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 can be 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 ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In March of 2020, the Community Foundation responded swiftly to sudden increased needs in the community as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Generous donors rallied quickly around the cause and the Community Foundation was able to raise more than $200,000 in just a few short weeks. Staff worked quickly to create an ongoing Urgent Needs Grant Cycle for nonprofit partners who serve individuals disproportionately affected by consequences of the pandemic. As of June 30, 2020, 40 grants totaling more than $136,000 had been awarded to help those in greatest need in Charlevoix County. The Urgent Needs 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.
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.
When the burden is reduced for our most vulnerable residents, our whole community benefits. To that end, the Community Foundation's board offered a $100,000 match from endowed resources to boost contributions to the Urgent Needs Fund in 2017. Generous donors helped to capture that match! We continue to accept gifts to the Urgent Needs Fund so that the Community Foundation can help friends and neighbors in Charlevoix County when they need it most.