The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) is disbursing the final grants from the COVID-19 Community Stabilization Fund.
The fund was created in summer 2020 to respond to the impacts of the pandemic in the Holland/Zeeland area and continued into the first six months of 2021 in response to feedback from community partners.
The fund was seeded with investments from the Community’s Endowment and supercharged with generous donations from local individuals, families, and businesses.
Three investment areas
Grants made from the fund focused on three areas of investment:
- Financial stability: preventing people from slipping into poverty and basic needs supports.
- Mental health and substance abuse: scaling up existing mental health and substance abuse providers to be able to serve more people and reach different audiences
- Education: providing extra resources to support those students who are likely to fall the furthest behind on their educational journeys as our model for learning has been forced to adapt in real-time.
“We are immensely proud of the impact we’ve been able to create through the Community Stabilization Fund. The challenges of the past 18 months have demonstrated the need for a robust community endowment to respond to unforeseen challenges in our community,” says Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys, director of community impact.
“CFHZ was able to lean into our mission to help the greater Holland/Zeeland area thrive today, tomorrow, and forever, thanks to our Community’s Endowment, the generous contributions of so many community members, and community partners with established relationships built on trust,” she says.
The final round of grants
In the final round of grants from the Community Stabilization Fund, $103,400 was awarded to eight partner nonprofit organizations.
— $25,000 to offer support groups and on-site outreach in partnership with the northside location of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland. The funding assisted Momentum Center in hiring a Certified Peer Support Specialist to run groups and provide supports to adults with mental illness and addictions. A Peer Support Specialist is a person who has a mental illness that was debilitating but was able to recover and is now able to assist others in their journeys of recovery. They provide role models of self-care and the effective use of recovery skills. By locating these supports on-site at the Boys & Girls Club and using the Peer Support Specialist model, this effort offers a new pathway for parents and students, many of whom are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), to access mental health and substance abuse support.
“We were receiving a growing number of requests from Holland and Zeeland residents to bring our programs to their community. In some cases, we even had individuals driving to Grand Haven to participate in these support groups,” says Barbara Lee VanHorssen, experi-mentor at the Momentum Center.
She added that Tre Burnett has been hired as the Peer Support Specialist to work in the new location, and a bilingual Program Coordinator will also help the center provide more social and recreational programming directly in Holland.
“We’re grateful to the Community Foundation for making it possible for us to provide this vital service to the Holland/Zeeland area, and the Boys & Girls Club for their partnership,” Lee VanHorssen says.
— $15,000 for increasing intake capacity. The funding assisted Mosaic Counseling in hiring dedicated intake staffing to respond to an extremely high volume of intakes for community members seeking mental health supports. This ensured individuals in need of services could more quickly be assessed and matched with a provider who met their needs.
Catholic Charities of West Michigan
— $10,000 to provide detoxification treatment for Holland/Zeeland area residents who are uninsured or underinsured. The funding helped Catholic Charities of West Michigan provide detoxification for individuals beginning the recovery journey from addiction and substance abuse at its recently opened Kolbe Detox Center, located in Muskegon. Many individuals suffering from addiction are unable to access residential treatment services because they need to go through detoxification first. For many, the window to move ahead with this step is limited, and delays can derail an individual’s willingness and ability to pursue detox. The Kolbe Detox Center brings this much-needed service to West Michigan with a focus on being accessible for those who face financial barriers in covering the cost of treatment.
Midtown Counseling Services
— $8,400 for on-site school counseling during the summer months. The funding helped Midtown continue its successful partnership with local schools into the summer months. Midtown’s counselors are trained in trauma-informed therapy and well-equipped and committed to working with students who face multiple challenges.
Ready for School —
$15,000 for Kindergarten Readiness Camp.
The funding helped Ready for School ensure that incoming kindergartners from all three of our area school districts (Holland, West Ottawa, and Zeeland) were able to participate in Kindergarten Readiness Camp. The four-week, 80-hour intensive program (five days per week, four hours per day) had low teacher-to-child ratios, allowing for individualized instruction within the context of a camp-based environment. Participating children built their knowledge in language and literacy, math and science concepts, and peer relationships through creative hands-on activities and embedded enrichment of skills that align with student school-day/school-year benchmarks.
The Bridge Youth Ministry Center, in partnership with Zeeland Public Schools (ZPS)
— $10,000 to provide academic and social support throughout the summer. The funding helped The Bridge, operating in coordination with ZPS, meet students’ significant academic needs so that they were better prepared for the upcoming school year, while also providing a positive outlet that they looked forward to participating in each day. The Bridge has worked to creatively meet the needs of students over the past year and was well-positioned to continue that ramped-up work for the summer months.
Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates
— $15,000 for Remote Renewal Services. The funding helped Lighthouse ensure individuals could remain legally eligible to work by renewing their immigration status. This is essential for these individuals and their families to maintain their household income, which is often in the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) range. A lapse in immigration status can have negative ripple effects on the household that greatly increase the likelihood of falling into poverty.
Solid Rock Ministries
— $5,000 to assist individuals with high financial need with critical home improvements and repairs. The funding allowed Solid Rock to more rapidly assist community members who are living in homes that need essential repairs and improvements to remain safe and livable. Finding alternative affordable housing is extremely difficult currently, and helping people stay in their current homes is a far more viable alternative if appropriate repairs and modifications can be made. Solid Rock has a strong track record of doing this work and reaching community members in greatest need.
More information about these grants, and the Community Stabilization Fund, can be found at www.cfhz.org/nonprofits