As we navigate the challenges before us caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to acknowledge how unprecedented this situation is for our community. Never before has the Holland/Zeeland area experienced such a convergence of deep crises - health, economic, food, education, and more - that began simultaneously with little warning and no clear endpoint. Local philanthropy will fill a unique and valuable role in our stabilization and recovery efforts.
We have adapted our grant making process for the remainder of 2020 to prioritize our Community Stabilization Fund and the overall health of our local nonprofits. By thoughtfully deploying our Community's Endowment, we can support local efforts to address the gaps and keep the Holland/Zeeland area strong.
The goal for the Community Stabilization Fund is to provide a vehicle for coordinated investment in our community on behalf of our Community's Endowment resources and the resources of local individuals, families, and companies. The fund is designed to act swiftly, be flexible as new information emerges, and be targeted in its use across the various areas of need, taking into account the range of other supports that have come from public and private sources into our community.
Based on real-time feedback provided by nonprofit partners, community leaders, and individuals in need, we have identified the following targeted strategies for prioritized investment for the remainder of 2020:
•Financial Stability: Preventing people from slipping into poverty - primary strategy is focused on stabilizing ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households, in particular by helping keep people in their homes through rent payment assistance and home foreclosure prevention. Continued basic needs supports - primary strategy is providing basic needs support targeted to those who haven’t (or won’t ever) receive the federal stimulus financial supports.
•Health: Increase mental health and substance abuse services - primary strategy is scaling up existing mental health and substance abuse providers to be able to serve more people and reach different audiences. Maintaining access to health insurance - primary strategy is helping people navigate accessing health care insurance when they are unemployed.
•Education: Mitigating the education opportunity gap - primary strategy is to provide extra resources to support those students who are likely to fall the furthest behind on their educational journeys as our model for learning is being forced to adapt in real-time.
The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area seeks to ensure that our community thrives today, tomorrow, and forever by building our Community’s Endowment to support high impact charitable projects, helping donors achieve their charitable goals, and leading and partnering in community-level initiatives.
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