The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area raised $1 million for its Community Stabilization Fund and has so far distributed about half that amount to local agencies serving vulnerable populations during the pandemic.
The nonprofit in May established the COVID-19 Community Stabilization Fund and committed $200,000 of its own funds from its Community’s Endowment. In addition, individuals, families and corporations also contributed to the fund, allowing the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) to raise $1 million to grant to local agencies serving vulnerable populations.
CFHZ announced a series of recent grants from the Community Stabilization Fund targeting three areas of prioritized investment: financial stability, focused on basic needs supports and preventing people from slipping into poverty; health, focused on increasing mental health and substance abuse services; and education, focused on mitigating the educational opportunity gap.
“Conversations with local nonprofit agencies have illustrated the far-reaching impact COVID-19 has had on our community,” said Elizabeth Kidd, vice president of community impact for CFHZ. “Unfortunately, many people who were struggling to make ends meet prior to this pandemic have been disproportionately affected by these recent challenges. We know that these individuals need services right away, which is why we designed the Community Stabilization Fund to be flexible, swift at deploying resources and targeted to work alongside the range of other supports that have come from public and private sources.”
Since June, $520,000 has been awarded from the Community Stabilization Fund — $115,000 was granted to the Family Independence Initiative for a local Direct Cash Assistance program, which helps provide continued basic needs supports; and $150,000 was awarded to Good Samaritan Ministries to prevent people from slipping into poverty through their Eviction Diversion Program. Good Samaritan Ministries recently received a federal grant to deliver services that will divert hundreds of local families from homelessness. The Community Stabilization Fund grant will assist in their efforts to scale-up capacity.
Additionally, $120,000 was awarded to the following agencies to help mitigate the education opportunity gap:
- $40,000 to Outdoor Discovery Center, in support of its partnership with Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and Holland/Zeeland area districts to provide schools and teachers with support, resources and training on activating outdoor spaces and utilizing outdoor learning
- $40,000 to Ready for School, to expand its summer kindergarten readiness program to continue into the fall in partnership with area schools
- $25,000 to Children’s After School Achievement to adapt programming for the current school year
- $15,000 to Family Hope Foundation to assist local students with special needs and learning disabilities in regaining progress and milestones lost due to recent events
Another $135,000 was awarded to the following agencies to increase access to and capacity for mental health and substance abuse services:
- $30,000 to Ottagan Addictions Recovery to hire an additional master’s-level clinician, which will increase its ability to provide outpatient addiction treatment by at least 250 additional individuals for a year
- $30,000 to Holland Free Health Clinic (HFHC) to 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 its contracted licensed counselor. HFHC will have the capacity to serve about 30 new clients.
- $30,000 to City on a Hill Ministries Health Clinic to increase the hours of its counseling staff to immediately begin serving at least 10 more individuals per week for traditional counseling
- $15,000 to Mosaic Counseling to help ensure Mosaic can continue providing the School Outreach Program to Holland, West Ottawa and Zeeland Public Schools students
- $15,000 to Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland to add two part-time youth service assistants to work with the staff social worker
- $15,000 to Beacon of Hope to increase hours for intake staff who field phone calls from people looking for help. Connecting a potential client with a live person who can assess and triage their needs the first time they call is critical, CFHZ said.
Additional grants will be made through November to distribute the remaining $480,000 in the fund.
More information about these grants, and the Community Stabilization Fund, can be found at cfhz.org/stabilizationfund.