Urgent Needs Fund

Give to the Urgent Needs Fund Now

Basic needs like food, clothing, heat, and housing should be available to everyone in Charlevoix County. Providing support for friends and neighbors in need has always been a priority for the Community Foundation.

The Urgent Needs Fund can be put to use quickly and flexibly. Although the Community Foundation is based on the principle of endowment - long-term growth to make a difference over time - the Urgent Needs Fund is not endowed. The Fund is used each year to help nonprofit partners serve neighbors in need, but it can also be put to use in response to urgent and unexpected events that impact Charlevoix County, such as the economic recession of 2009 and the more recent 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. 

 In 2009, C3F worked with the Frey Foundation to create the Urgent Needs Fund in order to meet growing needs. Since then, other donors have supported the Fund, allowing for grants to provide human services organizations with resources to help families and individuals make ends meet. Urgent Needs Fund grants have helped to stock the shelves of food pantries, provided for home heating and electricity, and purchased shoes and boots for children in need.

In the early days of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the Community Foundation responded swiftly to sudden increased needs in the community, rallying donors and making grants to organizations helping those in greatest need. During 2020 and 2021, at least $240,000 in grant awards helped Charlevoix County residents with pandmic relief, initially, and then with accessing food, maintaining safety and shelter, accessing necessary healthcare and mental health services, keeping their utilities on, and much more. 

The Urgent Needs grant cycle remains open as an ongoing cycle, available to organizations who are helping individuals in Charlevoix County to access food, shelter, safety, healthcare, mental health services, utility assistance, transportation, and more. Additionally, organizations focused in these areas can apply for grants to strengthen their services for meeting needs of their clients

When the burden is reduced for our most vulnerable residents, our whole community benefits. Generous donors have helped to build the Urgent Needs Fund in times of need, like the great recession, and the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to accept gifts to the Urgent Needs Fund so that the Community Foundation can help friends and neighbors in Charlevoix County whenever they need it most.






hospice of Michigan - quality of life funds - $5,000

Many families with a loved one in hospice care face financial issues that leave them struggling to make ends meet. Several Charlevoix County families in 2022 suffered unemployment, lay-offs, or work furloughs due to the economic downturn. Quality of Life funds assisted with basic needs, alleviating stress from families so they could focues on thier loved one and enjoy what time they have left together. With this financial support, they could focues on their time together, making memories to chrish when their loved on e is gone. There is not greater gift we can give to someone experiencing this type of loss. The Urgent Needs Fund grant help to purchase a  neck support device for a patient, a portable wheelchair ramp that allowed another patient to get outside to his garden and helped to relocate a patient to a safer environment. These funds also helped families with non-recurring needs such as paying an electric or utility bill, filling a
   propane tank, or providing a vehicle or martgage payment.


Health department of northwest michigan - share a smile program - $3,000

Through the “Share a Smile, Not A Toothbrush” program, the Urgent Needs Fund grant supported the unmet needs of school age children and seniors in Charlevoix County by raising awareness of oral health and physical health. Working through partners like the Charlevoix County public schools and Charlevoix County Commission on Aging meal sites, the program reached school age children and local seniors with toothbrush kits, which included a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and oral health education materials. When money is tight, these basic but critical needs are often overlooked. 


Manna Food Project - food pantry program - $15,000

Manna Food Project and their partner food pantries serve families struggling to make ends meet. With help from an Urgent Needs Fund grant, Manna was able to lessen the burden for their clients by providing fresh produce and protein when they need it most. Unfortunately, these types of nutritious foods are typically more expensive than highly processed foods, so families on a tight budget often make the hard choice to leave them off their shopping list. Because of this, Manna strives to provide high quality, nutritious food to pantry clients and partner agencies by purchasing locally grown produce and, when possible, local lean protein. This Urgent Needs Fund grant made it possible to purchase over 7,200 pounds of local produce and over 2,400 pounds of high-quality protein, which was shared among 8 Charlevoix County food distribution agencies. 


Char-Em isd - great start collaborative scholarships - $10,000

Access to preschool programs, regardless of ability to pay, is critical for our youngest friends and neighbors. With the Urgent Needs Fund grant, Great Start Collaborative assisted with preschool tuition for at least 8 Charlevoix County children, ages three to five. Children are placed in high-quality, tuition-based local preschool programs that meet a rating of 3 or higher within Michigan’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. This ensures that the preschool program meets high-standards far beyond state licensing and provides care and education that will foster the academic and social-emotional skills needed for success in kindergarten. Additionally, some grant funds help families who were paying preschool tuition on their own, but for unexpected and unforeseen circumstances ran into a barrier to paying that tuition. Research shows that providing concrete support to families in the time of crisis can reduce the likelihood of child
   abuse and neglect and promote optimal child development. 


mclaren northern michigan foundation - behavioral health center - $15,000

Northern Michigan is severely underserved in mental health services. Of the 2,287 adult inpatient psychiatric beds in Michigan, only 32 are in the McLaren Northern Michigan (MNM) service area. Each year, McLaren Northern Michigan serves approximately 900 behavioral health patients within their two Emergency Departments (Cheboygan and Petoskey) including approximately 130 patients from Charlevoix County. The Urgent Needs Fund grant contributed to the construction of the Justin A. Borra Behavioral Health Center on the MNM Cheboygan Campus to address the severe shortage of mental health services in our community. The Center will include two inpatient units, a partial hospitalization program, de-escalation unit, and a wide range of programs and therapies to meet the recovery needs of behavioral health patients. Click the link below to watch a short video on this important new program: 

Introducing the Justin A. Borra Behavioral Health Center