News & Event
We are pleased to announce the first and second round of grant distributions from the Community Stabilization Fund. Our efforts are designed to act swiftly, be flexible as new information emerges, and take into account the range of other supports that have come into our community from both public and private sources. The Community Stabilization Fund targets three priority areas that were identified in conversations with local nonprofit partners: financial stability, health, and education. To date, $950,000 has been committed to the fund! This includes a $200,000 investment from the Community’s Endowment combined with generous gifts from local donors.
The first round of grant distributions, made in June, focused on the priority area of financial stability. A total of $115,000 was invested to launch the Greater Holland/Zeeland Area Direct Cash Assistance Program. This effort provides $500 emergency unrestricted cash relief to eligible local individuals who have lost their jobs or are experiencing significantly reduced hours of paid work due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, various federal stimulus bills have transferred funds to people who have lost their jobs, and to lower/middle income families in general; but there are individuals and families in our community who haven't yet received those funds, or may not be eligible to receive them. These friends and neighbors are struggling to meet their basic day-to-day needs.
CFHZ and some of our generous donors, alongside key community organizations who serve these populations, explored a variety of options to assist those who are falling through the cracks of our existing support systems. Collectively, we identified a direct-cash assistance program, partnering with a national organization called Family Independence Initiative (FII), as a key strategy to serve our vulnerable community members. We granted $100,000 to FII to establish the program, and an additional $5,000 each to our core partner agencies for administrative support to implement the program. We're delighted to share that generous local donors contributed an additional $500,000 for a total cash assistance funding pool of $600,000!
We have partnered with three local organizations who will identify those individuals who quality for the program: Community Action House, Good Samaritan Ministries, and Movement West Michigan. Each of these partners has further engaged their network of partner churches, grassroots organizations, and neighborhood community organizations to extend their reach to as many families as possible.
To be eligible for the Greater Holland/Zeeland Area Direct Cash Assistance Program, individuals must:
To date, the Direct Cash Assistance Program has directly impacted 600 individuals. We're deeply thankful to the generous local donors who have contributed towards these efforts.
Good Samaritan Ministries recently received funds from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to launch a six-month Eviction Diversion Program which will use a collaborative court process model, bringing together the courts, Legal Aid, mediation, tenants and landlords to provide lump sum payments to landlords in exchange for allowing tenants to remain in their homes. The Community Stabilization Fund grant will support GSM’s efforts to scale up capacity and ensure robust program delivery and services to divert hundreds of families from potential homelessness and provide a path back towards thriving in our community.
This grant will support ODC Network’s partnership with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and Holland/Zeeland area districts to provide schools and teachers with support, resources, and training on activating outdoor spaces and utilizing outdoor learning as a means to lower school building population density and increase social distancing while providing safe, meaningful, and engaging learning experiences for students. This effort will increase the chances of more children being able to safely attend school in person, which is beneficial for all children’s learning, but especially for those children who were already struggling in school and who likely experienced even greater learning loss due to the remote learning transition last spring followed by summer break.
Ready for School, in partnership with area schools, rapidly adapted their highly successful kindergarten readiness program to offer the four-week experience in a modified format this summer. Given the unique challenges facing this year’s incoming kindergartners and their families, this grant will support continuing the program into the fall to complement and enhance whatever format in which schools are able to provide kindergarten. How well this critical first year of school goes for these students will have a long-lasting impact on the trajectory of their learning and this investment will help ensure they have the strongest kindergarten experience possible in an inherently difficult environment.
CASA provides elementary school students who are struggling academically with a structured educational support program to achieve their learning goals. CASA pivoted quickly this summer to continue providing students robust learning opportunities in an effective and meaningful way despite new constraints. This grant will invest in the follow-up effort to re-imagine what Fall CASA programming looks like, particularly as the organization works to incorporate Hope College Education Department students who typically serve as one-on-one tutors during the school year in a new format.
This grant will allow Family Hope Foundation to expand their therapy scholarship program for Holland/Zeeland area children with special needs and learning disabilities to help them regain progress and milestones lost due to recent interruptions to schooling and support services. The program works collaboratively with a broad network of providers to find customized supports that will best serve each individual student’s needs.
Outdoor Discovery Center - ecoSystem Education Network
Macatawa Area Coordinating Council - Creating a Green Infrastructure Vision for the Macatawa Watershed
Ladder Homes - Housing Capacity Expansion
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan - Holland/Zeeland Career Training Center
Beacon of Hope - Building Campaign
The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area is pleased to announce the awarding of 17 grants totaling $568,604 from the Community’s Endowment in 2019.
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Amount Awarded: $75,000 over 3 years
Purpose: To open and operate Groundworks at Herrick District Library's main facility. This will be a place for adults to learn and collaborate in real-time, while exploring digital media content, with access to relevant technology and community experts.
Why this matters: The launch of Groundworks aligns with the results of a yearlong community listening effort that the library conducted in partnership with the Harwood Institute. One of the key findings from this process was that residents are looking for lifelong learning opportunities that enrich their lives and provide new avenues for exploring entrepreneurship. Groundworks will provide an accessible space for community members to explore new tools and gain new skills for life and work.
Amount Awarded: $70,000 over 3 years
Purpose: To provide a School Mental Health Care Manager to support student mental health by coordinating and managing care between the school, family, and health care provider and/or hospital.
Why this matters: The impact of every life lost to suicide is profound and ripples out through family, friends, classmates, and community. Like many communities across the country, the Holland/Zeeland area has seen an increase in youth suicides and suicide attempts and that this issue is impacting younger and younger students. The School Mental Health Program will place a trained medical professional in the school building to help students and families navigate this incredibly difficult issue and ensure key information flows smoothly between students’ medical providers, family members, and school supports. These potentially life-saving connections to treatment and management/coordination of follow up care and school services are critical to prevent repeated crises for vulnerable students.
Amount Awarded: $65,000 over 3 years
Purpose: To support the creation and implementation of the school-based Blue Envelope Suicide Prevention Program in Ottawa County.
Why this matters: The impact of every life lost to suicide is profound and ripples out through family, friends, classmates, and community. Like many communities across the country, the Holland/Zeeland area has seen an increase in youth suicides and suicide attempts and that this issue is impacting younger and younger students. The Blue Envelope Program has the potential to save lives by equipping every adult in the school setting from teachers to custodians to coaches to recognize and take initial steps to respond to a student who reveals suicidal thoughts or behaviors. It also provides training and protocols for the initial responder to loop in secondary responders such as principals, social workers, and counselors who can provide additional support, resources and referrals for help.
Amount Awarded: $12,000
Purpose: To support conducting a consumer research study and a master planning process that will help prioritize the necessary physical plant needs of The Warm Friend senior living facility.
Why this matters: Deciding the best way to move forward with stewarding the Warm Friend facility is a pivotal decision for Resthaven, the residents who live there currently, future residents and the immediate surrounding area in downtown Holland. These decisions will have long term implications for Resthaven and this landmark historic building in the heart of the downtown Holland.
Amount Awarded: $10,000
Purpose: To purchase a new Miles of Smiles mobile dental unit.
Why this matters: Nearly one in five adults in Ottawa County have not been to the dentist in the past year. Poor oral health can lead to or worsen other health conditions. Miles of Smiles has strong collaborative partnerships with schools and other community organizations that allow the program to reach the most vulnerable members of our community who are unlikely to access dental care elsewhere. The mobile unit is key is bringing these dental services to people right where they are rather than having them come to one specific location. Purchasing the new unit will ensure the program can continue to provide this critical service to hundreds of children and adults impacting their health now and in the future.
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Purpose: Ottawa Thrive is a collaboration of 25-30 organizations representing various nonprofit, government, and private sector partners that have come together to move forward a shared vision of reducing the number ACEs in our community while simultaneously supporting the use of trauma sensitive approaches to better serve and support those who have experienced ACEs. This effort will train 25 “Community Champions” who will be deployed into the community to provide trainings to various organizations and groups that represent targeted audiences and to help educate the broader community regarding ACEs and the various tools to build healthy coping skills through a public awareness campaign.
Why this matters: Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACEs) such as the presence of substance abuse, an incarcerated parent, or domestic violence in the home or experiencing varying levels of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse have a lifelong impact on physical and mental health. The long-term negative impact of ACEs become greatest when four or more are present and local data indicates that 14% (or roughly 40,000) of all Ottawa County adults have experienced four or more ACEs as a child. This effort will work to better educate the community about this reality and better equip organizations and individuals with knowledge of community resources and referral options.
The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area is pleased to announce the awarding of 6 grants totaling $214,000 from the Community’s Endowment in the first competitive grant round of 2019.
“As the needs of our community members grow and change, we are thankful the Community’s Endowment allows us to support the efforts of our nonprofit partners who are directly addressing these needs,” said Elizabeth Kidd, Vice President of Community Impact. “We believe each of these investments will positively impact our community today and for years to come.”
Why this matters: Data from the Ottawa County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Youth Assessment Survey (YAS) reflects the reality that many adults, children and families in our community are struggling with trauma, adverse childhood experiences, mental health, and building healthy relationships amid the challenges and stresses of day to day life. The counseling services and educational programs provided at the new 16th Street location will offer community members access to the support and tools they need to navigate these challenges and find positive paths for the future.
addiction to homelessness to suicide. Providing counseling to students who have had adverse childhood experiences is a critical opportunity to offer the support and tools that can help them overcome the odds and find hope for a better future. Providing counseling on site at school removes the barriers of cost and transportation that often prevent students from accessing these kinds of services.
Amount Awarded: $20,000
Purpose: To support the construction of Critter Barn's new educational farm center where residents and visitors of all ages and abilities will be able to participate in hands-on, interactive learning experiences and witness everyday farm life.
Why this matters: The new farm will provide a larger, safer, more accessible facility for children and adults to engage directly with animals and plants and to better understand the important role agriculture and farming have in growing the food we eat.
Amount Awarded: $20,000
Purpose: To move to a larger facility housing KFB's warehouse, office, and volunteer space in one location allowing KFB to serve more daily nourishing meals to children in Holland and neighboring Allegan County rural school districts.
Why this matters: Childhood hunger has negative impacts on physical growth and brain development and is a barrier to children engaging fully in learning in the classroom. With three Holland and West Ottawa schools on the wait list for the Sack Supper program and an increase in need at several currently participating schools, the new facility will ensure Kids’ Food Basket has the capacity to keep up with the growing demand for services in our community and provide the nutrition children need to reach their full potential.
Amount Awarded: $4,000
Purpose: To conduct a thorough count of youth experiencing homelessness with the goal of creating a comprehensive strategy to address the needs of youth in housing crisis. Why this matters: While there are several existing local data sources on youth homelessness, the Voices of Youth Count will work to generate a more comprehensive picture of how youth in our county are experiencing homelessness to inform future strategies to best address this need.
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