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Lakeland awards SMC $50,000

Lakeland Health recently awarded $70,000 to three area organizations on behalf of the Community Wellness Endowment, established in 2014 to help sponsor local organizations that promote community health.

Grant recipients include: $50,000 to Southwestern Michigan College, in support of the college’s strategic initiative to address the critical health care professional shortage impacting rural counties today; $15,000 to Lakeshore Public Schools, for the startup of a Certified Nursing Assistant class; and $5,000 to the Krasl Art Center, for the continuation and expansion of Art Angels, a program that provides hands-on visual arts experiences for families at Lakeland hospitals in hopes of improving the quality of life of participants and serving as an avenue for stress release and a way to gain control in difficult circumstances.

“Three years ago the Lakeland Health board of directors established the Community Wellness Endowment in an effort to collaborate with community partners to improve access to preventive care and the health outcomes of our community,” said Brandi Smith-Gordon, vice president of philanthropy and president of the Lakeland Health Foundations. “These most recent grants go to worthy organizations that are committed to this work.”

“The Southwestern Michigan College Foundation is extremely pleased with Lakeland Health’s financial support on behalf of the college’s renovation of the Nursing and Health Services Building,” said Eileen Toney, executive director of the SMC Foundation. “With this gift, Lakeland communicates its commitment to support Southwestern Michigan College in its efforts to educate students in meeting workforce needs of hospitals and health care providers across our region.”

Initiatives supported by the Community Wellness Endowment must be sponsored by non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations that serve populations integral to Lakeland Health service areas of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties in southwest Michigan. Support must be focused on existing programs, new initiatives and/or capital needs.

The next round of grants will be awarded in September, with applications due by Monday, Sept. 4.

For more information, or to complete an application, visit