Cliffs/Eagle Mine fund donates $1 million to Marquette County organizations

Marquette County nonprofit and government agencies will have an easier time paying for much-needed projects.

Thirteen of them have just received a total of more than $1 million dollars in grants.  The money comes from the Cliffs/Eagle Mine Marquette County Community Fund.

The Women’s Center and Harbor House received $100,000 to help pay their mortgage.  Great Lakes Recovery Centers will use its $50,000 to help open a new adolescent services center in Negaunee.

“It’s been going in earnest here for the past couple of months, and we’re really excited,” Great Lakes Recovery Centers foundation coordinator Andy Chosa said. “Capacity goes from 11 to around 20 in the new facility.”

“It has just long since been a dream of everyone at the Women’s Center–staff members, board members included–to be able to provide a wonderful safe haven for survivors of domestic and sexual violence,” Women’s Center and Harbor House director Phyllis Loonsfoot said. “Along with that comes a mortgage payment.”

Cliffs and Eagle Mine created the joint fund in 2012 with $4 million for local grants.  This is the second round of grant awards, and more than half of the fund’s money has now been distributed.

“There’ll be about $1.7 million left in the fund (after tonight),” Cliffs director of public affairs Dale Hemmila said. “At the rate we’re going, we’ll probably go through at least two more grant periods. Whether it goes beyond that depends on how much money we distribute over those next two periods.”

“The Cliffs/Eagle Fund is a great opportunity for the mining industry to invest in the communities in which we live and work, really beyond the jobs and the local taxes that we already pay,” Eagle Mine external affairs manager Matt Johnson said.

The grants ranged in size from $3,500 to $200,000.

Marquette Township, the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team and the U.P. Children’s Museum were among the other recipients.