GVSU expands programming in Battle Creek with $10 million grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation






June 3, 2024

Contact: Michele Coffill, GVSU University Communications
(616) 331-2221

GVSU expands programming in Battle Creek with $10 million grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Media note: photos can be downloaded via https://gvsu.edu/s/2Jx

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Grand Valley State University received a three-year, $10.3 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand the university’s community outreach and educational opportunities in Battle Creek, which includes renovating the Kendall Center to accommodate new programs.

The grant enables Grand Valley to serve Battle Creek area residents through three main areas: increasing access to GVSU degrees and certificates by offering programs at the Kendall Center, growing the food innovation economy, and investing in an aging workforce and new industry opportunities.

GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said the grant enables the university to build on its past and present work of helping Battle Creek learners of all ages, including through the new GVSU OMNI platform for adults.

“We’re proud of our success in breaking down barriers to increase access to education in Battle Creek,” Mantella said. “The W.K. Kellogg Foundation continues to be a great partner as we collaborate to build Michigan’s future.”

Kara Van Dam, chief executive for OMNI, added that this grant builds off a 2019 partnership among Grand Valley, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Battle Creek Public Schools that created college and career pathways for BCPS students.

“We’re so grateful to the Kellogg Foundation,” Van Dam said. “From their vision and discussions with leaders, we’re able to bring in programs that are tailored to the needs of the community.”

La June Montgomery Tabron, CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, said this grant fits the foundation’s goal of building leaders through education.

“I’m excited that we continue to build and grow the workforce ecosystem in Battle Creek. Having Grand Valley as a workforce partner, along with all of the other key partners, expands and accelerates our ability to build talent for today and for the future,” Montgomery Tabron said. “That will help Battle Creek move forward on its journey of becoming a more equitable place of opportunity for its children and families.”

Van Dam said renovations to the Kendall Center, 50 Jackson St. W., will begin soon, with an occupancy goal of late 2025. Renovations to the building’s first floor will create a main entry with cafe, office, classroom and multi-purpose spaces.

Academic programming will begin this fall in partnership with Kellogg Community College, and will include the Bachelor of Applied Science program. Battle Creek youth will also have increased opportunities for after-school programming and summer camps.

The grant will expand a collaboration with Battle Creek Unlimited, the city’s economic development agency, on use of the Kendall Center’s demonstration kitchen. Van Dam said that could mean future academic programs related to nutrition and sustainability.

Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, said the city’s “Food Reimagined” accelerator program has early-stage food entrepreneurs using the kitchen to grow their small businesses. He said the potential collaboration with Grand Valley, through its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will enhance that initiative.



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