March 16, 2020
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.
The Urgent Needs Fund was established with the help of the Frey Foundation and local donors during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, when local families were hit hard. The Fund provided support for partner organizations that could offer help with emergency food, utility, heating, and housing needs.
Thanks to the generosity of local donors, the Urgent Needs Fund helps neighbors who are struggling to meet their needs any time of year. In fact, the Community Foundation is proud to report that the Urgent Needs Fund recently passed a milestone - $200,000 in grants to help ensure that no one goes without the essentials.
Since 2009, grants from the Urgent Needs Fund have continued to meet emergency needs, and the Community Foundation has learned from our partners during that time as well. We’ve tried new approaches, such as streamlining access to resources for small, usually volunteer-run food pantries through Manna Food Project. Manna is better equipped to request and receive grant support and can offer the most cost-effective food for pantries to provide for local families. They have also been able to increase fresh produce and protein-rich foods for pantry visitors with support from the Urgent Needs Fund. Partners have increasingly offered practical support, such as cooking classes and the tools necessary to show participants how to cook healthier, lower-cost meals. When nonprofit organizations work together in this way, everybody wins.
Other examples of successful Urgent Needs programs include heating and utility assistance programs through organizations like Good Samaritan Family Services and the Salvation Army, and patient assistance programs that help people get to their doctor appointments at local hospitals.
We are fortunate to have such caring and innovative organizations serving Charlevoix County. We celebrate this milestone and look forward to continuing and strengthening the partnerships that have been created in the last 11 years through the work of the Urgent Needs Fund.
During the next grant cycle, called Community Project Support, Urgent Needs dollars will once again be available for requests from eligible nonprofits serving Charlevoix County. Click here to learn more about the cycle or call Ashley Cousens at 231-536-2440 to get started.