CFHZ grants worth $233K to support housing, healthy food options

The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) recently distributed $233,000 to local nonprofit organizations to help support them in their unique missions of service to the community. These grants were made through CFHZ’s responsive grant program as part of the foundation’s commitment to invest in opportunities across a broad range of issues and organizations.  

“The applications for funding we received in this responsive grant round represented a diverse range of needs and opportunities in our community,” says Elizabeth Kidd, vice president of community impact/people and culture. “We are immensely grateful to our distribution committee for their thoughtful review of the large number of applications we received. It is a joy to partner with the selected nonprofits and support their work to help the Holland/Zeeland area thrive now and in the future.” 

Grant recipients include: 

Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity — Critical Home Repair Program  
Amount Awarded: $60,000 over two years  
Purpose: One of the most direct ways to address the affordable housing crisis is by keeping people in the homes they own, to begin with. Lakeshore Habitat's Critical Home Repair Program helps homeowners in the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) population complete repairs to make their homes a safe and stable place to live. In 2022, Lakeshore Habitat received over 30 formal requests for critical home repairs alongside 2–3 calls per week requesting assistance. Expanding the Critical Home Repair program will allow Lakeshore Habitat to directly serve an additional 15 households in the Holland area, ensuring that these individuals can remain in their homes safely.  

“For over 30 years, we have witnessed the impact a home has on an individual’s health, family, and future, leading us to increase our building of new homes by 600% in recent years. We also know that one of the easiest ways to address affordable housing is by keeping families safe in their existing homes.  Because of these funds, we will be able to drastically increase the number of homes we are able to repair in the Holland/Zeeland community,” says Don Wilkinson, executive director of Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity. 

Benjamin's Hope — This Is Home  
Amount Awarded: $40,000  
Purpose: In response to the severe shortage in our area for Specialized Residential Homes, Benjamin's  Hope is building two additional homes on its 53-acre campus to welcome and serve 12 new adults affected by autism. Today in the United States, 5.4 million individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities live with a family caregiver. Nearly 25% of these caregivers are over the age of 60. For families that wish to explore specialized residential housing that facilitates independent living while offering direct care support and is affordable, the options remain extremely limited. 

Krista Mason, executive director and founder of Benjamin’s Hope, says, “In response to the urgent need  for supportive housing for adults with a disability, we have launched a campaign called ‘This is  Home.’ With autism now affecting one in every 36 children born, the need is growing. For families like mine, Ben's Hope provides an answer to our deepest longing — that today and beyond our lifetime, our adult children with disabilities will have purpose and belonging in a community where they are valued and treated with dignity. We want to build two new homes on our campus, and we are so grateful for the  partnership of CFHZ as we plan to welcome an additional 12 people to call Ben’s Hope home.” 

The Rink Fund — City of Holland Ice Skating Park 
Amount Awarded: $33,000  
Purpose: To construct an outdoor ice-skating park that will serve as a space for collective joy for all residents, while also creating a space that invites additional tourism and business to the area. Constructing an outdoor ice-skating park in the heart of downtown Holland presents a meaningful moment for the community to add an amenity that will enhance the economic and social vitality of the area for years to come.  

Great Lakes Urban Restoration Network — Cultivating Connection & Change in Southwestern Holland
Amount Awarded: $30,000 over two years 
Purpose: This initiative, designed with the support of the city of Holland, replicates a successful community connector model. Southwestern Holland has the highest concentration of Black, Indigenous,  and People of Color residents in the Holland/Zeeland Area and has also experienced some of the highest levels of economic distress. This project has the potential for a lasting impact on residents as they are empowered to engage and facilitate change by maximizing the skills and resources present within their communities to build strong and safe neighborhoods. 

The Lucas Project — Respite Farm Days 
Amount Awarded: $30,000 over two years 
Purpose: To renovate a large barn into a respite program for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Research shows that 16.8 million people in America are caring for children with special needs. Many caregivers continue to experience high levels of stress, deteriorating health conditions, and symptoms of depression. The Lucas Project intends to meet the needs of families with children who have high support needs by providing program participants opportunities for growth and development and their caregivers some much-needed respite. 

Kids' Food Basket — Ottawa and Allegan County Farm Initiative Greenhouse and Learning Barn
Amount Awarded: $25,000  
Purpose: To support the construction of a Learning Barn and Greenhouse to enhance operations of the  Ottawa County Farm, increasing learning opportunities for children and extending food production year-round. Healthy food is a fundamental determining factor in a person’s quality of life as it impacts energy levels, medical conditions, immune system strength, and mental health, among other things. The Greenhouse and Learning Barn will provide an all-inclusive approach to addressing food insecurity that couples increasing food access with nutrition education programming.

Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest — Michigan Power Plants to Parklands (P2P)
Amount Awarded: $15,000  
Purpose: ELPC’s P2P Project seizes a once-in-a-generation opportunity that has emerged with the closure of Consumer Energy’s J.H. Campbell coal plants in West Olive. ELPC is engaging in this strategic opportunity to clean up and transition retired coal plants to expand nearby public parklands and beaches for outdoor recreational uses; protect safe, clean, healthy water resources; and provide grid-connected large-scale solar energy generation and energy storage resources that produce clean power, job creation and property tax revenues. 
More information about grantmaking is available online at  

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.