Since its inception in 1980, the Keller Foundation has awarded almost $7 million in grants to over 150 different nonprofit organizations, mainly in the Grand Rapids area. The primary focus of the Keller Foundation is to encourage innovative programs for core city youth of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The Keller Foundation provides grants in primarily five focus areas:

  • Cultural
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Human Services

Grant giving in these focus areas support such programs as:

  • Exposure to visual and performing arts
  • Opportunities for access to cultural and environmental centers/programs
  • School readiness programs
  • Programs that provide safe, nurturing environments for children
  • Tutoring for children
  • Literacy programs for children and adults
  • In-school enrichment programs
  • After-school programs
  • Teacher enrichment programs
  • Effective parenting programs

Organizations that we have supported through our donations of time and money include:

  • Grand Rapids Ballet
  • Grand Rapids Symphony
  • Meijer Gardens
  • John Ball Zoo
  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
  • Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • Martin Luther King Leadership Academy
  • Kent School Services Network (KSSN)
  • Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation
  • SLD Read
  • Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative
  • Camp Fire USA West Michigan Council
  • United Methodist Community House

This list represents only a small portion of the many wonderful organizations that have received our support.  Click here to see the complete list of our current grantees.

Click here to see a slideshow of some of the programs we currently support. (coming soon)

Key Geographic Focus

The Keller Foundation has a key interest in supporting programs and services for children and families living in the community around the Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Leadership Academy. MLK is a K-8 school in the Grand Rapids Public Schools system and is located on Logan Street in southeast Grand Rapids. GRPSHopeZone map

The Foundation currently supports several programs serving children attending MLK and their parents/families:

Tutoring Center and Other Enrichment Activities

The Keller Foundation supports the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) Tutoring Center at MLK. It offers a Tutoring program and provides a variety of enrichment activities for the kids attending the school. Enrichment activities are varied and diverse and provide opportunities for the children to experience extracurricular activities that are often available to their peers in more affluent communities. These include opportunities for the kids to experience the Grand Rapids Ballet, the Meijer Gardens, John Ball Zoo, Blandford Nature Center, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.  In addition, the Tutoring Center organizes opportunities for the kids to earn Merit prizes, which inspire and celebrate kids’ educational achievements; and family events, which help foster deeper parental involvement in their children’s learning and school activities.

Read more about FUMC Tutoring Center at MLK here

Other Programs at MLK

The Foundation also supports several organizations providing various in-school and after-school programs or services for kids attending MLK. These include:

  • KSSN Network provides comprehensive health and human services in the MLK School building to serve students and their parents/families. This idea of a “community school” places services at school to remove many barriers families have in finding services and helps keep students in class.
  • Camp Fire USA provides a summer learning program for children at MLK through Believe 2 Become. This program is an essential community resource that keeps kids safe, provides educational enrichment, and helps prevent summer slide.
  • Kids Food Basket addresses childhood hunger by providing Sack Suppers directly to 75 students at MLK year round through the afterschool program and via the summer park program. These nutritious Sack Suppers fill a gap that schools and parents often cannot afford, in a way that is accessible and safe for kids. They help ensure that lunch is not the last meal of the day for some students.
  • Children’s Assessment Center offers the Kidz Have Rights program to students at MLK.  The program aims to curb the problem of child sexual abuse in Kent County by empowering elementary students with the know-how to distinguish between different types of touches; and identify “Safe Adults” to go to if they receive a Confusing or Selfish Touch.
  • Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation supports literacy and music enrichment for students at MLK. The grant helps ensure that the MLK library continues to be filled with a diverse, high-quality selection of reading material to engage students. The music program offers a broad array of instruments for even the youngest students to try out.  Students are able to learn about and play new instruments some have never seen before.
  • Junior Achievement supports the delivery of Junior Achievement programs to 2nd through 7th grade students at MLK.  JA empowers young people to own their future economic success.  The programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills through experiential/hands-on learning activities.
  • West Michigan Flight Academy combines school-based learning with real life applications of advanced technical studies related to career areas in the aerospace industry. Its training supports students’ understanding of math and science concepts and their applications by providing an opportunity to design, construct and test fly model airplanes after school. This hands-on learning process also impacts a student’s future career aspirations and attitudes towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields of aerospace.
  • Grand Rapids Art Museum offers the Language Artists: Creature Connections program to enhance the art curriculum at Grand Rapids Public Schools through artwork and writing about art. It also provides a career lunch program for 7th graders as well as professional development opportunities for art teachers to enhance their teaching of art.
  • Bricks 4 Kidz offers the signature LEGO Program which promotes the development of STEM skills in a fun and engaging way using LEGOs. Children read and follow detailed step-by-step instructions to build a variety of LEGO figures from simple to complicated. Throughout the process, children are learning about various mathematical concepts and applying these concepts and skills in a very practical manner as it relates to the real world. They also learn teamwork and critical problem solving
  • Boy Scouts offers the Scoutreach Program to 2nd through 4th graders at MLK. The program teaches lessons on character, leadership, and physical fitness. The curriculum is geared toward the specific age levels and presents lessons that would help students practice responsibility through living out the values in the Scout Oath and Law.
  • Boys and Girls Club of GR Youth Commonwealth offers out-of-school time enrichment activities to MLK students at its Paul I Phillips Club. Programming include the arts; health & life skills; sports, fitness, and recreation; character & leadership development; and education & career development. The club also provides a safe space for kids to hang out in a positive environment in the summer.

We also support several programs to provide opportunities for students to access cultural enrichment programs, such as the Grand Rapids Ballet (Dance Immersion program), the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (field trip), and nature and environmental education at John Ball Zoo (the JUMP program) and Blandford Nature Center. We continue to explore and seek out innovative programs, services and partnerships that would benefit students at MLK as well as their parents/families.

The Keller Foundation welcomes innovative programs, services and partnerships that would benefit kids and their parents/families in the MLK community. Please contact