Guiding Light receives $25K donation from TCF

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Guiding Light will use the donation to re-establish its Emergency Assistance Fund. Courtesy Guiding Light

A nonprofit received $25,000 from TCF Financial Corporation to support its Back to Work program.

Grand Rapids-based Guiding Light said last month it received the sum from TCF, and the organization will use the donation to re-establish its Emergency Assistance Fund, which has been depleted due to extra expenses related to COVID-19. The fund enables Guiding Light to purchase uniforms, steel-toed boots, tools and bus passes for men enrolled in Back to Work who are trying to pay down debt and return to independence.

In 2019, 336 men went through the Back to Work program. When they arrived at Guiding Light, the average debt per man, not including child support, was $10,127.

Guiding Light provides a safe place for the men to live, along with their meals, for the first four months, as well as financial support for first month’s rent and deposits after they transition to an independent apartment or house. Back to Work participants also are given tools and resources needed to safely find a job, including access to computers for job research and creating resumes, job coaching, life skill courses, budgeting guidance and other essentials.

“We are grateful to TCF for its support of the men in our Back to Work program,” said Stuart Ray, executive director of Guiding Light. “Those we serve face significant barriers to finding and keeping full-time work, such as extensive debt, lack of reliable transportation and no place to call home. All this has been exacerbated by the global pandemic, which has thrown tens of thousands of Michiganders out of work.

“Our goal is to help these men get off the streets and on a payroll by connecting them with meaningful long-term employment. We provide these services free of charge, thanks to the generous support of community-minded organizations like TCF, who see the importance and value of the work we do.”

Emmanuel Glover, TCF senior vice president, director of community development, said the donation fits with TCF’s mission as a purpose-driven company.

“TCF’s Community Impact Fund supports local organizations because we know that together, we can do even more good in the communities where we live and serve,” Glover said. “TCF is proud to make this donation to Guiding Light.”

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