Date: August 7, 2023



Erika Whitehead

(269) 216-1290

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation Receives Consumers Energy Foundation Grant

The Sustaining BIPOC Leaders initiative receives its second $20,000 grant to support local BIPOC leaders.

Kalamazoo, Mich. – The Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) received its second $20,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation. KZCF was selected as one of 10 community foundations to receive the grant as part of their efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in Kalamazoo County.

The grant was used to support KZCF’s Sustaining BIPOC Leaders initiative, which was created to provide rest, respite, professional development, executive coaching and wellness grants to local nonprofit leaders.

“We know that the strongest, most prosperous and resilient communities are built when everyone has a seat at the planning table,” said Cathy Wilson, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Yet the reality is that the struggle for equity doesn’t end simply by getting more voices of color in a room — it also requires ensuring the people behind those voices have access to the resources they need to thrive. The Consumers Energy Foundation is proud to continue supporting the KZCF and their work to support the next inclusive generation of Kalamazoo County leadership.”

Lily Salas, community investment officer at KZCF and team lead on the initiative, is grateful for the grant and what it will help the team accomplish.

“It is reassuring to know that more funders believe in this work, and of course, it feels fantastic to be awarded the grant a second time around,” said Salas. “Aside from affirming our work, it provides additional resources to support more leaders.”

In 2022, KZCF completed its first round of funding, offering $60,000 in total grant awards to 28 local nonprofit leaders. The main requests were for healing and wellness, professional development and taking a sabbatical or leave of absence.

“We received powerful testimony from leaders who received grants in 2022 indicating the support helped them gain new leadership skills, rest and restore so they can feel more intentional, effective and resilient in their work,” said Salas.

Salas looks forward to continuing to support BIPOC community leaders as they engage in transformational work.

“I would like community leaders to know that we see all of their hard work and passion poured daily into our community. We hope to be able to continue to provide resources for rest in future years and influence the philanthropy sector so that these resources expand and become more accessible.”

About Kalamazoo Community Foundation

KZCF, established in 1925, has the vision of Kalamazoo County being the most equitable place to live, with the mission to mobilize people, resources and expertise and to advance racial, social and economic justice. Learn more at

About the Consumers Energy Foundation

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the charitable arm of Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider. The Foundation contributes to the growth and strengthening of Michigan communities by investing in what’s most important — our people, our planet and Michigan’s prosperity. In 2022, the Consumers Energy Foundation, Consumers Energy, its employees and retirees contributed more than $18.5 million to Michigan nonprofits. For more information, visit