We are pleased to announce the first two rounds of grants from the Community Stabilization Fund in 2021. The decision was made to continue the Community Stabilization Fund for at least the first six months of this year in response to feedback from nonprofit partners, community leaders, and individuals being directly impacted. The CFHZ Board of Trustees approved an additional $225,000 from our Community’s Endowment resources to be allocated through the Community Stabilization Fund. In addition, generous donors have continued to make contributions to the fund, allowing us to grow our impact. Grants made from the Community Stabilization Fund continue to focus on the three areas of impact from 2020: financial stability, health, and education, and a fourth area of impact added in 2021: public health.
In the first round of funding, $75,000 was awarded to four organizations working in the area of financial stability and continued basic needs supports.
$50,000 to continue the Eviction Diversion Program
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will assist GSM in adding staffing capacity and appropriate workspace to ensure they can provide holistic support during intake and aftercare for new clients in the Eviction Diversion Program. Last year, GSM leveraged $150,000 from the Stabilization Fund to unlock $1.5M in federal dollars for an Eviction Diversion Program which allowed them to empower 487 families to remain in their homes. In 2021, they have an opportunity to receive an additional $9M to continue this work and keep over 2,000 families in their homes.
$15,000 to increase the amount of food secured through ‘food rescue’
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will help CAH procure the required equipment to increase their food rescue efforts by an estimated 17,500 pounds of food every month. Having healthy, high quality food available to members of our community is a need CAH has prioritized, especially as demand for food assistance has increased exponentially since last year. Food “rescued” from local grocery stores (items tagged by the store to be disposed of that are not expired/damaged) is a highly efficient way to include produce and other perishables in to-go meals and boxed food assistance.
$10,000 for outreach and application assistance for the Employee Assistance Program
The EAP provided financial assistance to people whose employment was negatively impacted by the closure of restaurants for indoor dining, gyms, theaters, and other businesses that occurred in the last several months of 2020. With a short window of time for eligible individuals to apply for this support, this grant provided resources to launch local communications and publicity efforts including a local website, translate materials about the program into Spanish and other languages as needed, and provide in- person support in completing the application from trained staff at our local libraries for those who did not have access to internet or a computer elsewhere.
In the second round of funding, $101,880 was awarded. A total of $76,880 went to three organizations working in the education impact area; and a total of $25,000 was distributed to four organizations working in public health.
$40,000 to ODC Network to launch Project 180 in partnership with the OAISD and our local school districts (Holland, West Ottawa and Zeeland)
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will assist in the launch of Project 180, a new nature-based summer education program that will directly target access and opportunity for families that have been disproportionally affected by the major changes to schooling because of COVID-19. The target populations for this program often face several barriers to participation in summer learning opportunities including costs, transportation and relationships with host entities. ODC recognizes these barriers and is committed to working closely with districts to provide transportation for programming offered. Project 180 will serve Pre-K through 5th grade students, their caregivers, and school partners in Ottawa and Allegan Counties primarily located in the Holland/Zeeland area, applying a multi-pronged approach to engaging families.
$19,080 for increasing Power Hour Capacity and student transportation
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will increase capacity for Power Hour, a program that provides daily homework help for children from 1st to 12th grade. It will also help BGC to continue providing the transportation that is critical for students in need of this support to access the program.
$17,800 to launch the Summer Bridge program and provide in-house Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will help launch the Summer Bridge program, a new 6-week course for rising 9th graders whose grades, behavior, attendance, and/or social/emotional skills leave them vulnerable to 9th grade class failure. This program walks alongside students in a deeper way, meeting their needs with additional support and attention. Funds will also help provide in-house Mental Health and Substance Use Counseling to ensure earlier, more consistent, and more accessible mental health services. The program’s “Life Coach” already has established relationships with students served, will begin working on a regular basis with Escape this spring through the summer, offering continued supports while creating space for Escape to envision the best ways to integrate mental health care into all aspects of Escape programming.
Ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will support strategic efforts to reach residents of the Holland/Zeeland area who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and experience barriers to access vaccines, thus most at risk of having a disproportionately low vaccination rate—specifically Seniors and Black, Indigenous, and community members of color. Multiple conversations with community partners leading these efforts have highlighted several barriers to accessing the vaccine: technology, language, and trust in the location of vaccine distribution. Partners receiving funding have been actively engaged in outreach and education, often going above and beyond their scope of work to reach out to community members, answer questions, get them scheduled for an appointment, and call with reminders and additional appointment details.