Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area provides more relief grants

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The Bridge Youth Center received a grant to expand the Bridge to Excellence mentoring program to accommodate a larger cross-section of the educational community, including students attending school remotely. Courtesy Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area

The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area made another round of grants from its COVID-19 Community Stabilization Fund.

The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) earlier this year established the COVID-19 Community Stabilization Fund and committed $200,000 from the Our Community’s Endowment to assist local organizations as they respond to increased service demand and new protocols with service delivery. Individuals, families and corporations also contributed to the Community Stabilization Fund, allowing CFHZ to distribute over $1 million during the past six months to local nonprofits serving vulnerable populations.

CFHZ said last week that it received a series of recent grants for the Community Stabilization Fund, targeting three areas of prioritized investment:

  • Financial stability — preventing people from slipping into poverty and offering basic needs support
  • Mental health — scaling up existing mental health and substance abuse providers to be able to serve more people and reach different audiences
  • Education — providing extra resources to support students who are likely to fall farthest behind on their educational journeys as the model for learning is being forced to adapt in real-time
Elizabeth Kidd Courtesy Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area

Elizabeth Kidd, vice president of community impact for CFHZ, said the foundation is “incredibly grateful for the contributions of generous local donors to the Community Stabilization Fund.”

“Their trust in our ability to steward these resources to help the Holland/Zeeland area thrive has allowed CFHZ to make a meaningful impact in all three areas of prioritized investment,” she said. “Our community has acute needs right now unlike anything we’ve seen before. For CFHZ, this has been a time to lean deeply into our mission to respond to those needs today and tomorrow, while also keeping an eye toward the future and addressing the long-term implications of this pandemic on our community.”

$236,000 was awarded to the following organizations to prevent people from slipping into poverty and provide basic needs supports:

  • Community Action House, to increase resource navigation capacity through additional staff and case management tools
  • Harvest Stand Ministries, to support food assistance efforts and a creative partnership to bring a micro-pantry model to four local churches
  • Holland Rescue Mission, to help fill the food pantry
  • Kids’ Food Basket – Holland, to support the sack supper program for local students
  • Resilience: Advocates for Ending Violence, to help ensure safe and stable housing solutions for victims of domestic violence
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church, in support of the Immigrant Relief Fund that provides flexible funds to those who did not, and will not, receive federal aid
  • Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates, for remote renewal services to help individuals remain legally eligible to work by renewing their immigration status
  • Salvation Army – Holland, to expand the rental assistance program
  • Hand2Hand, to provide backpack meals for students to take home over the weekend
  • Nestlings Diaper Bank, to support monthly diaper distributions to community partners
  • Feeding America West Michigan, to support mobile food pantries, which are a low-barrier way for people in need to access assistance
  • Ottawa County Department of Health and Human Services, to help provide cribs, mattresses and bedding to the individuals it serves
  • Zeeland Neighborhood Connections in partnership with Solid Rock Ministries, to provide winterizing/home repairs for neighbors in need

$150,000 was awarded to the following agencies to help mitigate the education opportunity gap:

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Holland, to increase support for remote learners by adding staff capacity and including daytime hours for youth who are attending school virtually
  • Bridge Youth Center, to expand the Bridge to Excellence mentoring program to accommodate a larger cross-section of the educational community, including students attending school remotely
  • Escape Ministries, to hire additional staff and expand staff hours to increase the capacity of the Alternative Suspension Accountability Program and After School Tutoring program to serve vulnerable students
  • Hope College Education Department in partnership with Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, to launch a bilingual tutoring program to meet the unique needs of remote English language learner students
  • Step Up, to adapt the one-on-one mentoring program for local middle school students to a virtual format

$62,000 was awarded to the following agencies to increase access to, and capacity for, mental health and substance abuse services:

  • Children’s Advocacy Center, to expand the counseling program capacity to address the current waitlist for services
  • Resthaven, to bring iN2L (It’s Never Too Late) programming to residents in assisted living. This person-centered engagement program uses technology to enhance social interaction and promote mental health while still observing social distancing protocols.
  • Arbor Circle, to increase access to mental health and substance abuse services for Hispanic and Latinx community members who often face language and cultural barriers to accessing services
  • Maple Avenue Ministries, to provide capacity to offer accessible, culturally competent mental health services for Black community members
  • Momentum Center, for the Ottawa County Suicide Prevention Coalition mental health/suicide prevention postcard mailing

While the Community Stabilization Fund was designed as a short-term, six-month recovery effort, many people are still experiencing heightened levels of instability and hardships. In response, CFHZ will continue to distribute grant funding to all three priority areas (financial stability, mental health and education) in 2021.

A fourth priority area, public health, also is being considered for funding opportunities.

Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys, director of community impact for CFHZ, said “the impacts and ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have not let up, and neither will CFHZ.”

“Now is the time for the philanthropic sector to fulfill its valuable role in directing resources to vulnerable populations in order to ensure the overall strength and resiliency of our community,” Jenkins Leys said.

More information about these grants, and the Community Stabilization Fund, can be found at cfhz.org/stabilizationfund.

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