Crowdfunding campaign launched for “Lighting the Stage” project in Vassar

Monday, June 17, 2019

$7,500 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – Downtown Vassar will gain a lively gathering and performance space  through a crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Vassar Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the city of Vassar announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $7,500 by July 19, 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:

“Place based projects that are started from successful event series like the one in Vassar are great examples of community inspired placemaking,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Over the last two years, the Vassar DDA has developed a summer concert series that has turned into a regional attraction for music lovers seeking a venue for listening to local bands. The weekly concerts have brought more than 400 people to downtown Vassar and feature new and aspiring artists, as well as regional favorites. As a result of the success of the concert series, the DDA has been encouraged to create a vibrant space for this and other gatherings.

This campaign will create music themed murals and activate downtown Vassar on a new level, creating artist jobs, community activation and beautification of the area. The project will also involve installing string lights across a major downtown corridor and installing planters and other decorations to complete the space.

“With the assistance of the MEDC’s Public Space Community Places program we will be able to further the comeback of our downtown,” said Tom McTaggart, Vassar DDA board member. “The matching funds will enhance a key downtown program by making it fun, regional attraction for music. We are thrilled to be able to partner with the MEDC on such an amazing project.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity, in which 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

“Activating public spaces with art and music is salient to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This project will make downtown Vassar an attractive draw for residents as well as visitors from around the region.”

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 June 13, 2019, MEDC has provided $6,525,696 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 214 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $7.7 million raised from 40,122 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.