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The voting period has begun for Inspired Learning grants from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo.

The submissions are in, and the 2014 Inspired Learning grant videos highlight the remarkable innovation and commitment of Kalamazoo County educators and their students.

Forty-four grant request videos were submitted, seeking support for activities from peer mentoring to student publications, from art projects to science clubs, and from learning about glass-blowing to practicing guitar-building.

"We're thrilled with the enthusiasm we have seen from local educators," says Amy Slancik, The Learning Network officer at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. "We wanted to make the submission process very easy for educators, with videos simply posted on Facebook. But it has been incredibly inspiring to see the care that people took to explain their ideas and to convey the important learning opportunities they want to support."


The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation kicked off the Inspired Learning grants program in October to empower local educators to launch innovative learning ideas. Four grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded to Kalamazoo County teachers, volunteers or other educators who work with kids and want to inspire them with an innovative learning program.

To apply, educators simply needed to upload to the program’s Facebook page a short video explaining their idea. The breadth of ideas that have been suggested is truly inspiring.


With the submissions in place, judging is now underway. The first round of judging the grant videos depends on community voting. Visit our Facebook page to check out the submissions and vote for your favorites. Visitors can vote once a day until 6 p.m. on December 12.

Once community voting has narrowed the submissions down to the top 12 videos, a panel of community leaders from Kalamazoo County will select the final four recipients of the grants.

The panel includes:

  • Carl Brown Principal of Roguebotic and Co-Founder of Tweet Up Kalamazoo
  • Patricia Carlin Retired Educator from Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Matthew Downey Program Director for Nonprofit Services, Johnson Center for Philanthropy
  • Gabriel Giron Co-Founder of Kinetic Affect
  • Jennifer Hsu Coordinator of the Office of LBGTA Student Services, Western Michigan University
  • Amy Slancik Community Investment Officer for The Learning Network, Kalamazoo Community Foundation
  • Von Washington Jr. Executive Director of Community Relations, Kalamazoo Promise

Recipients will be announced in January.