Community foundation creates stabilization fund as next step in crisis response

After helping to distribute more than 100 emergency grants to nonprofits across Ottawa County in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) is now focusing resources on supporting recovery for the remainder of 2020. 

The foundation announced the creation of the Community Stabilization Fund, which will prioritize investment on financial stability, health, and education to prevent people from slipping into poverty.

The fund will provide grants for basic needs such as food, housing, and along with increasing access to mental health, substance abuse services, and health insurance. Funding will also be earmarked to address the educational opportunity gap for children that has worsened during the pandemic as schools and childcare facilities have closed and moved to online learning.

Targeting crucial issues

The Community Stabilization Fund is designed to specifically target the most crucial issues of the Holland/Zeeland area. The grants are also intended to complement federal stimulus dollars that will be available for nonprofits. 

Today CFHZ launches new Community Stabilization Fund with $800,000 focused on targeted approaches to Financial Stability, Health and Education.

Posted by Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

“Never before has our community experienced such a convergence of crises as the ones we are currently navigating. By thoughtfully deploying our Community’s Endowment, alongside generous contributions from local individuals, we can support efforts to address the gaps and keep the Holland/Zeeland area strong,” explains Elizabeth Kidd, CFHZ’s vice president of community impact.

With initial seed money of $200,000 from the foundation’s endowment and donations from local families and corporations, the fund is launching with $800,000. The Community Foundation is asking for donations, which can be made online at cfhz.org/stabilizationfund.

Areas of greatest need

“When we launched the Emergency Human Needs Fund, we knew it would be only a short-term response, and that a plan for the remainder of 2020 would be needed once we had a better picture of the impact of this crisis,” says Mike Goorhouse, CFHZ’s president and CEO, who announced the new fund in a Facebook Live video. “Now we know what a significant portion of the federal stimulus response is going to be, and we have had the opportunity to gather information and insight from our community partners about the local areas of greatest need.”

The Community Stabilization Fund represents the next phase of the Community Foundation’s response to the crises. The first phase began with the Emergency Human Needs Fund, which provided short-term financial grants to local nonprofits in the initial weeks of increased demand during the outbreak. Along with grants, a line of credit guarantee program was launched to support nonprofit partners and preserve critical community capacity in a time of extraordinary need.

The short-term Emergency Human Needs Fund, managed by a coalition including CFHZ, The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, and the Greater Ottawa County United Way distributed more than $870,000 to local nonprofits to keep people fed, housed, and healthy during the first eight weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. A full list of grants made can be found on at careottawacounty.com.

This article is part of The Lakeshore, a new featured section of Rapid Growth focused on West Michigan's Lakeshore region. Over the coming months, Rapid Growth will be expanding to cover the complex challenges in this community by focusing on the organizations, projects, programs, and individuals working to improve conditions and solve problems for their region. As the coverage continues, look for The Lakeshore publication, coming in 2020.
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