Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for the Fenner Community Pavilion in Lansing

Monday, July 30, 2018

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. –Lansing will soon be home to a universally accessible year-round public gathering space with the addition of a 2,560-square-foot community pavilion at the Fenner Nature Center through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Fenner Conservancy announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by October 31, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“The Fenner Community Pavilion is a state-of-the-art design that will open its use to everyone and create a sustainable year-round gathering space in the Lansing community,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to provide resources for and serve as a partner in this collective effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

This campaign will complete the build-out of the pavilion on the Fenner Nature Center’s 134-acre environmental education center on Lansing’s east side. The past two years were spent developing plans for the pavilion, which will allow it to accommodate a wider range of visitors, improve community outreach and expand Fenner’s programs.

Fenner has a long history of engaging youth and families in place-based learning across the Lansing region, but current facilities can’t keep up with demand. The pavilion will be nearly five times larger than their current space with capacity to accommodate up to four groups simultaneously. It will also provide indoor and outdoor shelter for year round activity.

The building will be equipped with soft LED lighting and low allergen materials as well as volume-adjusting audio-visual equipment to ensure a safe sensory environment. Interpretive displays will incorporate touchpads, large-screen televisions and a unique audio tool called the sensory pen that enhances learning for those who need, or prefer to use, assistive devices. 

Additionally, the new pavilion will come equipped with universally accessible and non-gender restrooms and be located along our accessible paved loop trail which allows unabated access to our central pond complex, pond docks, our maple grove and the public festival grounds. The pavilion will also provide a new public venue in the Lansing community for graduations, weddings and other special events.

"The new pavilion will vastly improve how we deliver education and connect with others in the Lansing area and across the state,” said Liz Roxberry executive director of the Fenner Nature Center. “It will host several interpretative stations that connect back to the concepts found within the Visitor Center and out on the grounds. The pavilion will allow visitors of all abilities to continue learning, exploring and discovering both indoors and out. Best of all, it will turn Fenner into a destination for wildlife enthusiasts and give Lansing something new to really be proud of. Having a partner like Michigan Economic Development Corporation on this project really has allowed us to take a large step forward in cultivating a community that values art, music, environment and place.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

“Creating public spaces that are accessible and welcoming to all is a key tenet of placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “The Fenner Community Pavilion will allow people of all abilities to enjoy and learn about nature in the Lansing community.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of July 15, 2018, MEDC has provided $4,988,166 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 171 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $6 million raised from 30,918 individual donors.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.