Fund makes public appeal to raise $1 million for supportive housing services in Washtenaw County

Since 2015, the Sister Yvonne Gellise Fund (SYG Fund) has been awarding grants to nonprofits that provide permanent supportive housing services in Washtenaw County.


This year, the SYG Fund’s cabinet members are putting out a special call for the public’s help in order to increase the fund's balance from the current $4 million to $5 million by year's end.


SYG Fund development coordinator Peggy Cole says that increase would allow the fund to distribute $150,000 annually to agencies such as Avalon Housing and Michigan Ability Partners. The fund has already raised $500,000 since establishing the $5 million goal last fall, when its balance was $3.5 million.


The fund has already begun closing the remaining $1 million gap in a big way, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor that recently made a $150,000 challenge grant. Every donation will be matched dollar for dollar until $150,000 is raised.


The SYG Fund is an endowment fund of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, established in 2011 with a $1 million gift from St. Joseph Mercy Health System. Donations will help provide supportive housing services, which aim to ultimately break the cycle of homelessness by helping people stay housed and live productive lives.


Those services include assistance with basic needs, substance abuse counseling, vocational training, transportation, money management, and family-based interventions and referrals.


"In any given year in Washtenaw County, over 5,000 people experience homelessness," Cole says. "Every donation to the Sister Yvonne Gellise Fund is meaningful and helps someone – or a family – stay permanently housed, not living on the streets, where no human being should have to live."


More information is available can be found at the fund's website or by contacting Cole at


Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at


Photo courtesy of Sister Yvonne Gellise Fund.

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