Community Foundation Holland/Zeeland



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News & Event

Community's Endowment 2016 Impact

Our Community's Endowment has made a positive, lasting impact on a number of local nonprofits this year through 16 competitive grant awards totaling $555,000. 

From the Outdoor Discovery Center to Benjamin's Hope to the Holland Public Schools and...






Our Community's Endowment has made a positive, lasting impact on a number of local nonprofits this year through competitive grant awards in the amount of $555,000.




We're pleased to announce 16 competitive grants totaling $550,00 from our Community's Endowment in 2016. 

Community and Economic Development

 Washington School Green

  • Amount Awarded: $15,000
  • Purpose: To develop a new Washington School park together with the city, neighborhood, and developer.  The park will preserve public access and provide neighborhood gathering space, a play area for young children, and a place of beauty in this historic neighborhood.
  • Why this matters: This project will have a lasting impact in preserving public green space in the historic core city of Holland which will be available for community members to enjoy for years to come.




Outdoor Discovery Center - ecoSystem Education Network

  • Amount Awarded: $65,000 over 3 years
  • Purpose: The ecoSystem Education Network builds on the success of the ODC outdoor education model for the benefit of the entire community.  Through a multi-faceted approach of strategic visioning, classroom modeling, nature playscape design, and professional development, ecoSystem will provide teachers and schools with the resources needed to offer nature-based learning opportunities to the students and families they serve. 
  • Why this matters: Research shows that children in the U.S. are spending, on average, less than an hour outside every day.  At the same time there is substantial evidence of the positive impact that time outdoors has on children’s physical and mental health as well as educational outcomes.  A critical, evidence-based strategy for shifting this dynamic involves schools integrating nature-based education and increasing academic and recreational time outdoors.  Through ecoSystem, ODC will equip local educators to bring this approach into schools and classrooms throughout our community which will allow significantly more children to experience nature-based education on a daily basis. 

Macatawa Area Coordinating Council - Creating a Green Infrastructure Vision for the Macatawa Watershed

  • Amount Awarded: $21,000
  • Purpose: To develop a green infrastructure suitability map and additional analysis of cost and implementation priorities.  The project will include community engagement focusing on the Holland Heights neighborhood and a green infrastructure training seminar for local decision makers, planners, engineers, and contractors.
  • Why this matters: Green infrastructure is a cost-effective approach to managing wet weather impacts that provides many community benefits including better water quality, improved community resiliency during significant rain events, and increased community greenspace. Unlike “gray” infrastructure that is built to move stormwater away from urban enviornments, green infrastructure is designed to absorb stormwater at its source, restoring aspects of the natural water cycle.  Understanding which areas of our community are best suited for green infrastructure is a critical step to maximizing the positive impact of future local investments in green infrastructure.


Michigan Health Endowment Healthy Ottawa Fund

  • Amount Awarded: $80,000 over 3 years
  • Purpose: To invest in new and expanded programs which advance positive action on the priority issues identified in the Ottawa County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The three priority issues are: access to health care, mental health, and healthy behaviors (nutrition/exercise). CFHZ and the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation have each committed $80,000 to this fund along with a $330,000 grant jointly received from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. Combined, $490,000 has been awarded to the following programs:
  • $40,000 to the Wayne Elhart be nice. Memorial Fund to provide matching funds for schools within the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District to offer the “be nice.” education program on mental illness awareness and suicide prevention.
  • $55,000 to Holland Community Hospital to expand the School Nursing Program to the high school level in Holland Public Schools.
  • $70,000 to TCM Counseling to extend counseling and school services to the Holland/Zeeland area and to increase counseling and psychiatric services in the Tri-Cities.
  • $75,000 to Love INC of the Tri-Cities to expand the hours of the Free Health Clinic to more broadly meet the needs of the community.
  • $100,000 to the Ottawa County Food Policy Council to expand Project Fresh for seniors, grow the Meet Up and Eat Up Summer Meal program for low-income children, increase access to Community Supported Agriculture, and launch the Prescription for Health program to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • $150,000 to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health to launch Pathways to Better Health, an evidence- based community health worker model that has been proven to reduce health care costs while improving health outcomes for patients.
  • Why this matters: The collaborative efforts of our local hospitals, healthcare providers, the county health department, and numerous community health organizations have provided in-depth local data about our greatest health needs and have garnered a high level of commitment from key community partners. The Healthy Ottawa Fund will bring a critical third piece to this equation by providing an infusion of financial resources to accelerate implementation of the CHIP’s recommended strategies.

Ottawa County Health Department - Miles of Smiles Adult Expansion

  • Amount Awarded: $10,000 
  • Purpose: For the purchase of an adult digital dental x-ray sensor to facilitate appointments for the Medicaid insured and financially qualifying, low-income uninsured adults in Ottawa County.
  • Why this matters: There is significant unmet need for dental services for low income adults in our region.  The 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment found that more than 50% of adults without a high school degree in Ottawa County had not gone to the dentist in the last year and untreated dental conditions can lead to other serious health complications.  With the new equipment, the Miles of Smiles Mobile Dental Unit will have more capacity to serve these adults.




Ladder Homes - Housing Capacity Expansion

  • Amount Awarded: $30,000 
  • Purpose: To purchase an additional 4-plex apartment building near the two other existing 4-plex buildings that Ladder Homes owns in Holland Heights.  This will provide capacity for 8 additional residents, growing the client total count from 18 to 26.
  • Why this matters: Ladder Homes provides affordable housing with supportive services for adults with mental illness.  The organization currently has over 40 people on its waitlist for housing. This project will have a lasting positive impact on the individuals with mental illness who are able to access affordable permanent housing as a result of the expansion.  It will also benefit these individuals’ families and the community that they be able to live in a safe, stable housing arrangement with the kind of supports needed to be sustainable and healthy for them. 



Human Services

Benjamin's Hope - Community Integrated Life Enrichment Program

  • Amount Awarded: $75,000 over 3 years
  • Purpose: To provide a new, collaborative service-delivery model that will create meaningful daytime engagement opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Why this matters: The need for daytime enrichment opportunities was already significant and growing prior to Kandu, Inc.’s closure, but those events have heightened the urgency around new efforts like Benjamin’s Hope’s program. It is important for our community to offer high-quality support services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who for a variety of reasons have been unable to attain employment. These services have a significant impact on the quality of life and personal growth and development of the individuals participating. They also provide crucial support for families and caregivers and are often essential to making integrated living arrangements sustainable for families and their loved ones with disabilities.

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan - Holland/Zeeland Career Training Center

  • Amount Awarded: $40,000
  • Purpose: To create a new Career Training Center in Holland that will offer vocational rehabilitation, career training and skill development for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
  • Why this matters: The closure of Kandu, Inc. in August 2015 has created a significant gap in services for community members with developmental disabilities, over 200 of whom were previously employed at Kandu. Goodwill has a track record of successfully providing similar services to this population in other communities and the new Career Training Center will have a lasting impact in helping to rebuild the Holland/Zeeland area’s overall capacity to provide employment opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates - Immigration Legal Services

  • Amount Awarded: $30,000 over 3 years
  • Purpose: To provide high quality, affordable direct legal services to the chronically under-served immigrant population in Ottawa County.
  • Why this matters: This program addresses the key barriers of cost, location and language that very often prevent immigrants from accessing the legal processes that exist for their specialized needs. Although our immigration system is complex and expensive to navigate, it does offer a variety of legal options for individuals who aren’t currently citizens to live, work and study in the U.S. Many of our local nonprofit organizations work with families where some or all of the family members have difficulty accessing these options because of the specific legal work required. Taking these legal steps would in many cases allow these individuals and families to more fully participate in and contribute to our community. The launch of this program marks a significant improvement in local access to affordable legal services for immigrants and will allow all of our local efforts to serve these families to be more effective.

Beacon of Hope - Building Campaign

  • Amount Awarded: $30,000 
  • Purpose: To purchase a new building at 225 West 30th Street in Holland to meet the growing community demand for Beacon of Hope’s counseling services.
  • Why this matters: Beacon of Hope provides no cost counseling services to those who are uninsured or under-insured. Their services fill a critical safety net gap for low income residents struggling with mental health issues who otherwise might not receive care. The new building will provide the physical capacity for Beacon of Hope to respond to the increased need for these services in our community.

Hope Network - Development Center

  • Amount Awarded: $25,000
  • Purpose: To complete leaseholder improvements necessary to launch a program that will provide employment skills to the developmentally disabled in the Holland/Zeeland area.
  • Why this matters: The closure of Kandu in August 2015 has created a significant gap in services for community members with developmental disabilities, over 200 of whom were previously employed at Kandu.  Hope Network has a track record of successfully providing similar services to this population in other communities and the new Development Center site will have a lasting impact in helping to rebuild the Holland/Zeeland area’s overall capacity to provide employment opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities.


Resthaven - Green House Long-term Care Cottage

  • Amount Awarded: $40,000
  • Purpose: To construct a 10 resident Green House cottage on the Resthaven Care Center campus which will serve seniors who may deplete their financial resources due to the longevity of care required.
  • Why this matters: The Green House model provides seniors with a high level of nursing care in a small group setting with private personal space, a living environment that looks and feels like a home, smart technology, and an emphasis on natural light and green space inside and outside of the home. As our community prepares for growing housing and care needs for our elders, the new Green House will extend the range of options available to local seniors.


Neighbors Plus - Meet Up & Eat Up Summer Learning Initiative

  • Amount Awarded: $20,520 
  • Purpose: In collaboration with the West Ottawa summer lunch program, 200 elementary aged children in the Leisure Estates Mobile Home Community will engage in brain stimulating summer activities that focus on grade retention in reading, vocabulary and math.
  • Why this matters: Research shows that students in low-income households experience greater summer learning loss than their peers and that lack of access to summer learning opportunities is a major cause.  The learning loss students experience each summer adds up over the course of their school years and contributes to overall gaps in educational outcomes.  The Meet Up & Eat Up Summer Learning Initiative will provide the kinds of educational activities that help prevent summer learning loss. 

Calvary Reformed Church - Blacktop Rec Playground

  • Amount Awarded: $15,000
  • Purpose: To help build a playground for high need students in Holland Heights.
  • Why this matters: The Blacktop Rec program serves over 100 youth ages 5 through 12 four days a week throughout the summer. The existing playground was built more than 25 years ago and is worn out to the point that it is no longer safe for use.  The new playground will provide a safe place for students to play and exercise for many years into the future.

 Holland Public Schools - Equity Alliance

  • Amount Awarded: $14,000 
  • Purpose: To research, plan and facilitate events and programming to equip a wide range of stakeholders with the knowledge and skills to recognize, respond to, and remedy conditions that deny some students access to educational opportunities enjoyed by their peers.  
  • Why this matters: Local data shows that educational outcomes for children of color and children from lower socioeconomic households fall statistically below their fellow students.  These achievement gaps are present for elementary aged students and the gaps widen as students enter middle and high school.  These same students receive a disproportionate number of disciplinary referrals and are underrepresented in honors and advanced placement classes.  Forming a group like the Equity Alliance, that will bring together teachers, students, parents, administrators and other school staff to explore ways to close these gaps, has shown to be an effective practice in other organizations and is an important strategy for building a culture where all children can access the resources they need to learn and thrive. 

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