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Published in Nonprofits

Auto manufacturer Gentex creates nonprofit foundation, STEM scholarship for women

BY Monday, October 10, 2022 11:26am

ZEELAND — Tier 1 automotive supplier Gentex Corp. has created a nonprofit charitable foundation for its philanthropic efforts as well as a new scholarship program for women pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Company executives today announced the Gentex Foundation, which will disperse grant funding to U.S. organizations supporting a “wide variety of areas,” including economic development, children’s service, housing assistance and diversity initiatives. 

Steve Downing, Gentex president and CEO COURTESY PHOTO

A board of directors will oversee grant applications and focus on “communities where Gentex employees live and work, and which reflect the Foundation’s values of integrity, compassion, innovation, and diversity,” according to an announcement.

“For nearly five decades, as one of the area’s leading employers, we’ve sought to make a positive impact on West Michigan,” Gentex President and CEO Steve Downing said in a statement. “As we continue to grow, serve new markets, and engage in new communities, the Gentex Foundation will allow us to enhance our charitable giving program to better support the needs of the communities in which we operate.”

Gentex (Nasdaq: GNTX), a global supplier of digital visual and dimmable glass technologies in the auto, aerospace and fire protection industries, also announced the Amanda Clark Scholarship program. The scholarship, named after a former employee, will support female high school seniors in West Michigan pursuing a STEM degree at a four-year college or university. Scholarships of up to $5,000 can be renewed for up to three years.

Gentex is Ottawa County’s largest employer and has embarked on a $300 million expansion that will add more than 600,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space at its Zeeland and Zeeland Township facilities. The Michigan Strategic Fund board in July backed the project with about $11.2 million in grants and incentives.

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