Masonic awarded nearly $50K
Grant to be used to add equipment for local food entrepreneurs in shared kitchen space
MARQUETTE — The Masonic Building of Marquette has been awarded a $49,800 Michigan Department of Agriculture Value Added and Regional Food Systems grant to expand equipment offerings for local food entrepreneurs over the next three years, according to a news release from the Masonic Arts, Theatre and Innovation Company.
The shared kitchen is part of the programming offered by the Masonic Arts, Theatre and Innovation Company, a growing 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to “provide the community with a creative, collaborative hub to share their vision with the public and promote innovation through all art mediums,” organizers said in the release.
The Masonic Building will use the funds for “upgrading and expanding our kitchen equipment selection, providing increased cold and lockable dry storage space, and adding freezer carts or trikes that allow members to sell their cold products directly to consumers during summer months,” Ryan Engle, Masonic Building manager and MATI president, said in the release. “We also plan to add a remote-access entryway and tracking system to our facilities that will allow for member access 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”
Small businesses operating out of the kitchen include the Aloha Grill, Borealis Baking Company, Davin’s Chocolate’s, Ugly Pops, Becky’s Roadside Refreshments and Das Pretzel Guys.
Beyond the grant award, this is a “busy and momentous summer” for MATI and the Masonic Building, organizers said, as they have a $17,500 Patronicity donation campaign running until Aug. 9 at 10:45 p.m. to bring a mobile drive-in movie program to the central Upper Peninsula.
The programming will start in August with the village of Newberry, as the Helen Newberry Joy Hospital and Medical Center donated $1,000 to the campaign to host a screening fundraiser of “Toy Story 4” on Aug. 1.
A link to the Patronicity campaign can be found at www.matimqt.org.
Organizers are asking that anyone, regardless of where they reside, help MATI reach its goal by donating and sharing the campaign with their community or hosting a fundraiser at their business before Aug 2.
If fully funded, the campaign will be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The match would through the MEDC’s Community Spaces Public Places program and allow for the purchase of all-weather-ready drive-in style screen and projector lenses, trailer and lift system capable of showing movies for other community organizations and municipalities within a few hours drive of Marquette.
Businesses and community groups that want to be involved in the kitchen program, sponsor a MATI Movie Night, or volunteer to spread the word about their efforts can call Ryan Engle at 906-225-1157 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.