Much like you, at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, we are closely monitoring the development of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
We are working by the hour to equip ourselves and our partners with accurate, up-to-date information and responding as quickly and effectively as possible.
For Existing Grantees
In brief, here are a few responses to common questions from our current grantees that we thought would be helpful to share:
- Report Deadline Extensions: We are automatically extending any interim or final report deadlines on existing grants. If you have a report due between now and December 31, we will extend your final report deadline by three months. If your interim report spurs a payment, however, your Program Officer will be in contact with you. They will consider a briefer interim report or waiving the report requirement altogether where possible.
- Budget Changes: We are available to discuss changes to your budgets on existing grants if needed. We are willing to convert existing grants to general operating support where possible by the intent of the donor and funding source from within CFSEM. We are also willing to extend the grant period so that you can expend the funds for their intended purpose. Please contact your Program Officer if you would like to explore either of these options.
- Grant Payments: We are planning to pay all grants on schedule. If you would like to request early payment on remaining payments for an existing, open grant, please contact your Program Officer. We are willing to consider early payments on all existing grants if needed by your organization.
- Agency Endowments: For the 200+ organizations that are building endowment with us for their organizations, we made first payments from those funds in April instead of June and are making the second payments in August instead of December to assist organizations with cash flow challenges during this unique time.
For New Applicants
For organizations who want to apply for a new application, here is what you should know:
- Deadlines: The Community Foundation is maintaining its application deadline. It is a November 16 deadline for a March decision.
- Temporary Grant Guidelines: For the latter half of 2020 and early 2021, we replaced our standard grant guidelines, with revised guidelines that provide more flexible but targeted funds due to COVID-19 related challenges. You can find information on applying here.
COVID Specific Activities
In addition to considering new applications, the Community Foundation is engaging in proactive grantmaking related to COVID-19 relief efforts.
As we learn how best to address this evolving pandemic, the impact of regional collaboration and local contributions has never been more apparent. As such, we launched four COVID-19 responds funds to respond to some of the emerging issues you are telling us about. We wanted to provide tools to our donors and partners who want to give.
We are identifying issue areas, informed by what we are hearing from you, of where the limited funds we have raised can be targeted to make a difference. At this time, we will have an invitation-only process for these COVID-19 response funds unless otherwise noted, as we don’t want you spending time on applying unless we know we have funds to address your areas of need.
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
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. Subsequent grants have been made to support healthcare workers at local nonprofit hospitals, regional federally qualified health centers to utilize match dollars for COVID-19 testing, and Detroit neighborhood-based organizations for residents’ behavioral health and basic needs.
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
- $500,000 in relief and innovation funding for nonprofit arts and culture organizations we made
In addition to these grants, 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 also 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.
COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund
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.
Contact: Mary Fulmer, Program Officer
How to Stay in Touch
Thank you for all you do every day to support residents in southeast Michigan. Together, we will get through this challenging time. As the crisis evolves in southeast Michigan, we are asking you, our grantee partners for help.
We know our grantee partners are the eyes and ears of our community, so we are asking you to share with us both the long and short-term needs you see arising within your organizations and communities. While we cannot support all needs, hearing from you helps us to direct donors and others to urgent issues and need.
We strongly encourage you to share those needs with us through our website. We will continuously update the list of needs as we collect more information. Feel free to respond more than once over the coming weeks as you see new needs emerge.
You will find a summary of the issues we have collected so far at this link. We are updating this daily.
Amidst office and school closures, event cancellations, and the shutdown of small businesses, we want to stay abreast of the issues and better understand how and where we can be effective.
You can also click on this link to sign up for COVID-19 updates in the weeks and months ahead.