The COVID-19 Emergency Human Needs Fund
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was collaboration that allowed for a meaningful response to rapidly emerging needs. Many of our neighbors experienced sudden impacts resulting from the pandemic including food insecurity, increased mental health challenges, or concerns about housing and other essential needs.
The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF), Greater Ottawa County United Way (GOCUW), Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance (LNA) and The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) formed a coalition with a two-fold goal. They were joined in these efforts by local units of government, nonprofit agencies, and other community partners.
- First, to come alongside local organizations as they responded to dramatic increases in service requests and adapted to new methods of service delivery.
- Second, to create a way for the community to get involved with relief efforts while observing new social distancing guidelines.
The first goal was supported by the creation of the Emergency Human Needs Fund (EHNF), which was designed to be the short-term rapid response fund helping keep people fed, housed and healthy for the first six to eight week “free fall” of impacts caused by COVID-19. CFHZ, GHACF, and GOCUW seeded the fund with an initial investment, and generous donations from local individuals, families, and businesses allowed the fund to distribute almost $912,000 to 56 partner organizations located throughout Ottawa County.