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Consumers Energy gift card initiative assists minority-owned businesses in Grand Rapids

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Consumers Energy is partnering with the Michigan Municipal League Foundation on a gift card program that would let customers double their spending and help minority business in greater Grand Rapids.

The initiative, which starts on Friday, is part of the energy giant's “Our Town” program, to assist small local businesses who were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers Energy gifted $55,000 to the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, which is providing the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber and Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses with $25 Mastercard gift cards, to be distributed equally to 40 of their member businesses as a way to bolster the local economy.

Customers who spend a minimum of $25 at a participating location will receive the gift cards. The cards can go towards the current purchase or can be spent at any of the participating businesses.

"This unique partnership with the MML Foundation allows Consumers Energy to work with an important business segment facing challenges because of COVID-19 by increasing local spending in the greater Grand Rapids community,” said Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, Consumers Energy’s vice president of customer experience.

The program is supported by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, which works to advance community wealth, focusing on diverse leadership and equitable outcomes. In a statement, Foundation President Helen D. Johnson said the essential part of the program is how it is geared toward underserved communities and minority-owned businesses.

“This program will provide much needed financial assistance to our local businesses that need it the most in emerging from the pandemic. Our Foundation believes in community wealth building and enhancing the human experience in our communities in ways that share economic prosperity for everyone. That is exactly what this program does.”

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