The Berrien Community Foundation has announced this year’s Heart of Cook grant recipients. The Heart of Cook is a grant program run by employees of the Cook nuclear power plant near Bridgman. Each year, the program gives out thousands of dollars to non-profits and other community organizations throughout Berrien County. This latest round of grants is a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Berrien Community Foundation has released the following statement:
“The Heart of Cook” has awarded grants to 35 area non-profit organizations totaling over $58,000. The “Heart of Cook” is a corporate-advised fund held by the Berrien Community Foundation.
Traditionally, Heart of Cook Grant Awards are presented in person at a grant reception hosted by the Cook Nuclear Plant’s Heart of Cook Grant Committee. However, due to the extraordinary stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the decision was made to forego the reception this year in order to get the awards out as expediently as possible.
“Like so many businesses in our community, the global pandemic has put our local nonprofits in a very difficult position,” said AEP Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Joel Gebbie. “Their need for help in order to help others in need is extremely urgent and will continue to be so for some time. That’s why, aside from this year’s Heart of Cook grant awards, the American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation has also given an additional $25,000 to the Southwest Michigan Cares Fund on behalf of I&M and Cook Plant, which was recently created in response to COVID-19-related needs.”
The 2020 Heart of Cook grants will support a wide range of programming with everything from food pantries to domestic violence shelters to services for seniors and people with disabilities. The Heart of Cook focuses on programs that address education, human services and environmental projects and gives priority to programs that involve a Cook Nuclear plant employee.
While the Heart of Cook grant program is administered by the Berrien Community Foundation, a committee comprised of Cook Nuclear Plant employees reviews all of the grant applications and makes decisions. This year, the Heart of Cook committee received and reviewed over 60 grant applications requesting more than $324,000.
Organizations receiving 2020 grants were:
Grant applications for 2021 will be available in January by contacting the Berrien Community Foundation at www.berriencommunity.org.