News & Event
In Holland/Zeeland, racial equity has long been identified as a priority issue by public units of government, our business community, and local nonprofits; but progress has been too slow. Data from the Ottawa County Community Assessment and Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey, alongside anecdotal evidence from local health and education leaders, has shown that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) experience worse economic, health, and educational outcomes than their white counterparts in our area when all other factors are held constant. This means we have a lot of work to do as a community.
This year provided a moment of opportunity to make progress towards racial equity as many in our community grappled with how to move from conversations about racism towards action that could provide positive, substantial progress for BIPOC. We here at CFHZ don’t presume to have the answers to the difficult and complex problem of racism, but we believe it is of utmost importance to stand alongside our community in searching for those answers and to do our part to support this process with financial resources.
In June 2020, CFHZ deployed $105,000 from the Community’s Endowment to five local organizations and initiatives working to address racial equity and implicit bias in our community, and to support our community members of color.
Funding of $20,000 was used to increase the capacity and frequency of existing programs including Diversity Education Workshops, Calling All Colors and Talking to Kids about Race, as well as transition to offering virtual formats. It also helped continue a series of Facebook Live Community Conversations and convert them into podcasts to be available as a permanent educational tool. Engaging with LEDA’s programming is a constructive way for people to grow their understanding of racism and implicit bias and how they can be allies to build a more just community. Learn more here.
Funding of $20,000 was used to increase Women of Color Give’s grant distribution to organizations that support the advancement, development, and promotion of BIPOC on the Lakeshore. Women of Color Give is a local philanthropy circle which provides a space for women of color to connect and leverage resources while supporting each other and causes that matter to them. Women of color are underrepresented in major philanthropic circles, yet their lived experiences with racism position them to have acute knowledge of what programs and initiatives could make the biggest difference in our community. Learn more here.
Funding of $20,000 was used to complete The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Racial Equity Toolkit (RET), which helps significantly reduce and/or remove implicit bias from programs, policies, procedures and decision making. Funds will also bring the national initiative, Gateways for Growth, to Ottawa County. This program helps communities to develop multi-sector plans to better integrate immigrants and refugees into the local community, as these populations often experience implicit and explicit racism. The DEI Office leads the development of an equity plan for Ottawa County by identifying implicit bias in internal policies, procedures, practices, and in external service delivery. Learn more here.
Funding of $20,000 was used to launch a new organization named I AM. Henry Cherry, minister at Christ Memorial Church, and Lindsay Cherry, teacher at Holland Public Schools, are two prominent black leaders in our community, and the founders of I AM. The organization seeks to empower the black community to achieve their full potential through education and career possibilities. It will elevate the voices, perspectives, and lived experiences of our black community members to help shape our community’s future.
Funding of $25,000 will be used to support youth-focused racial equity efforts. The Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a group of students from our local high schools who are responsible for reviewing funding requests and recommending grants for programs which benefit area youth. YAC will approve awards for youth-focused racial equity efforts in early December 2020.
We are pleased to announce a round of grants made by the CFHZ Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). The YAC is made up of students from our local high schools who are responsible for reviewing funding requests and recommending grants from the W.K. Kellogg Youth Fund which is part of our Community’s Endowment for programs that benefit local area youth.
In 2020, the YAC committed $25,000 of their funding for youth racial equity efforts as part of our Community’s Endowment response to a moment of opportunity to make progress towards racial equity in the Holland/Zeeland community. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response YAC received to their request for proposals, they committed an additional $25,000 of their 2021 funding, and sought additional matching funds from the CFHZ Board of Trustees. As a result, the YAC is proud to award $59,449 to seven organizations working to address racial inequity and implicit bias in our community, and to center the voices of Black, Indigenous, and community members of color.
Andrew Ky, YAC Chair, says, "This grant opportunity allowed us to support local organizations and their efforts to help create a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community. It was important as a YAC, especially now, to demonstrate our support and advocate for racial equity in the Holland/Zeeland area."
Jessica Lynch, staff adviser to the YAC, said, “I’m so proud of this incredible group of young people. We received many great proposals from local organizations for the racial equity grant funding and the YAC was thoughtful and intentional as they discussed each one. They recognize that these are opportunities to create actual impact and opportunity for youth in our community and take that responsibility seriously.”
The following organizations received funding from the Youth Advisory Committee in support of their work:
Amount awarded: $10,000
Scholarships for students of color
Funds will be used to cover scholarship costs for students of color who participate in classes. CultureWorks is a faith-inspired nonprofit offering culturally relevant, transformative art and design experiences to youth from all backgrounds. Since opening their doors in 2013, they have served over 3,500 students, offering classes on a ‘pay what you can’ model. Classes include ceramics, printmaking, oil painting, photography, poetry, and more.
Cultural Lens Series
Funds will help implement the Cultural Lens Series, a robust year-long programming. The Cultural Lens series will feature authors, scholars, educators, and performers. Topics that will be explored connect individuals to cultural themes including racial diversity, homelessness, and LGBTQ+ advocacy. In addition to this subject matter, the Museum will also offer ways to celebrate diversity such as programming for Martin Luther King Jr Day, Día los Muertos and a gospel choir.
Funds will prepare a literacy workshop in which elementary and middle school students of color will participate in a group read and then workshop with professionals to create literary or artistic projects to celebrate their identities. Funds will also provide access to additional summer camp opportunities for Step Up middle school students.
Amount awarded: $9,949.60
Virtual DEI training and resources
Funds will be used for a program to expose white educators to racial diversity, equity and inclusion resources through virtual courses and resources.
Amount awarded: $7,000
Driver’s Training Scholarship Program
Funds will be used for a driver’s training scholarship program which will increase access for students of color to opportunities, help shorthanded families manage transportation dilemmas, decrease unlicensed drivers, and decrease negative interactions with police officers for youth. Escape Ministries works to provide relationships, opportunities, and resources that matter for youth and their families who often fall through the cracks of society.
Amount awarded: $6,500
Resourcing transracial adoptive families and extending Freedom Fighter for Justice program
Funds will be used to resource transracial adoptive families with black and brown children by providing a culturally appropriate backpack including Band-Aids, crayons, stickers, and books that reflect the color of Black and Brown children. They will also be used to build upon and expand Maple Avenue Ministries' Freedom Fighter for Justice middle school student initiative to include young men and partner churches. Funds will also help educate and train young adults to perform first-person narratives of Black people for community and educational events like MLK Day, Juneteenth, and Black History Month.
Amount awarded: $6,000
Welcome kits for immigrant families
Funds will be used to provide bilingual ‘welcome kits’ to immigrant families as they enroll their child or children in K-12 schools.
CFHZ’s YAC program was established in 1991 through a challenge grant from the Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project (MCFYP) funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The mission of the YAC is to empower young people, involve them in the community and teach them about philanthropy while serving as stewards through granting. The YAC made its first grant in 1993 and since then, has granted over $1.8 million to support Holland/Zeeland area youth and over 200 high school students have served on the YAC.
“The YAC had a very difficult decision to make among programs that continue to pursue centering and elevating the voices of some of the most marginalized members of our community. I am truly excited about their decision to invest in these very timely efforts and grateful for the trusted relationships, expertise and commitments of the organizations funded to continue this important work of building a more racially just Holland/Zeeland,” said Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys, Director of Community Impact.
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.
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.
Earlier this year, as the impacts of COVID-19 reached our community, the CFHZ Board of Trustees elected to pivot our planned strategy for our Community's Endowment. As part of this new strategy, they decided to designate a portion of our available funding for the year for operating support for those organizations that would not receive funding through our efforts with the Emergency Human Needs Fund and Community Stabilization Fund. Historically, CFHZ has been committed to funding across a broad range of community issues and the board wanted to continue to demonstrate that commitment.
CFHZ proudly announces a new set of investments in our community: $150,000 in operating grants to 23 of our nonprofit partners. These one-time operating grants are targeted to partners that CFHZ has previously invested in through the Community’s Endowment, but that have not received significant funding through our other grantmaking strategies in 2020.
These are organizations whose core services might not be focused on the unique challenges caused by COVID-19, but are integral for the community’s ability to thrive long-term. They have been impacted by the changing dynamics around fundraising events and fee-for-service revenue generation, but they haven’t yet benefited from the increase in support CFHZ has provided to so many other nonprofits in this unique year. As a Community Foundation focused not only on Today and Tomorrow, but also focused on Forever, we want to invest in these organizations’ ability to navigate this challenging year while keeping their capacity high for the long-term. These investments are only made possible by the generous gifts of thousands of people who contributed over the past 70 years to our Community's Endowment.
We are pleased to announce the fourth round of grant distributions from the Community Stabilization Fund. An initial investment of $200,000 from our Community's Endowment, combined with the generous investments of local donors, allows us to assist in setting the stage for recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Stabilization Fund targets three priority areas that were identified in conversations with local nonprofit partners: financial stability, health, and education.
This month’s funding was focused on both of our Financial Stability strategies:
In preparation for each month’s decisions, our Community Impact staff and leadership team connects with the various nonprofit organizations striving to meet the needs within the strategy we have identified that month for investment. In September, we met with 23 organizations working to keep people from slipping into poverty and providing basic needs support.
In response to all that we learned and understand about the needs right now, the Community Stabilization Fund awarded $236,000 to thirteen organizations during the fourth round of grants.
to Increase Resource Navigation, Case Management, and Community Kitchen Capacity
Amount Awarded: $75,000
Community Action House (CAH) is one of our core safety net providers working to assist people who are struggling to meet their basic needs and to help ALICE households maintain stability. CAH is currently serving nearly three times the number of people they had in the past and 30-40% of people served each week are seeking help for the first time. This funding will assist CAH in increasing resource navigation capacity through additional staff and case management tools. It also provides supplies for the Community Kitchen, operating in partnership with Western Theological Seminary, to continue serving daily meals in a take-away format as necessitated by the pandemic.
for Food Assistance, Micro-Pantry Initiative, and Freezer Capacity
Amount Awarded: $20,000
Harvest Stand Ministries, located at City on a Hill Ministries, is the Zeeland hub for basic needs assistance. This grant will support their food assistance efforts which have stepped up in response to the pandemic as well as support a new creative partnership to bring a micro-pantry model to four local churches.
for their Food Pantry
Holland Rescue Mission is our community’s only homeless shelter and serves men, women, and children. A major source of food for the meals they serve their guests, the Postal Service Food Drive, was cancelled due to the pandemic. This grant will help fill the need for food that occurred as a result of the cancellation.
for the Sack Supper Program
Kids’ Food Basket (KFB) has been adapted quickly to different food distribution processes in partnership with local schools to ensure hungry students continue to receive healthy sack suppers. Childhood hunger is an increasing concern and sack suppers are a low barrier to access way to address this. Their services are targeted to area schools with the greatest numbers of vulnerable students.
for the Housing and Empowerment Fund
Housing is essential to preventing victims of domestic violence from slipping into poverty or returning to live with an abuser. This grant will help ensure Resilience has flexible dollars to combine with other available resources to reach stable and safe housing solutions for their clients.
for the Immigrant Relief Fund for Holland/Zeeland Area residents
This grant will provide flexible funds to help meet housing and other basic needs for many of our most vulnerable community members who did not receive any federal aid.
for Remote Renewal Services
Amount Awarded: $15,000
This program ensures that individuals can remain legally eligible to work by renewing their immigration status. This is essential for these individuals and their families to maintain their household income. Lapsing in status can have negative ripple effects on the household that greatly increase the likelihood of falling into poverty.
for Rental Assistance Expansion
Salvation Army is one of the key places local residents can turn to for rental assistance and many other basic needs agencies refer clients there for this purpose. This grant will be used to provide greater flexibility and increase the dollars available for this program.
for the Weekend Meal Program
Amount Awarded: $10,000
Hand2Hand’s (H2H) model of providing backpack meals for students to take home over the weekend has been well-suited to meet the challenges of the current service environment. As childhood hunger is increasing, these direct forms of support provided through schools are more important than ever. H2H’s services are broadly available to area schools whether they have a large or small number of students in need.
for Monthly Diaper Distributions to Community Partners
Nestlings provides diapers for Community Action House, Holland Rescue Mission, Resilience, Harvest Stand Ministries, and many more. Diapers are a significant expense for struggling families with small children and in high demand at area agencies. Centralized procurement and distribution through Nestlings allows all of the partner organizations to meet this need more efficiently.
for Mobile Food Pantries coordinated with Ottawa Community Schools Network
Amount Awarded: $5,000
Mobile Food Pantries are a valuable “tool in the toolbox” for our community to meet basic needs. Ottawa Community Schools Network coordinators play a pivotal role in organizing these mobile pantries, often hosted in school parking lots or other nearby sites. While many families of students are served, these mobile pantries are also available to the surrounding community and are a low barrier way for people in need to access assistance and well suited to the service delivery constraints of the pandemic.
for Beds, Cribs, Mattresses and Bedding
Amount Awarded: $3,000
DHHS is another hub for basic needs and their staff is highly adept at piecing together supports for families in need. In particular when they are helping a household with housing, beds, cribs, mattresses, and bedding are gaps they often struggle to fill with existing community resources. This grant will provide flexible funding to help address this unmet need.
for Winterizing/Repairs in partnership with Solid Rock Ministries
These two grassroots organizations in Zeeland are working together to help people who live in substandard housing make basic improvements to ensure they can stay safe and warm in their current homes.
We are pleased to announce the third round of grant distributions from the Community Stabilization Fund. An initial investment of $200,000 from our Community's Endowment, combined with the generous investments of local donors, allows us to assist in setting the stage for recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Stabilization Fund targets three priority areas that were identified in conversations with local nonprofit partners: financial stability, health, and education. To date, grant distributions have been made for each priority area. We anticipate funding organizations working in each priority area one more time before the close of 2020.
The primary goal of this grant round was scaling up existing mental health and substance abuse providers to be able to serve more people and reach different audiences. We are fortunate that many efforts to expand mental health services were already well underway prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic and we have numerous community partners providing great services in this space. Given these factors, the Community Stabilization Fund made several investments, as compared to one or two larger investments, to scale up services with multiple nonprofit partners. We have prioritized programs with the capacity to quickly translate dollars from the Fund into increased services for community members in need. A total of $135,000 was granted to six local organizations.
This funding will assist OAR with hiring an additional Masters-level clinician, which will increase their ability to provide outpatient addiction treatment by at least 250 additional individuals over the course of a year.
This funding will support increasing the hours of HFHC’s Mental Health Program Specialist staff member, who is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and continuing additional hours for their contracted licensed counselor. Combined, this will increase both the number of clients served and types of services offered through HFHC’s mental health and substance abuse programs. HFHC will have capacity to serve approximately 30 additional new clients, a sixty percent increase from their current capacity of 50.
This funding will help COAHM Health Clinic increase hours of their current counseling staff to immediately begin serving at least 10 more individuals per week for traditional counseling. The program currently has capacity for 23 individuals at a time and COAHM staff report there is a rolling waitlist of approximately 10 people in need of counseling.
This funding will help ensure Mosaic is able to continue providing the School Outreach Program to Holland, West Ottawa, and Zeeland Public Schools students despite the uncertainty of schools’ ability to contribute financially at the same levels they have in the past for these services. The funding will also support Mosaic’s ability to roll out new virtual support services for students, teachers, and parents, many of whom are experiencing increased mental health concerns right now.
This funding will assist Boys and Girls Club (BGC) with adding two part-time Youth Service Assistants to work with the social worker on staff. The staff social worker is currently serving all three BGC sites, so this funding will allow for a dedicated staff member on-site at the southside and northside locations. The Youth Service Assistants will serve as point persons for coordinating counseling and mental health needs to make most strategic use of the social worker’s time and expertise. Combined, the three BCG locations serve nearly 1,800 children and teens, and 80% of club participants are children of color. Over 40% of club participants live in single parent households.
This funding will allow Beacon of Hope to increase hours for intake staff who field phone calls from people looking for help. Call volume has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, and connecting a potential client with a live person who can assess and triage their needs the first time they call is critical to ensuring that people receive the help they need during the window of opportunity when they are actively seeking it. Funding will also support Beacon of Hope’s counselors with additional training on best practices for telehealth counseling sessions and group therapy as they launched this option rapidly in the last few months.
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