Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis: Opportunities for Giving for Donor Advisors

The Community Foundation has mobilized resources from the Urgent Needs Fund to respond to the developing COVID-19 crisis that is impacting friends and neighbors across Charlevoix County. Since late March, Urgent Needs dollars have been granted to nonprofit partners help individuals and families in need. Many requests (and grants) are listed below, though some have been removed in an effort to keep the list managable. 

Your Commmunity Foundation has developed a second approach for our community's nonprofits to deliver organizational support as this crisis continues to have a broad impact. Partners have shared a loss of earned revenue due to cancelled classes, performances, or services.  Some are seeing decreasing donations are making difficult decisions to cancel fundraising events. These organizations that make our community special and strong need support now. The Organizational Support Cycle will accept general operations grant requests from nonprofit partners on June 1st.  The Distribution Committee made up of trustees will allocate available dollars.  We will share requests with you in June, similar to a regular grant cycle, and encourage you to consider using your donor advised fund to help sustain our nonprofit partners. If you have questions, don't hesitate to be in touch with Sara Ward at 

                                                                                                                                          From your friends at the Community Foundation


Current Requests – Updated 5/19/20 Please make grant recommendations to by Monday, May 25 if possible. 


Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity (reviewed 5/19/20)

The Critical Home Repair Program helps qualifying homeowners with repairs that provide safe housing, such as repairing a roof, replacing heating and water systems, repairing plumbing and electrical issues, window and door replacement, solving septic and well issues, and more.  Habitat will work off a waiting list, but they also expect an increase in requests for repairs since homeowners are less likely than usual to have adequate savings. Projects typically range from $5,000 - $12,000. Charlevoix County residents will benefit from grant dollars provided.

Request: $10,000                          Urgent Needs Funding: $10,000               Remaining Need: $0*

*Home repair projects are bigger ticket items, so there is a larger need than is reflected in this request.


Crossroads Ecumenical Resale Shop (reviewed 5/12/20)

In partnership with East Jordan Ministerial Association, Crossroads will use this grant to help pay utilities, propane, rent, temporary housing, and fuel for individuals or families who are struggling. Specifically, utilities that have reached the shut-off notice stage, help with rent to avoid eviction, gas cards for people to get to work or to medical appointments, a couple of nights at a local motel for those who have recently become homeless, and occasionally to help with medical prescriptions that are too expensive for a struggling individual.

Request: $5,000                             Urgent Needs Funding: $5,000                 Remaining Need: $0*

*Resources have been keeping up with needs, though these partners anticipate increased need as waivers for utility bills, etc. expire in the coming weeks.


St. James Township (reviewed 5/12/20)

Internet connection allows more of us to stay home and stay safe.  A remarkable collaboration on Beaver Island is working to bring better service at key island locations to deal with increased demand for internet.  This request comes to us because an expected major partner is reacting to unprecedented demand on its budget related to the Coronavirus Pandemic and can no longer participate in the financial collaboration. 

The high-speed service would be made available for use in public workspaces at the BI District Library, Community Center, Museums and Township Buildings. It would also be used for township and (county) business at connected locations (halls, county building, transfer station, governmental center, St. James fire hall, Health Center), School, and Municipal Docks (visitors). Individuals can use it to continue to work or complete school work, for telehealth appointments, for connection to family and friends, and more, as we’ve come to expect here on the mainland.

Request: $10,000                          Urgent Needs Funding: $7,500                 Remaining Need: $2,500


East Jordan Public Schools (reviewed 4/28/20)

Staff are seeing more need among more families during regular lunch program meal pickups. To help address these needs, the School would arrange for $50 food cards to be distributed to the families in highest need, based on assessments by school staff and counselors. Food cards would be valid at Family Fare for food and basic needs only.

Request: $5,000                             Urgent Needs Funding: $5,000                 Remaining Need: $0, but any dollars will be used for families in need


Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology (reviewed 4/21/20)

Crosshatch will use their network to reach local artists who are struggling to make ends meet. Many Charlevoix County artists, who contribute to what our community offers all year, have secondary jobs in the hospitality and service industries and have seen lay-offs that are forcing difficult choices such as skipping preventative health care, accredited child care, or car insurance. Crosshatch will use grant dollars to help them meet immediate needs and connect them with other available resources. 

Request: $5,000              Urgent Needs Funding: $3,000                  Remaining Need: $1,500*
*$500 has been provided by a donor advised fund


Manna Food Project (granted proactively 4/21/20)

Manna is the food bank that serves our County in partnership with Feeding America West Michigan.  Local pantries shop from Manna to provide food and supplies to those in need at a fraction of the cost of shopping retail; they also benefit from learning best practices and connecting shoppers with programs through Manna. The need for food through pantries has increased significantly over the past weeks as individuals and families experiencing joblessness look to drastically reduce expenses. The Community Foundation has made three grants based on communications with Manna’s Executive Director Kim Baker, who has shared the remarkable increase in people visiting pantries across our region. Grants to Manna benefit pantries and communities across Charlevoix County.

Urgent Needs Funding so far: $20,000 to feed Charlevoix County residents in need


Charlevoix Montessori Academy for the Arts (reviewed 4/21/20)

This small public Charter School in Charlevoix serves approximately 54 students in Kindergarten through 12th grades, over eighty percent of which would qualify for free or reduced lunches. To assist students with the transition to an online learning format for the remainder of the school year, Charlevoix Montessori Academy requests assistance to purchase additional Chromebooks and hotspots for students to utilize.

Request: $4,150              Urgent Needs Funding: $2,000                  Remaining Need: $2,150


McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation (reviewed 4/14/20)

Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) are needed to keep hospital staff protected during the fight against COVID-19. A PAPR is a critical piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be used by all caregivers, provides an ergonomic fit that is compatible with stethoscope use, is reusable, can be easily disinfected, is equipped with adjustable air distribution, and has a self-testing capability to ensure safety. This grant is part of an effort to purchase 300 PAPRs to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for front line health care workers.

Request: $5,000              Urgent Needs Funding: $5,000                  Remaining Need: $0, but this is a roughly $300,000 project


Munson Healthcare Foundations (reviewed 3/31/20)

Established to meet the urgent needs of patients during times of critical health-related situations, the Patient Needs Fund provides timely assistance for individuals who are struggling to make ends meet and covers essential nonmedical expenses like rent, utilities, transportation, childcare, and food.  Munson anticipates the need for these clients to be greater than normal due to the hardships caused by market volatility and loss of income due to business closures caused by COVID-19.

Request: $3,000              Urgent Needs Funding: $3,000                  Remaining Need: $0 *

*we appreciate this modest request given limited grant dollars, but expect there is more need among this population