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Godfrey-Lee receives $23K to help with mascot change

The school is still seeking donations to reach its goal of $200,000.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Godfrey-Lee Public Schools have been granted $23,000 from the Frey Foundation to support the district's mascot change.

The Godfrey-Lee "Legends" officially replaced the former mascot known as the "Rebels" in 2020. The change came amid much controversy and even protests from students.

The Rebels are a Confederate symbol.

After the district's official approval, the school received multiple donations from community members and two major donations from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the Native American Heritage Fund. With new funding from the Frey Foundation, donations total around $147,000 since the new name was approved in June of 2019.  The district set a fundraising goal of $200,000 for a full revamp by August 2020.

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Kevin Polston, Superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, said the support of the community has been critical in the success of the mascot change.

"I appreciate our community partners affirming the courageous action of our school board through financial and in-kind support," Polston said in a statement, "The support of the Frey Foundation demonstrates that no entity alone can build strong and vibrant communities, but through collaboration and support, together we can make our community a place where each member can thrive."

The Frey Foundation is philanthropic group, focusing its investments on efforts in Kent, Emmet and Charlevoix counties, as well as broader Michigan regions to the west and north.

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In the school's statement released by Polston, he said the Frey Foundation and Godfrey-Lee Public Schools share a similar mission to create an inclusive community, where each member is valued and can, "Be Brilliant!"

The district is still seeking donations to reach its goal of $200,000. Donation information can be found here. 

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