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MCAN awards BEST Benzie County $25,000 grant

Map of Michigan with a pointer on Benzie County

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has awarded BEST Benzie County a $25,000 Continuous Improvement Grant to be used over the next year. This grant will support BEST’s efforts to create and support a culture in Benzie County that reduces barriers and improves access to early childhood and postsecondary education for all residents.

BEST Benzie County, a Local College Access Network based in Northwest Michigan, has a vision of a competitive local workforce and a vibrant local economy. To prepare residents for future career opportunities, its team works to connect and align current resources and identify and secure new resources. The grant funding will help BEST — an acronym for Building Educational Success and Training — build sustainability, leverage local investments, grow the movement and strengthen the continuous communication condition of collective impact in its work.

BEST’s initial work was focused on compiling an asset map, creating a community report card and common agenda, and identifying priority areas for action planning. To date, BEST has hosted a countywide FAFSA night and transitioned to FAFSA clinics throughout the county. In partnership with local libraries, it has promoted Michigan’s Future for Frontliners program for adult learners and, with support from the local rotary clubs and Benzie County Chamber of Commerce, coordinated a county-wide Career Expo for high school seniors.

“Benzie County is a community on the rise. With this grant, we aim to support our team of community leaders to foster positive cultural changes. This grant supports expanding knowledge and capacity while enhancing and amplifying available programs and options within our community," BEST Benzie County coordinator Maggie Bacon said. "Additionally, this will contribute to a shift in the perception of 'college' and increasing postsecondary educational attainment for our community members."

BEST Benzie County is one of Michigan's 24 Local College Access Networks (LCANs). LCANs are coalitions committed to building a college-going culture and dramatically increasing college readiness, participation and completion rates within their communities. They coordinate and expand programs, services and resources that lower barriers preventing students from pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities.

For questions about LCANs and Continuous Improvement Grant opportunities, please contact Jamie Jacobs, deputy director at MCAN. For more information about BEST Benzie County, contact Maggie Bacon, coordinator, at



BEST Benzie County is a Local College Access Network (LCAN) that serves the residents of Benzie County, including children, students and families, and adult learners. By creating new resources and leveraging partnerships with community organizations, BEST Benzie County reduces barriers and improves access to early childhood and postsecondary education.

Continuous Improvement Grant will support college readiness efforts.