Like many others around the world, our community faced unimaginable challenges this past year as the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed our lives. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, our community came together to support one another—once again, showing the power of collaboration and unity.

To that end, we would like to express our appreciation to our all our donors who continue to give generously.

From March through May of last year, a community coalition comprised of the Greater Ottawa County United Way, the GHACF, and the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area worked together to monitor the ongoing developments surrounding COVID-19 while proactively working to assist with the increasing needs of our community. During that time, the coalition awarded 110 grants totaling over $990,000 from the Emergency Human Needs Fund to area for-impact organizations that were helping our community during the crisis.

In June 2020, the foundation established the Community Relief & Recovery Fund (CR&RF) and thanks to generous donations from our community, allocated over $850,000 in grants to those in need of assistance. This fund was established to respond to the current and long-term impact that COVID-19 has had on individuals, families, and for-impact partners within Northern Ottawa County, and has enabled the foundation, fund holders, and donors to pool resources to collectively support relief and recovery of organizations that have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

A few of our COVID relief grant recipients—Mosaic Counseling, Love in Action, Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging, Good Samaritan Ministries, and St. John’s Episcopal Church—took a moment to discuss the impact of these contributions and explained just how much this support has helped the important causes they lead throughout the Northwest Ottawa County area.

The CR&RF grants made possible by the foundation have helped hundreds of households prevent and combat homelessness—with Good Samaritan Ministries helping to move people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. Additionally, Love in Action was able to increase access to affordable housing, while helping residents with rental assistance and utilities—preventing homelessness in a time of high unemployment, while also offering greater access to food and nutrition services.

Mosaic Counseling was able to ensure students have better access to mental health resources through their school outreach program, which allows therapists to see students directly at their school for those who cannot afford mental health care services. The CR&RF grants also made it possible for Mosaic Counseling to train more than 7,000 people in Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) suicide prevention.

Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging was another grant recipient, which helped the organization continue to provide care to elderly community members. As the pandemic progressed, many elderly neighbors feared leaving their homes due to their health and were unable to see their family members. Thankfully, the home service staff from Four Pointes was able to enter their homes as essential workers—providing comfort, essential services, and safety to many vulnerable seniors.

The CR&RF grants received by St. John’s Episcopal Church played an important role in enabling the church to create an immigrant relief fund amid the pandemic. The church was able to assist over 180 households with $71,000 for household and legal needs.

Dozens of for-impact organizations received CR&R grants over the past year and the foundation continues to support our community during this time. Our endowment allows us to make a difference by quickly serving the community when an unimaginable need arises, now and in the future. This past year has truly been a testament to the strength, unity, and resiliency of our beloved community, and we are grateful for your support.

As we celebrate the foundation’s 50th anniversary, we are proud to be a part of building a connected, supportive, and prosperous community. After 50 years of activity in Northwest Ottawa County, we have been able to create a positive impact for future generations. We are looking forward to the next 50 years to come.

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