonstrating the real-life application of skills and topics learned in the classroom.


  • Kids’ Food Basket – $100,000 grant to find a community solution to childhood hunger by engaging all who care about children reaching their full potential – in school and in life.


  • West Michigan Asian American Association, Inc. – $10,000 grant for the Pre-Literacy Program, which focuses on teaching basic reading and writing in English to those who have not had formal schooling in their native language.