Making A Difference During COVID-19

Much like you, at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, we are closely monitoring the development of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

As this global crisis rapidly evolves, we continue to learn new information about the effect of the virus on our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. In response, we are working as quickly as possible to ensure the health and safety of our community by determining how we, as a regional philanthropic partner, can help most effectively.

We do not yet know what the long-term effects of this crisis will be, but our grantee partners and other community members are helping us determine where needs are most critical right now.

We have asked our partners to serve as the eyes and ears of our community and to help us maintain a running list of community needs as they evolve.

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In response to what we have heard from organizations across the region, we have joined with other funders to provide financial support for specific needs in the community which are not being addressed through other efforts.

  • COVID-19 Relief Fund for Southeast Michigan
  • Health COVID-19 Relief Fund Southeast Michigan
  • COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund
  • COVID-19 Arts and Creative Community Assistance Fund

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You’ll see that the range of issues is wide – from needs for cultural institutions to needs for small business. We know government will address some of these, but we want to monitor as we look for ways for philanthropy to fill in the gaps.

If you want advice as a donor to support any of these wider range of issues, especially those outside of the human service issues the United Way’s are addressing, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to lift suggestions to you.

As we learn how best to address this evolving pandemic together, the impact of regional collaboration and local contributions has never been more apparent. By working together with our friends and neighbors, we can ensure the health and safety of our community as effectively as possible.

COVID Specific Activities

In addition to considering new grant applications, the Community Foundation is engaging in proactive grantmaking related to COVID-19 relief efforts.

We are identifying issue areas, informed by what we are hearing from our nonprofit partners, of where the limited funds we have raised can be targeted to make a difference.

Please know that once we identify a targeted area that we believe we have meaningful funds to support, we will contact organizations that work in that area to provide input into our grantmaking strategies.

Health COVID-19 Relief Fund

Mobile Testing

Purpose: This fund is focused on the urgent health-related needs that we know will rapidly make an impact our community. This includes prioritizing support for:

  • Increased COVID testing capacity that will quickly impact high-risk groups such as first responders, frontline healthcare workers, and individuals experiencing homelessness and shelter staff. In addition, we want to provide assistance with strategy and planning for high-risk groups that also considers the everchanging landscape of testing availability.
  • Contact tracing, as soon as possible, to try to mitigate the spread of the virus.
  • Support for community-based clinics, including staffing, testing, emergency response programming and planning, and equipment/supplies.
  • Support for increased surge capacity at hospitals that prioritizes protection and support for frontline medical staff.
  • Behavioral health needs among multiple high-risk communities, including but not limited to isolated older adults and those experiencing trauma such as first responders and frontline hospital staff.

Activities: Our first wave of grants from this fund were for support of immediate health care needs. We anticipate additional waves of grants in the weeks to come for other areas as well.

COVID-19 Arts and Creative Community Assistance Fund

Purpose: The purpose of the Arts Fund is to provide relief, resiliency and innovation support to arts and culture organizations that are suffering due to COVID-19.

Activities: The Fund has made it possible to offer organizations the following:

  • Technical assistance resources to access federal and state funds
  • Relief grants to ease the acute challenges that these unique organizations face
  • Future innovation grants that will help organizations serve the region with rich arts and culture experiences

We immediately deployed $110,000 grant to CultureSource to hire WolfBrown to undertake a rapid and thorough analysis of the regional arts & culture sector. They are collecting data to help these organizations make strategic business decisions and guide stakeholder investments in their work.

We were able to provide the 160 CultureSource member organizations with the opportunity to participate in a tailored online clinic about the unique needs of nonprofit organizations in applying for the Payroll Protection Program.

Learn about the $500,000 in relief and innovation funding for nonprofit arts and culture organizations

COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund

Detroit Vegan Soul

Purpose: To support critical needs of the southeast Michigan small business community amid the crisis of COVID-19

Activities: Taking action in this unprecedented time, the New Economy Initiative has formed a rapid response center to provide a source of information, inspiration, and connectivity for the local small business community. NEI is activating its resources to inform, connect, and move funding in a way that provides relief to their grantees and those they serve.

This includes curating a helpful, comprehensive Q+A page of COVID-related resources on their website for small businesses. NEI in partnership with Startup Space, an online platform that connects entrepreneurs and business support organizations, has built a resource navigation page for small businesses amid COVID-19.

NEI first launched their Small Business COVID-19 Loan Relief Program to provide six months of loan payments (provided directly to five lending organizations) which totaled $1,300,000, to cover the payments for approximately 300 borrowers in good standing, preserving businesses and their ability to seek credit and preserving the balance sheet of critical community lending organizations. This focused on entrepreneurs in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, who are served by Invest Detroit, Michigan Women Forward, ProsperUS Detroit, Detroit Development Fund, The Detroit Community Loan Fund, and Build Institute’s KIVA.

NEI’s contributed $600,000 and partnership in the second round of the TechTown Stabilization Fund, for the smallest of small businesses with less than 10 employees in the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. This targets 600 businesses and awards up to $5,000 per qualifying business based on their proven need.

Nonprofit organizations have been included in a federal stimulus package for the first time and NEI has partnered with Fiscal Management Associates, a national consultancy focused on nonprofits, to ensure NEI grantees and other nonprofit small business ecosystem partners have tools to complete the Payment Protection Plan loan application. Two 100-seat clinics were conducted.

For assistance with any gifts to a COVID-19 Relief Fund, please email Philanthropic Services staff with the form below.