Meet the 2023 Finalists

2023 Impact100 Traverse City Grant Finalists


Grand Traverse Industries, Inc

INITIATIVE: Field of Dreams

Grand Traverse Industries (GTI) provides program services and employment to individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).  

GTI’s “Field of Dreams “project is an outdoor recreational park designed specifically for individuals with IDD. The proposed park will have ADA accessible nature paths, benches, picnic tables, raised garden beds, sound gardens, wheelchair swing, ADA adult swings, a basketball court, water features, activity and art space, and a memorial garden. This will be impactful because it will allow additional outdoor programming to all of GTI’s team members including those with the most significant disabilities along with other IDD community members.  

This project has the ability to positively improve the IDD population’s physical and mental health along with having a beautiful space to honor and remember their friends in the memorial garden. This park would be used in collaboration with other area organizations for the benefit of the IDD population. Read more


Michigan Legacy Art Park

INITIATIVE: Trail and Wayfinding Improvements

Michigan Legacy Art Park (the Art Park) inspires awareness, appreciation and passion for Michigan’s history, culture, and the environment through the arts. The Art Park operates a 30-acre public sculpture forest in Thompsonville, adjacent to Crystal Mountain, and provides programs and services on-site, and in classrooms across northwest Michigan. The Art Park has over 50 sculptures in its permanent collection; poetry inscribed on stones in the natural setting; an amphitheater for concerts and events; a 1⁄4 mile accessible trail and 2-mile natural trail; and a Discovery Grove area for student activities and exploration.

Over 20,000 people are served annually including residents of Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, Manistee, and Kalkaska Counties in Michigan. This includes over 1000 children in our region who visit the Art Park on field trips that include a guided art hike and an environmental art project. Many of these children live in rural areas, without regular access to the arts.

A recent professional assessment indicated that several specific areas of the trail and wayfinding system should be improved for both safety and visitor experience. The Art Park has met with our facility partners who identified areas of traffic congestion and discussed potential new, alternative sections of trail that would benefit all users. With Impact 100 funding, the Art Park will hire professional trail designers to improve the trail system and increase the safety, access, and enjoyment of visitors seeking health and wellness activities. Read more


Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library GTR

INITIATIVE: Books from Birth: Building a System for Early Literacy

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Sunrise Rotary’s Born to Read are working with Munson Medical Center to increase kindergarten readiness across the Grand Traverse Region. Just 44% of local children start kindergarten with the literacy skills needed to succeed.  

Research shows the first 3-years of life are critical for brain development. Nurturing interactions, having books in the home, and reading to babies lay the foundation for learning long before children enter school. We are building a system to educate and invite new parents to enroll their newborn in the Imagination Library before leaving Munson hospital.

The earlier a child enrolls, the greater the effect on school readiness. Every month children will receive an age-appropriate book until age 5, at no cost to families. With Impact 100’s support, we can transform children’s lives by inspiring a love of reading and delivering books to children across the 5-county region, starting at birth. Read more


Freedom Builders of America

INITIATIVE: Warehouse for Storage of Donated Construction Supplies

For over 22 years, Freedom Builders has met critical housing needs in northern Michigan. Utilizing a dedicated group of volunteers of all ages, Freedom Builders facilitates service projects that meet needs and connect struggling families with people who care for them and can help.

Freedom Builders has recently purchased property in Chums Village and is seeking funding to construct a building. The property is the geographical center of the five-county area where the organization serves, and the building will house equipment and materials, make it easier for the organization to receive and store donated materials, improve the organization’s ability to gather and train volunteers, reduce costs and improve efficiency, and more.

All these will directly increase the ability of Freedom Builders to fulfill its mission to “rebuild hope, one home at a time.” The resulting impact on northern Michigan will be the increased improvement of the lives of people in need and those who serve and care for them. Read more


United Way of Northwest Michigan

INITIATIVE: United We Smile

United We Smile is a free dental center for children, pregnant women, veterans, and those with cognitive or developmental disabilities. Local volunteer dentists oversee dental interns from U of M School of Dentistry and NMC Dental Assisting School while our Community Health Worker oversees Social Work interns from NMC. As part of a mandatory graduation requirement, these dental providers will now learn the skills necessary to be able to treat patients with challenging comorbidities, developmental disabilities, PTSD, and pre-cooperative behavior. With no out of pocket costs for patients, a free goods store, and many wrap-around services in collaboration with our community partners, we will begin to see not only a better quality of life for these patients, but also a solution to the access to care issue for generations to come. Read more