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Consumers Energy Foundation Awards $125,000 Grant To Downtown Muskegon Retail Incubator Project; 10th Community Grant To Celebrate Utility's 125th Anniversary

MUSKEGON, Mich., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Consumers Energy Foundation today awarded a $125,000 grant to support the Muskegon Retail Incubator (MRI), which fosters opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop sustainable retail businesses in downtown Muskegon.

It is the 10th and final $125,000 matching grant that the utility's foundation has made during 2012 to celebrate the company's 125th anniversary. The anniversary grants generated $2.5 million in total support for important community investment projects across the state.

David Mengebier, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, presented the $125,000 grant at an afternoon reception with community leaders in downtown Muskegon's Russell Block Market

"The Muskegon Retail Incubator is an economic magnet that attracts new retail businesses and is helping to energize downtown Muskegon. We're pleased to support this important organization," Mengebier said. "We know that creating and sustaining small businesses is the job engine for Michigan's economy and that the Muskegon Retail Incubator is helping to keep that engine running strong."

Terry MacAllister, the chairman of MRI's Board of Directors, thanked the Consumers Energy Foundation for the grant and for designing its anniversary celebration grant program to have leaders in each community select a project that was important to that community.

"Each community in Michigan is different and each community has different priorities.  The Consumers Energy Foundation recognized that and worked with local leaders in Muskegon and nine other communities to identify important projects that needed financial support," MacAllister said.  "Plus, by making these matching grants, the Consumers Energy Foundation helped double the support for these projects to $250,000 and gave each community an opportunity to get involved."

"The supporters of the Muskegon Retail Incubator conducted an extraordinary community fundraising effort to raise the necessary matching funds," Mengebier said. "That effort shows the commitment that the supporters of this organization have to make a difference in Muskegon."

The Muskegon Retail Incubator is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the sole purpose of promoting the economic recovery of the downtown Muskegon area by providing assistance and resources to small business owners. MRI's primary objective is to encourage, foster and support entrepreneurship, community and economic growth by providing a "retail incubator" where entrepreneurs can test products and marketing strategies in an environment that provides ongoing consultation, review and education. 

In addition to Muskegon, the communities receiving $125,000 matching grants from the Consumers Energy Foundation were:  Bay City, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Saginaw, and Traverse City.

So far this year, Consumers Energy, its employees, retirees, the Consumers Energy Foundation, and the utility's parent company, CMS Energy, have contributed more than $3.9 million to Michigan nonprofit organizations.  

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), provides natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

For more information regarding Consumers Energy, visit us at: www.consumersenergy.com or join us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/consumersenergymichigan

For more information about the Consumers Energy Foundation, visit its website at: www.consumersenergy.com/foundation 

SOURCE Consumers Energy

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