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Support Spartan nonprofits this season

December 9, 2022 - Chelsea Stein and Aaryn Richard

With the giving season officially underway, what better way to show your support than to make an impact for a fellow Spartan? Together, the Broad College of Business and the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation bring you their third annual holiday guide. This year’s guide features 11 Michigan nonprofit organizations founded or led by Michigan State University alumni — so you can Go Green and give back.

Help relieve hunger

Forgotten Harvest

Food brings us together and is the foundation of the holiday season for many people. You can support metro Detroit’s largest food rescue organization, Forgotten Harvest, which is dedicated to relieving hunger and preventing nutritious food waste. Led by Chief Executive Officer Kirk Mayes (B.A. Communications ’99), the organization rescued over 42 million pounds of food from 530 donor sites, including wholesale distributors, farmers, dairies, restaurants and 267 grocery stores, just last year.

The food brought in is then delivered at no charge to more than 200 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and mobile pantries across metro Detroit. Forgotten Harvest recently opened a new facility in Oak Park, which will enable volunteers and staff to provide a more diverse and nutritional mix.

Be part of the solution and help feed hungry Detroiters.

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

Take things a step further and help the food movement, improving food security and food justice in Michigan’s largest city. The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network is a trailblazing organizational leader in global environmental justice, food justice and food sovereignty movements. Its work comprises three major programs: Food Warriors Youth Development program, Food ‘N Flava Program and the Detroit People’s Food Co-op and D-Town Farm, which is the largest urban farm in the state of Michigan

With shakara tyler (M.S. Community Agriculture ’13, Ph.D. Community Sustainability ’19) at the helm as its board president, DBCFSN works to build self-reliance, food security and justice in Detroit’s Black community by influencing public policy, engaging in urban agriculture, promoting healthy eating, encouraging cooperative buying and directing youth toward careers in food-related fields. DBCFSN’s vision is to advance the movement toward food sovereignty while advocating for justice in the food system that ensures access to healthy foods with dignity and respect for all of Detroit’s residents.

Support their mission, become a member and make a difference today.

Greater Lansing Food Bank

Another option if you want to help Michiganders facing hunger is to give to Greater Lansing Food Bank, led by Chief Executive Officer Michelle Lantz (B.A./M.A. Communications and Public Relations ’91). GLFB — with the help of its robust network of more than 140 community partners — works to alleviate hunger one meal at a time, to create a future where everyone has access to nourishing food. They achieve this mission by providing a variety of foods through specialized services across the mid-Michigan counties of Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Isabella and Shiawassee.

As the holiday season approaches, neighbors facing hunger know winter can bring more than just the cold. In mid-Michigan, one in eight individuals faces food insecurity, meaning they do not know when their next meal will come. Although this season is typically filled with joy, it can also be marked by the stress of additional expenses that make it harder for families to afford the nutritious meals they need.

Consider giving joy this season with a donation to GLFB. Help connect families with the food they need to take hunger off the table.

Comfort those in need

Slippers for Mom

Maybe your favorite part of the holiday season involves a family tradition. That was the inspiration behind Slippers for Mom, a nonprofit founded in 2013 by Michelle Garr (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’99).

True to its name, Slippers for Mom honors the memory of Garr’s mom, Marianne Taylor, who passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 56. Garr and her siblings had a tradition of giving their mom a new pair of slippers each Christmas morning. The first year after their mom passed away, Garr’s family struggled with not having anyone to buy a pair of slippers for and wanting to keep the tradition going. That’s when Garr created Slippers for Mom.

Since it began, Slippers for Mom has donated more than 4,100 cozy pairs to Michiganders in need across the state. In 2021 alone, 851 pairs of slippers were donated to 20 organizations in metro Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.

Make someone’s winter morning a little cozier by supporting this family tradition and Garr’s mission to comfort those in need during the holiday season.

New Day Foundation for Families

Perhaps you want to do something to make things easier for cancer patients and their families this holiday season. Consider donating to New Day Foundation for Families, run by Gina Kell Spehn (B.A. Advertising ’91), president and co-founder.

New Day is an accessible, trusted and reliable cancer support organization that provides Michigan families with the financial and emotional resources needed to improve quality of life and treatment outcomes. In partnership with nearly 70 hospitals across the state, New Day helps by paying patients’ critical living expenses directly to creditors and offering patients professional counseling and grocery support.

New Day’s Hope for the Holidays campaign softens the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis for moms, dads and kids, now and throughout the year. When you give, you can choose from a range of initiatives — from sending a care package or providing a holiday meal to helping with a household repair or winter heating bills — and gifts will be matched up to $10,000. Your support will have a lasting impact and bring hope to hurting people.

Create a better future

Several people standing with matching shirts
Detroit Heals Detroit transforms pain into power for youth in Michigan’s largest city.

Detroit Heals Detroit

Detroit Heals Detroit transforms pain into power for youth in Michigan’s largest city.

Spread cheer and purpose this year with a gift to Detroit Heals Detroit, co-founded by Sirrita Darby (B.A. Communications, Social Relations & Policy ’14, Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Policy ’21). This nonprofit exists to foster healing justice for Detroit youth in which they transform their pain into power.

With a goal to combat trauma, Detroit Heals Detroit uses healing-centered engagement to share its greatest vulnerabilities with the rest of the world while simultaneously working to dismantle oppressive systems for marginalized Detroit youth. The organization is currently building a youth-led hub that will provide culturally rooted, trauma-informed care and other services as a safe haven for children ages 12–21.

A single donation will be used to support scholars who are beginning their journeys toward healing. Your support will help host healing circles, create various therapy rooms for youth and run healing-centered events and one-on-one healing sessions. Detroit Heals Detroit is also excited to use the hub to heal the wider community by expanding its initiatives to include youth-led book clubs, workshops, community gardens and community cleanups.

Read the full story and learn about the other nonprofits on the Broad College of Business website.