PROACTIVE GRANTS SUPPORT CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
The Community Foundation recently distributed $130,000 to local nonprofits; investing in efforts to reduce the number of kids growing up with significant instability in their home environments, while also meeting children and families who are currently navigating these challenges where they are with the supports they need to reduce harm and provide pathways for healthy relationships.
The grants were made through the Community Foundation’s proactive grant program which makes targeted investments across issue areas that were identified by nonprofit partners and community leaders as key priorities for a thriving community.
Few factors are more critical to a child’s current and long-term well-being than the consistent presence of caring adults in their lives and a physically and emotionally safe environment. However, many children in our community experience their parents or primary caregivers struggling to provide stability for reasons ranging from the financial and logistical challenges faced by single parents, to the difficulty of creating consistent family routines for parents who work multiple jobs, the absence of a parent due to incarceration, or the difficulties of healthy parenting for individuals who experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) themselves.
“Young children developmentally thrive on routine, predictability, and consistent presence from the primary caregivers in their lives,” said Yadah V. Ramirez, Director of Community Impact. “We are honored to partner with three organizations whose unique missions are helping to increase the consistency of a healthy parent or caring adult relationships for children in our community.”
THREE NONPROFITS RECEIVE FUNDING
There were three nonprofit organizations which received funding from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area: Movement West Michigan; MomsBloom; and West Michigan Marriage Center.
MOVEMENT WEST MICHIGAN
received $30,000 for its Laying the Foundations for Comprehensive Support for Single Moms Program. Movement West Michigan in piloting a program for single mothers in the Holland/Zeeland area that addresses the core issues of single motherhood and provides innovative and diverse solutions for families desiring to reach self-sufficiency. Based on a program developed by the Single Momms organization in Traverse City, the pilot will involve intensive listening efforts to understand the needs of single mothers in our community and use their feedback to inform future programming.
“We are committed to mobilizing collaborative effort to support healthy families in our community. This grant from CFHZ will allow us to do critical research, build support, and pilot programs that can have a transformative impact for local single moms and their families,” said Rev. Kory Plockmeyer, Executive Director of Movement West Michigan
received $60,000 over two years to expand its Postpartum Support Program into Ottawa County. MomsBloom serves families in the immediate weeks and months after a child is born, using evidence-based practices to screen for post-partum depression, provide referrals to community resources, and give direct assistance to the household. They prioritize serving single mothers, new parents who don’t have family or friends nearby, and others who lack support systems. Helping new parents navigate their roles and care for themselves and their babies is critical to creating a solid foundation for the family.
WEST MICHIGAN MARRIAGE CENTER
received $40,000 to support the development and implementation of its Marriage Restoration Track program and extend scholarship opportunities for those facing financial barriers to participation. West Michigan Marriage Center (WMMC) works with couples whose marriage is in crisis, often on the brink of divorce. Their model uses empirically validated Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which regards the security of partner connection as the best lever for change in a dysfunctional relationship and a necessary source of both couple and individual growth. If parents are able to find a healthy path forward for their marriage, that can have a profound lasting impact on them and their ability to have a consistent healthy relationship with their children.
Scott and Betsy Nuismer, Co-Founders of West Michigan Marriage Center said, “A host of sociological and psychological studies reveal one thing very clearly: a strong and healthy marriage is the center point of a fountain which naturally cascades down to healthier children, healthier schools, healthier workplaces, and healthier communities. CFHZ understands this truth and is actively working to see that done in West Michigan. We at WMMC are deeply grateful to receive their trust and support.”
More information about CFHZ’s grantmaking is available online at www.cfhz.org/nonprofits/.