LANSING, Mich., Sept. 27, 2021 — Last week, Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi) secured $400,000  for the Novi Community School District outdoor classrooms and gardening programs to be transformed, thanks to a one-time state grant. The Novi Educational Foundation (NEF) will receive the funding as part of the budget legislators approved this week. The budget now moves to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“I’m ecstatic that this is happening in Novi, “Breen said. “My young kids and others in the community are going to benefit from these amazing spaces and the lessons they learn in them, as will generations to come. This can be a beacon and a model for the rest of the country.”

Breen saw firsthand the transformation of the gardens and outdoor classrooms in the district and knew of the partnership with Feed the Need. 

“I know we dramatically underfund our schools, and the NEF fills those gaps,” Rep. Breen said. “The more we can use the NEF and the outdoor grant to make amazing opportunities for our kids, the more money we will have to attend to our schools’ other needs.”

“This funding will allow our district to continue creating opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Steve Matthews, superintendent of the Novi Community School District. “The Novi Educational Foundation is a wonderful partner for our district. Together, we find ways to engage and support Novi students to prepare them for today and tomorrow. Rep. Breen is to be commended for thinking of and supporting Novi.”

Jason Smith, the executive director of the NEF, said the outdoor learning spaces align with the mission of the foundation.

“The NEF is extremely grateful to Rep. Kelly Breen for her support of public education, and this enhancement grant will change the lives of our NCSD students for years to come,” Smith said. “Our mission is to provide additional opportunities for our students.”

Smith said the district’s outdoor learning spaces began with a garden at Parkview Elementary, then Deerfield. Eventually, gardens and greenhouses were built at every elementary school through a partnership with Bosch. The vegetables grown at these elementary school gardens aid Feed the Need, an organization that helps feed students in the summer.

“Since 1986, the NEF has supported students in our district due to the generosity of our donors,” Smith said. “This grant is a culmination of more than 35 years of work for our students.”