United Way, Kent County announce first-round nonprofit grant recipients

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To date, 71 grant checks totaling more than $2.3 million have been mailed to nonprofits throughout Kent County. Photo by iStock

Heart of West Michigan United Way and Kent County selected the first wave of recipients for the Kent County Nonprofit Organization COVID-19 Grant Fund established this summer.

The county and HWMUW said Tuesday that the program received 194 applicants so far, and of those, 112 nonprofits qualified for short-term economic relief grants ranging from $5,000 to $150,000.

To date, 71 grant checks totaling more than $2.3 million have been mailed to nonprofits throughout Kent County. Another $1.4 million will be distributed to about 19 organizations as soon as the required paperwork is complete.

A full list of the recipients is available here and will be updated as more are added. Grant amounts were not disclosed.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners in July allocated $9.5 million in federal CARES Act dollars to create the relief fund, which targets 501(c)3, 501(c)4 and 501(c)6 nonprofit health and human service organizations in Kent County serving individuals and communities that have been directly affected by COVID-19.

“The pandemic has changed the level of need in our community, with many finding themselves suddenly requiring assistance for the first time,” said Mandy Bolter, Kent County Board of Commissioners chair. “We remain committed to helping our nonprofit partners address critical needs such as food assistance, mental and physical health services, and other programs to help people get back on their feet.”

The awardees assist diverse communities throughout the county and reported that those who benefit from their programs are 20.9% African American/Black, 20.3% Hispanic/Latino, 16.9% white/Caucasian, 12.2% multiracial or other race, 9.5% Asian, 7.4% Native American and 1.4% Pacific Islander. Additionally, 11.5% was left unspecified.

“Prior to the pandemic, many families and individuals struggled to meet their basic needs. COVID-19 has worsened the strain on those who were already struggling and caused others to experience difficulties for the first time in their lives,” said Michelle Van Dyke, president and CEO Heart of West Michigan United Way. “These dollars provide critical relief to nonprofits who are working tirelessly to serve the growing needs of so many in our community.”

Applications will be accepted until the funds available are allocated or until Oct. 1, whichever occurs first.

More details and a link to the application are on Heart of West Michigan United Way’s website.

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