In just 15 days, more than 190 individuals and organizations came together to contribute to the $150,000 Restoring Hope Challenge Match, which is raising money for the Community Relief & Recovery Fund.
In addition to individuals and organizations, the Loutit Foundation gave a generous grant to help cross the finish line for the fund set up by the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF).
Response to COVID-19 impact
The fund was established to respond to the short- and long-term impact that COVID-19 has on individuals, families, and for-impact partners within Northern Ottawa County.
“The name ‘Community Relief & Recovery’ was selected with great intention and purpose,” says Holly Cole, Vice President of Grants and Program. “As our community begins to shift from an emergency, immediate response, we are anxious to provide our for-impact partners a sense of relief as we work together to begin the process of recovery.”
Cole adds, “Through a series of conversations, we continue to learn about the strain caused by the demands of COVID-19 on our local for-impact sector. Some of our partners were forced to close their doors to clients, including vulnerable seniors and children, in an effort to maintain safety, while others had to quickly adapt to the immediately heightened need of food security, safe and secure housing, and access to physical and mental health care.”
Creating mini grants
The foundation launched the Restoring Hope Challenge Match to raise funds, while also creating three mini grant cycles to ensure the funds are quickly being distributed to partners that need it most, explains GHACF President Hadley Streng.
Hadley Streng is president of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.
“The initial emergency response to COVID-19 resulted in over $900,000 granted to 56 organizations focused on meeting the basic needs of our community. The partnership with the Greater Ottawa County United Way and the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area was key to the success, and we continue to collaborate to serve our communities, while each tailoring programs to meet the specific needs of our partners,” she says.
Nearly all annual fundraising events, which provide the critically important capital necessary for organizations to effectively fulfill their missions, were canceled.
Asking community to help
In response to this need, the GHACF is offering another $150,000 toward the Restoring Hope Challenge Match to raise money for the Community Relief & Recovery Fund. In the first round, 100% of the match portion came from the foundation. This time, $30,000 is from the Tri-Cities Women Who Care, an alliance of women whose purpose is to help charitable organizations in the Tri-Cities area by streamlining fundraising. Since its inception in September 2010, the group has awarded more than $1.1 million to local organizations.
“We’re grateful to everyone who’s given, and now we’re asking the entire community to help,” says Chris Riker, Vice President of Advancement and Donor Services at the GHACF. “We’re matching all donations, which means $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200, and so on. Every gift makes a difference.”
Grants will be awarded to support core operations in an effort to allow organizations to fully support Northern Ottawa County communities. Priority will be granted to those serving individuals, families, and/or communities most impacted by COVID-19. Areas of focus include accessible nutrition, access to arts and culture, education, frontline fatigue, physical and mental health, safe housing, and vulnerable communities such as seniors and youth.
The first round of grants awarded $198,044 to six organizations:
Arbor Circle — $20,000 to support stabilization programming for families and caregivers, specifically The Great Start to Quality Western Resource Center and Arbor Circle foster families.
Children’s Advocacy Center — $18,500 to create new and accessible resources for teachers, parents, and children to continue body safety programming and education within the limitations created by COVID-19.
Outdoor Discovery Center Network — $50,000 toward the support of a partnership with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District to help students, staff, and administration safely return to school this fall by utilizing outdoor learning space and educational techniques to provide safe, relevant, and engaging learning experiences.
Spring Lake Public Schools — $67,492 to secure one new, full-time social worker at Jeffers Elementary School and further support the district’s strategic development of Social Emotional Learning.
Tri-Cities Family YMCA — $25,000 to ensure summer programming operations, including children’s day camps, which provide a safe and meaningful space for local youth.
Little Red House — $17,052 to develop, manufacture, and install unique table dividers to provide adult day care clients a healthy and safe environment for re-engagement.
More requests than funds
As Northern Ottawa County continues to progress in reopening, it is imperative that local organizations are provided the support necessary to not only adapt their operations, but sustain their missions, in an effort to fully care for our neighbors in this continued time of need. At the time of this press release, the foundation has an additional $350,000 in grant requests from 19 community organizations. The applications will be reviewed as part of two additional grant rounds for the Community Relief & Recovery Fund in July and August.
The goal is to fully realize this match by July 31.
“We’re extremely grateful for the generosity this community has continued to demonstrate and ask that they don’t stop now,” says Riker.
Donations can be made to the Community Relief & Recovery Fund on the GHACF’s Donation Page
or by sending a check –with CRRF in the memo line – to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, One South Harbor Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417.