Contact: Gerard Santoro
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2022
Macomb County presented with $250,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation
Grant funds to help the County in its effort to double local tree canopy
Officials from Macomb County and its Planning and Economic Development Department (MCPED) were today presented with a $250,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation as part of the foundation’s Planet Awards initiative. The funds will assist the County’s Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership with efforts to double local tree canopy.
“This is one of the largest philanthropic grants ever awarded to the County, and that speaks to the vision and ability of our Planning and Economic Development team,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “I am so proud of that department and the continued work they are doing to increase native trees and plants in our community, and I am grateful to the Consumers Energy Foundation for recognizing us and our commitment to the environment through the generous Planet Awards.”
Macomb County Planning and Economic Development was the top recipient of the foundation’s 2022 Planet Award grant funding, which saw a collective $500,000 distributed to three different programs and initiatives making a significant impact on Michigan’s environment.
“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring Michigan has world-class natural resources. Our Planet Awards represent that commitment in action,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We’re excited to support Macomb County’s urban canopy project and confident it will significantly help preserve Michigan’s natural beauty.”
Using the grant dollars, MCPED’s Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership will plant 1,000 trees, 1,500 native shrubs and 40 acres of pollinator habitat, which will help the County capture and treat nearly 450,000 gallons of stormwater and more than 3,000 tons of carbon each year.
“Macomb’s tree cover is 26 percent, which falls short of the USDA recommendation of a 40 percent cover or better in urban areas,” said Gerard Santoro, program director for parks and natural resources at MCPED. “ This grant funding will help us make a significant impact and get us closer to reaching our goal of doubling our number of trees.”
Current plans for tree plantings include projects in Mount Clemens, Harrison Township and Clinton Township. Additional planting opportunities will be offered to Shelby Township, Macomb Township, Roseville, Eastpointe, Warren, St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Utica and Center Line.
“The benefits of this work are very clear,” Santoro said. “Not only will we beautify local areas, we will enhance natural habitat for a variety of native species. And this results in better home values, lower energy costs, better health outcomes for residents and a stronger, more resilient environment that is well equipped to handle big weather events and other climate issues.”
The Consumers Energy Foundation has distributed $1.5 million to 10 organizations over the three years of the Planet Awards. In addition to the Green Macomb Urban Forest Partnership, 2022 grantees include Oshtemo Township in Kalamazoo County, which will restore the ecological health of a two-mile section of the Fruit Belt Rail Corridor, and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority’s “Healing the Huron River Headwaters” project, which will restore the forested wetland and floodplain habitats that make up the headwater area of the Huron River.
Green Macomb was founded in 2016 by Macomb County Planning and Economic Development to support green infrastructure efforts that strengthen economic vitality, quality of life and environmental well-being. Program leaders have established diverse partnerships since its creation, working with local municipalities, businesses, private residents and nonprofit organizations to advance its mission. The foundation’s Planet Awards grant funding is an additional example of its innovative approach to enhancing the region's land and water resources.
Photos from the press conference are available here.
Photo 1 (left to right): Carolyn Bloodworth, Executive Director of Corporate Giving, Consumers Energy; Vicky Rowinski, Director, MCPED; Gerard Santoro, Program Director for Parks and Natural Resources, MCPED; Amanda Oparka, Senior Planner for Parks and Natural Resources, MCPED; County Executive Mark Hackel; Don Brown, Chairman of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners; Harold Haugh, Macomb County Board of Commissioners; Chris Fultz, Vice President of Gas Operations, Consumers Energy; Lauren Brosch, Community Affairs Manager, Consumers Energy
Photo 2 (left to right): Gerard Santoro, Program Director for Parks and Natural Resources, MCPED, and Chris Fultz, Vice President of Gas Operations, Consumers Energy, unveil the Planet Awards check
Photo 3: Macomb County's Planet Awards check
Photo 4: Lauren Brosch, Community Affairs Manager, Consumers Energy, and Chris Fultz, Vice President of Gas Operations, Consumers Energy, stand alongside the Planet Awards check
Photo 5: Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel speaks at the Planet Awards check presentation
About Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development supports an environment where businesses prosper and people thrive. Its activities and programs are focused on stimulating the local economy through business retention, expansion and attraction while improving the overall quality of life for residents. The department specializes in providing services to businesses at all stages of development with a concentration on the high-growth industries of aerospace, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, defense and homeland security. For more information, call 586-469-5285 or visit: https://ped.macombgov.org/Ped-Home
About the Consumers Energy Foundation
The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. The Foundation enables communities to thrive and grow by investing in what’s most important to Michigan — its people, our planet and Michigan’s prosperity. In 2021, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed over $17.5 million to Michigan nonprofits. For more information, visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/foundation.
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