About LMCU's Roots in Education Grant

Since 1933, we've stayed grounded in our communities and committed to our roots that began as the Grand Rapids Teachers Credit Union. This is why our Roots in Education grant is so important to our organization. Our grant program for educators is not only a meaningful recognition of our deep roots in education, but it also gives us an opportunity to make a difference for those who are making a difference themselves.

The Roots in Education grant involves nominating the educators who have had a positive impact on their students and school community. Every year, we celebrate those Michigan and Florida educators who embody a particular trait.

Congratulations to the 2024 grant recipients below, who are being recognized for their optimism and impact on their communities.

2024 Roots in Education Grant Winners

  • Emily Adamczyk | Oriole Park Elementary | Wyoming, MI
  • Kara Alber | Kent City Middle School | Kent City, MI
  • Leslie Baugh | Scarlett Middle School | Ann Arbor, MI
  • Tiffany Bienkowski | Community Christian School | Saint Petersburg, FL
  • Cindy Biller | Coopersville South Elementary | Coopersville, MI
  • Chandra Brown | Renaissance High School | Detroit, MI
  • Rachel Chapman | Jenison Junior High School | Jenison, MI
  • Amy Clement | Kenowa Hills High School | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Zac Ford |CA Frost Environmental Middle High School | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Beth Gaede-Rodgers | Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy | Saginaw, MI
  • Kate Galla | Mattawan High School | Mattawan, MI
  • Liza Hain | Grand Rapids Montessori Public School | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Andrea Jordan | Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Sarah Kacprzyk | Cedar Trails Elementary | Cedar Springs, MI
  • Alyssa Nauta | Central Elementary, Reeths-Puffer Schools | Muskegon, MI
  • Kim Palms | Parchment Northwood Elementary | Kalamazoo, MI
  • Tobi Pawson | Adventist Christian Academy - Golden Gate| New Port Richey, FL
  • Analiz Perez | Fun Time Early Childhood Academy | Naples, FL
  • Mary Polk | Stepping Stones Montessori School | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Rachel Potter | Innocademy | Zeeland, MI
  • Emily Raap | Orchard View Elementary School | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Chelsea Seals | The Children's House | Traverse City, MI
  • Darien Stimley | Hudsonville High School | Hudsonville, MI
  • Heidi Strand | Charlotte Harbor School | Punta Gorda, FL
  • Kristy Templar | Crossroads Middle School Northview Public | Grand Rapids, MI


Click on the tabs above for further details, or email [email protected] (subject: Roots in Education Grant).

Who is eligible?

All nominees must be a resident of Michigan or Florida. Eligibility is limited to teachers who have responsibility for a classroom. All nominated teachers must be Pre-K through 12th grade classroom teachers who plan to continue teaching in their current or similar capacity for a minimum of 50% full-time during the 2023-2024 school year.

Self-nominations will not be accepted. Past recipients of this grant are not eligible.

Teachers can be nominated by students, parents, other teachers, community members, or administrators. Since this program's purpose is to recognize the contributions of Michigan and Florida classroom teachers, staff members whose assignments are administrative or supervisory, or whose assignments are not a minimum of 50% full-time, are not eligible.

Nominations are not open to LMCU employees, directors, and officers or their immediate families, or to employees or immediate family of any of LMCU's affiliated companies, licensees, advertising, or promotional agencies. Immediate family includes the following: spouse, child, father, mother, brother, sister, grandparent, step parents, step children, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, and grandparents-in-law.

Grant Info

The Roots in Education grant will provide 25 teachers each a $1,000 grant.

This grant can be used towards anything that benefits the educational process, such as purchasing classroom supplies or aiding in online learning. If a tax liability arises, it will be the sole responsibility of the recipient.

Lake Michigan Credit Union shall maintain records and administer and provide all necessary staffing for the Roots in Education grant, including the review committee. Lake Michigan Credit Union will provide the Board of Directors with a written report, detailing all awards.

How are winners selected?

Winners of the Roots in Education grant will be selected by an internal review committee at Lake Michigan Credit Union.

All nomination forms are submitted to the reviewers with no identifying information, so that the name of the nominator is not visible. Grant recipients will be selected without regard to their race, religion, or gender identity.

The explanation and information provided regarding how the teacher embodies the selected trait is the review committee's principal determining factor when selecting grant recipients. The following criteria will be used in judging the nominations:

  • Nomination clearly describes how the educator embodies the selected trait
  • Nomination demonstrates the educator's impact on students and school community
  • Nomination is passionate and distinctive

School Resources

A school resource guide with graphics is available for schools to use to help promote the Roots in Education program and to encourage students, parents, other teachers, community members, or administrators to nominate a teacher in their school.

Please download the scholarship resources here.

If you need more information to help promote the Roots in Education program, please email [email protected]

Modification or elimination of program
Lake Michigan Credit Union reserves the right to modify or eliminate the Roots in Education Grant program at any time without notice. Not withstanding the foregoing, any award due and payable under the program prior to such modification or elimination shall continue to be payable according to the program's terms in effect at the time Lake Michigan Credit Union made the grant. All entries shall become the property of Lake Michigan Credit Union. The $1,000 grants may be subject to tax. LMCU is required to issue 1099 forms for all recipients of the LMCU Roots in Education Grants.