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$500,000 grant to support Michigan authors

The Meijer Foundation is giving $500,000 to support the Made in Michigan writers’ series. Wayne State University Press started the series in 2006.

Senior Acquisitions Editor Annie Martin says it’s the biggest grant the organization has ever gotten. She says it's not every day a donor with deep pockets wants to invest in a small-scale university press.

“You can imagine we were dancing in our office,” Martin chuckled.

The annual budget for the Made in Michigan series is $75,000. Martin says the grant will help offset the costs of producing the books. They could publish more books each year, or do more marketing, “I have a million ideas,” she said.

The University Press will get the grant over five years. Martin says the bulk will go into an endowment fund so that it lasts for years.

"It’s nice to know that we can take a risk and not be worried about the huge financial failure that might be. I mean the series itself was a risk; that we didn’t know how it was going to come out,” Martin said.

The Made in Michigan series has 24 books under its imprint. One of them, Bonnie Jo Campbell's American Salvage, was a finalist for a national award.

The Meijer Foundation was founded in 1990 by the late Fred Meijer; whose father founded the Meijer grocery store chain.

"At Meijer our future is closely tied to the vitality of our great state, cultural and otherwise," said Hank Meijer, co-chairman. "'Made in Michigan' means a lot to us, from the products on our shelves to the literary achievements of Michigan writers.  We value Wayne State's commitment to this series and are pleased to help sustain it."

“I always have known that we were doing something great. But it feels good to get that recognition and to have our Michigan writers get that recognition as well,” Martin said."

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.