FireKeepers Casino Hotel has prided itself on contributing to the growth of the state of Michigan.
The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP), owners of FireKeepers, recently announced record contributions to the state of Michigan in 2021.
A combined $27.4 million in contributions created check presentations just over $21 million to the state of Michigan and $6.3 million to the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB).
With 2021’s performance, lifetime combined revenue sharing payments have now exceeded $260 million.
Bounce back from pandemic
Because of the pandemic, 2020 marked the first year FireKeepers’ payments to state and local recipients didn’t exceed the previous year.
Things are now back on track following 2021.
This year’s payment to the state more than doubled the 2020 contribution and was an increase of 11.4% over the 2019 allocation.
The new payment to the FLRSB was 30% higher than one year ago and 9.2% better than 2019.
The NHBP’s all-time contributions are now $194.5 million to the state and $66.1 million to the FLRSB.
Two checks were presented from NHBP and FireKeepers. The state check was presented to Michigan District 63 State Representative Matt Hall while the FLRSB check was presented to Chairperson Joe Caron.
“Record revenue sharing distributions represent both the tribe’s continued substantial investments in this award-winning property and the dedication of our Team Members to deliver outstanding guest service,” said Jamie Stuck, Tribal Council Chairperson for the NHBP. “Management and staff faced extreme labor shortfalls and waves of COVID variants, as we built and opened a beautiful hotel tower and additions to our casino and restaurant offerings.”
Building the FireKeepers Casino brand
FireKeepers and the NHBP have shown continued growth of the FireKeepers brand through their efforts in the community.
Arguably its most significant investment is The Fire Hub restaurant in downtown Battle Creek. Opened in 2017, The Fire Hub combines a restaurant and bakery concept with an adjacent dignified Kendall Street Food Pantry, operating as an agency of the South Michigan Food Bank.
An example of The Fire Hub’s success is seen in the monies raised in the Community Fund. A total of $8,000 was presented to the South Michigan Food Bank for their work to eliminate hunger.
FireKeepers sponsors major events, including the FireKeepers Casino 400, Michigan’s sole NASCAR Cup Series race. This year, it is scheduled for Aug. 7, at Michigan International Speedway.
There’s also the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Golf Championship, an Epson Tour Road to the LPGA tournament event, to be held July 29-31, at Battle Creek Country Club.
Who has been benefitting
FireKeepers and the NHBP have a focus on reinvesting in local communities and charities throughout Michigan.
The NHBP has made a concentrated effort to focus FireKeepers Casino Hotel on supporting local businesses and suppliers, and extend contributions to the local economy beyond the FLRSB and the distribution to the state.
Therefore, spending in the state of Michigan, especially in local areas, grew substantially in 2021. That resulted in awarding contracts in excess of $71.2 million in 2021 and exceeding $656 million lifetime.
Included in the distribution is:
- Greater Calhoun County Region $6.1 million (Calhoun, Jackson, Branch)
- West Michigan $10.7 million (Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Grand Traverse, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, Van Buren)
- Lansing Area $36.5 million (Ingham, Eaton, Clinton)
- Metro Detroit $2.5 million (Wayne)
- Other $15.4 million (Chippewa, Genesee, Gratiot, Ionia, Livingston, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mecosta, Midland, Monroe, Newaygo, Oakland, Saginaw, St. Clair, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Wexford)
The check presented to the FLRSB is the 13th distribution since the first distribution in Feb. 2010, when the NHBP presented a check to the FLRSB for nearly $2 million. The $66.1 million distributed to date have benefited a diverse array of groups, including:
- Harper Creek Community Schools
- Calhoun County Road Commission
- Emmett Township
- Calhoun County
- Calhoun Intermediate School District
- Kellogg Community College
- Willard Library
- Athens Township
- Marshall Township
- City of Marshall
- City of Battle Creek
- Athens Area Schools
- Village of Athens
- Battle Creek Public Schools
- Marshall Public Schools
- Lakeview School District
- Pennfield Schools
A 2016 Compact Amendment between NHBP and the State of Michigan provides for a payment of up to $500,000 per year of state revenue sharing payments to the Michigan Native American Heritage Fund.
In 2021, this fund provided financial assistance and/or reimbursement to 11 schools and educational services institutions to defray the costs of projects that promote positive relationships and accurate information on the history and role of Michigan’s Indian tribes and Native Americans in the state.
FireKeepers Casino sees increase in employment
FireKeepers has also increased its employee base to 2,082 team members throughout 2021.
The focus on increasing jobs is illustrated by cumulative paid labor costs which totaled $92.7 million in 2021. That’s an increase of 20.8% compared to 2020. Since opening, the labor total exceeds $815.7 million. This investment includes total wages, health insurance, 401k match and incentives.
“The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi are the best owners in the hospitality industry. They invested in a beautiful second hotel tower and expansion of our resort, which will allow us to host and attract more guests to the local community. They provided strong incentives, leading wages, health benefits and twice-yearly bonuses for our team members,” said Kathy George, Chief Executive Officer at FireKeepers Casino Hotel. “I am so proud of our Team Members for dealing with multiple challenges throughout the year, while continuing to welcome and appreciate the thousands of guests who visit us daily.”
As part of the commitment to growing its employee base, FireKeepers will be hosting a Job Fair on Tuesday, April 19.
The fair takes place from 9 a.m. to noon and 3-7 p.m. Applicants are encouraged to bring their resumes. They are also required to pass a drug screen and background check in order to qualify.