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.







bases - $5,000

First responders have extremely stressful jobs. BASES began providing them with acute crisis counseling services in 2020 to positive reviews. The funding had run out, but the need has not. BASES proposed continuing the crisis counseling, to reduce first responders' trauma response, reduce their long-term stress, and increase their job retention. This grant allowed BASES to continue providing services while also working to identify new funding sources to sustain the program. 



Serenity House Alano Club Charlevoix, Inc. - $2,000

The Serenity House - Alano Club of Charlevoix hosts self-help groups year-round, in person and via Zoom, for people of all ages who struggle with addictions. They typically see over 150 different people each week, with an increase of over 500 people per week during the busy summer months. As our population ages and is reflected similarly in the participants at the Charlevoix Alano Club, there are more concerns for on-site cardiac arrests. Now that they are hosting more in-person activities they wanted to complete a previous plan to have an AED machine on location. This grant helped them purchase the AED unit and provide trainings for volunteers and program participants.



St. James Township - $9,000

St. James Township participated in an emergency exercise last spring, hosted by the Charlevoix County Sheriff Department with support from 10 other local, state, and federal agencies (led by the US Coast Guard). The emergency exercise involved 100+ officials and numerous island-based volunteers. The goal of the exercise was to test the mainland's emergency response to a major incident on Beaver Island. Emmet County's Sheriff and 911 mobilized to help on the Island as needed but also covered for the mainland portion of Charlevoix County given the absence of county-based first responders on the mainland. The test was called "Beaver Island Maritime Resolve" given the access issues to a remote populated island. Funds helped support feeding, housing, and transporting people to participate in this important event. The exercise revealed weaknesses that the first responder agencies are now working to address. 


Beaver Island EMS  - $3,750

Beaver Island EMS has a goal of continuing to improve emergency medical care and response for the residents of Beaver Island. Due to their remote location, it can be challenging for other EMS agencies to respond in the event of a multi-casualty incident, so it’s best to be prepared. A good triage system is essential in emergency medicine as it allows healthcare providers to prioritize patients based on their medical needs. Additionally, BIEMS transports all patients via air ambulance to the mainland for continuing emergency care, as required by Michigan state law. The air ambulance is extremely loud, and communication with other crew members, the patient, or their family is extremely difficult. Grant funds helped to purchase both the triage kit and the wireless headsets to improve emergency medical care and response for BI residents. Having the ability to communicate with wireless headsets allows the EMS team to communicate more effectively with all crew members, the patient, and their family and has been greatly appreciated by all parties. 


Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan  - $4,000

There are many pressures (financial and emotional) on foster families as they care for youngsters who have been neglected and/or abused. Challenges can include caring for children with severe emotional or behavioral characteristics. Retaining foster families can be challenging. When a licensed home closes, there is a gap for the safe and healthy placement of children. Providing support for urgent needs in existing foster homes will improve the quality of life for those foster children and youths, and ease pressure on the families, potentially lengthening their stay in a home. Fewer transitions between homes means fewer traumas, and the chance to build a stable life. Grant funds helped CFS address urgent needs for foster and adoptive children and families as they arose last year, helping them to maintain or access food, shelter, safety, healthcare, mental health services, transportation, and more. 



Health Department of Northwest Michigan   - $927

Many SNAP recipients are not aware of the opportunity to access local, healthy foods at farmers markets. The overarching goal of this proposal through the Health Department of NW MI is to inform Charlevoix County SNAP participants about using SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks at local farmers markets. This project increased awareness about access to local healthy foods for recipients of food assistance benefits. 







Good Neighbors Food Pantry of Boyne City - $5,000

Good Neighbors Food Pantry has been using a trailer (loaned to them each week by a friend of the pantry) to pick up the weekly 1,800 pounds of food from Manna Food Project in Harbor Springs, to stock the pantry in Boyne City. This trailer was old and in need of major repairs to make it safe for volunteer drivers. Grant funds helped Good Neighbors Food Pantry to purchase a new trailer with a braking system, which will provide the pantry with many years of reliable service.






Northmen Den Youth Pantries Inc. - $7,500

The Round Lake Education Center (RLEC) in Charlevoix County is a court-appointed high school and many of its students are from families who are experiencing food insecurity. So, the Northmen Den Youth Pantries (NDYP) stepped in to provide access to a reliable source of supplemental high-quality food for disadvantaged middle and high school youth and their families. The School-based Pantry Program is a mini-grocery store where students can shop for free brand-name, supplemental, nutritious food. Last year, the RLEC's Youth Pantry provided more than 360 students access to breakfast, lunch, and take-home food for themselves, younger siblings, and other family members from the pantry. Helping students in need is critical. Students can't learn if they are hungry. Grant funds helped to stock the pantry for the school year.



Boyne City Public Schools  - $2,400

Boyne City Middle School (BCMS) received support for the Winter Outwear Assistance Program to provide warm outwear for students and families in need. Middle school students still go outdoors for recess and other activities in the winter months. Their goal in 2023, due to the growing need, was to be able to provide gear to 50 students and families in the 5th and 6th grade. 








The Salvation Army  - $14,500

The Salvation Army of Petoskey (SA) is seeing a large increase in need caused by pandemic fallout and inflation for low-income individuals, families, and seniors in Charlevoix County. The Emergency Financial Assistance Program (EFAP) provides emergency financial assistance to individuals or families experiencing a financial crisis to provide a safety net to help them regain financial stability by providing assistance with heat, electricity, water, shelter, and other basic needs that threaten a household’s livelihood or an individual's ability to maintain a stable household. Demand for services has continued to increase due to inflation and pandemic fatigue which has ended moratoriums and exhausted emergency resources. Last fiscal year, The SA disbursed $740,000 in emergency financial assistance; up $90,000 from last year’s $650,000 in their tri-county service area. Including case management services provided, the SA is providing nearly triple the annual amount that they were providing pre-Covid. Grant funds are assisting approximately 27-31 households in Charlevoix County. 



Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan  - $8,000

When a child experiences a medical crisis, the entire family is affected on a financial, psychological, emotional, and social level. This is where Ronald McDonald House Charities West Michigan (RMHCWM) can intervene to assist families in mitigating as much of that burden as possible. They achieve this through the Family Support Program, which provides a nocost resting place, the Ronald McDonald House, for caregivers, including comfortable beds, warm meals, snacks, transportation to and from the hospital, toiletries, and engaging activities to keep siblings entertained so families' sole focus can be on the healing journey of their sick child/sibling. Grant funds are used primarily to provide food and transportation to Charlevoix County families in need. 




Resort Bear Creek Fire Department  - $6,370

Resort Bear Creek Fire Department serves the most populated two thirds of Bay Township in Charlevoix County. Their firefighters play a crucial role in providing immediate assistance during medical emergencies such as cardiac events, where time is of the essence in saving lives. While their dedicated team is well-trained and equipped to handle a range of emergencies, the addition of two AEDs will significantly improve their ability to respond to cardiac incidents, increasing the chances of survival for those affected. Dependable radio communication is also critical to a rapid response in lifesaving efforts. Acquisition of one additional radio will mean all firefighters will be properly equipped. Grant funds helped the department to purchase the mentioned AEDs and radio equipment.