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Community Foundation Urgent Needs Fund Exceeds $700K in Gifts, $520K in Grants

Area nonprofits have now benefited from more than $520,000 in total Community Foundation Urgent Needs Fund grants to support efforts to adapt and continue to provide support and services to individuals and families as the impacts of the coronavirus are felt in this region.

A recent Urgent Needs Fund grant award to Groundwork, in partnership with the Northwest Food Coalition and Goodwill’s Food Rescue, helped support a new Purchasing Coordinator position.

“With the support of the Purchasing Coordinator at Groundwork and the help of Food Rescue,” said  Meghan McDermott, Director of Programs at Groundwork, “the Coalition food pantries and meal sites have been able to continue to offer high-quality, nutritionally dense foods while they serve families in need, in spite of significant supply chain issues.”

Alison Metiva, Community Foundation vice-president of strategic engagement and programs, said a steering committee of partners from the Community Foundation, Rotary Charities, United Way of NWMI, and Herrington-Fitch Family Foundation are reviewing grant requests weekly and have seen great examples of creativity and collaboration among nonprofit partners.

“The grant for the Purchasing Coordinator at Groundwork represented several organizations coming together to support this role,” said Metiva. “We immediately saw that the grant award would have substantial impact throughout the region and aid existing organizations to better serve community members in need.”

To-date, more than 60 grants have been awarded from the Urgent Needs Fund to a variety of grantees across the region. Recent grantees include the Autism Alliance for wearable GPS devices; Before, During, and After Incarceration to help offset costs of supervised release to prevent COVID-19 spread within the incarcerated population; Grand Traverse Pavilions to implement a COVID-19 visitor screening process; and Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources to help repair damaged vital infrastructure. 

“The funding that has been invested back into our region is a direct result of the generosity of donors - individuals, foundations, and business,” said Metiva. “We have seen gifts ranging from $10 to thousands of dollars and all are part of having a meaningful impact right now.”

A $50,000 matching challenge from Rotary Charities was recently met with support from individual donors, the Oleson Foundation, United Way of NWMI, the Schmuckal Family Foundation, and the Community Foundation. These contributions have helped grow the Urgent Needs Fund to more than $700,000 in committed gifts.

David Mengebier, Community Foundation president and CEO, said that while the response to the Urgent Needs Fund so far has been significant, the needs and demand for grant support remains and giving by donors is still needed to continue to help the region remain resilient in the months to come. 

“We are seeing a shift in how organizations need support to be responsive now - including funding for summer programming and to support re-opening for visitors at long-term care centers,” said Mengebier. “We are also hearing from local partners that they are facing serious financial challenges and expect to see demands for their services increase as businesses, individuals, and families try to recover from the long-term economic impacts of COVID-19, adapt to this new normal, and implement enhanced safety measures.”

A complete list of Urgent Needs Fund grants and additional detail, as well as the application to request funding, is available online at www.gtrcf.org/give/urgentneeds. Donations can be made online at www.gtrcf.org/give/urgentneeds or by mailing a check to the Community Foundation at 223 Lake Ave., Ste. B., Traverse City, 49684.

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