United Way, Kent County partner on nonprofit relief fund

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A local United Way chapter partnered with Kent County to create a fund to support nonprofits that provided certain relief services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners said Monday it recently allocated $9.5 million in federal CARES Act dollars to create the Kent County Nonprofit Organization COVID-19 Grant Fund in partnership with Heart of West Michigan United Way.

Grant requests ranging from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $150,000 are being accepted from nonprofits seeking funding for the provision of services related to COVID-19.

Applicants must be a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) nonprofit health and human service organization located within Kent County serving individuals and communities within Kent County that have been affected by COVID-19.

Eligible expenditures include the following COVID-19-related basic need expenses:

  • Food security, food access and/or food delivery
  • Personal hygiene products, diapers, etc.
  • Medical and/or employment transportation needs
  • Services for families in crisis, including at-risk youth
  • Summer learning programs, tutoring and after-school educational programs for primary and secondary school-aged children and youth to address educational difficulties caused by the closure of school buildings in March
  • Physical health care access and services
  • Expenses for mental/behavioral health services

In keeping with Kent County’s requirements and Heart of West Michigan United Way’s desire to “comprehensively meet community needs, reduce implicit bias and combat racial disparities” in the granting of the CARES Act dollars, Heart of West Michigan United Way assembled a diverse team of volunteer reviewers, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, geography and industry sectors represented.

Grant applications will be reviewed by a team consisting of 10-15 individuals.

Heart of West Michigan United Way will make funding recommendations to Kent County, and the county will make the final funding decisions.

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

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

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