“Winter always brings a higher level of need in our community, and the pandemic has only amplified that. Many of our partners are striving to simply maintain operations, while others have been required to greatly expand their capacity, all while complying with critical health and safety standards that have unfortunately limited their opportunities to generate revenue and fundraise.” – Holly Cole, Vice President of Grants and Program
With the first half of our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) year underway, the committee has adapted to a virtual meeting format while still working towards empowering and supporting youth in Northwest Ottawa County. We’ve used this time to pause and pivot our work, leaning into the data that shows what our youth need.
The Board of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF) is pleased to announce eight third-round Community Impact grant awards, totaling $204,720, in support of Northwest Ottawa County and our surrounding communities. This includes a $75,000 grant to Muskegon Area First for the West Michigan Food Processing Association’s (WMFPA) FutureFood21 program: “Healthy Food & Sustainability through Increased Education.”
Throughout our 49-year history, our Greatest Needs Fund has existed to provide support or the future needs that we can’t always anticipate. No year has demonstrated this more than 2020. While we have all been challenged by the upheaval that our world has faced since March, the response from our community has been—and continues to be—inspiring.
Next Tuesday, December 1st, is Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement intended to unleash the power of people and organizations to positively transform their communities and the world. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many traditionally focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are important values of the foundation and one of our Community Impact grant priority areas. When events of racial injustice spurred national conversation earlier this year, we joined forces with local partners to support the LEDA pledge and opened a summer grant round specifically for DEI work in our community. In an effort to begin to address the systemic racism within our community, we invited key for-impact organizations to partner with us in their work to foster community conversation and address systemic racism.
The North Bank Communities Fund awarded a grant to Spring Lake Township to replace the roof on the historic DeWitt School. “The North Bank Community Fund does exactly what they say with their funds. They have been long time supporters of the DeWitt School—first with the bell tower renovation and now with the new roof.” –John Nash, SLT Supervisor
Thanks to community support from people like you, we exceeded our $600,000 fundraising goal, which allows us to continue aiding community relief and recovery in response to COVID-19.
At the foundation, we’ve adapted and adjusted, and are remaining flexible not only in how we deliver programming to our YAC, but in how we plan to spread philanthropy and our work to the youth in our community. We continue to focus on youth empowerment—specifically through mental & emotional, physical, and community & cultural wellbeing.
This spring, we awarded $621,140 in scholarships to 220 area students. The GHACF holds over 125 scholarship funds with varying criteria, such as financial need, academic achievements, and field of study. Another factor our scholarship committee considers is if a student would be among the first in their family in their generation to continue their education after high school. This year, we were able to award scholarships to 32 first generation students.