Community Leadership During Crisis

When we announced in December that our slogan for the upcoming year was going to be, “Be Bold,” we had no idea what 2020 had in store for us.

We’ve seen our community shuttered as we work to contain the spread of COVID-19. We’ve watched our neighbors in Arenac, Midland, and Saginaw face devastating flooding. And this past month has been fraught with tensions over racial justice, tensions that have led to violence in communities across the nation.

We must be bold in facing these uncertainties, challenges, and social issues. As a community foundation, we are meeting these challenges head-on with community as our focus. These matters will not be solved overnight. Their impact will be long-term, and we must prepare for an extended response.

To that end, the Community Foundation has been taking several actions toward community healing since mid-March:

  • Alongside other community partners, we formed a COVID-19 Community Response Coalition that meets weekly.
  • We have raised more than $100,000 for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund and have awarded grants to keep our neighbors safe and fed.
  • So far, grants from the COVID-19 Community REsponse Fund have supported emergency food programs and outreach services through Dow Bay Area Family YMCA, Golden Horizons, CAN Council of the Great Lakes Bay Region, Hidden Harvest, Salvation Army, Safe Harbor Kitchen, Food of Faith, Pinconning Emergency Food Pantry, Mid Michigan Community Action, 211 Northeast Michigan, and Bay Future.
  • We launched our Impact Investing Initiative and are offering a Nonprofit Operating Support Loan Program to help nonprofits continue their vital work.
  • We have been offering support and training for nonprofits through monthly town hall meetings which began in March.
  • The Arenac County Flood Relief Fund was established to support relief efforts after the May 2020 flooding, and the Arenac Community Funds Committee awarded a $10,000 grant to support this fund.
  • We have worked to maintain a sense of normalcy for our community with $466,000 in scholarships awarded on schedule and celebrated online.
  • In a capacity-building effort for our nonprofits, we are financing Catchafire services for our partners to emerge from this crisis more resilient.
  • We have offered mini grant opportunities to help nonprofits offset costs of creating a safe environment for programming during COVID.
  • With the second cycle of grant funding, nonprofits can apply for operational support to respond to emerging and continuing needs.

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