Pontiac Funders Collaborative

2020 Annual Report

In 2020, the Pontiac Funders Collaborative launched an impact initiative that will ensure a collaborative and community-driven approach to the future.
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In close partnership with local government and nonprofit organizations, a cohort of funders has been working to support a collective plan to help strengthen Pontiac’s ability to thrive. 

Pontiac, a city of approximately 60,000 residents, is home to a significant network of leaders, nonprofits, business owners and residents who have long been working to enact positive social and economic change. Building on its rich history as a manufacturing center, its vibrant historic downtown and residential neighborhoods, and the presence of major employers and nearby educational institutions, Pontiac is poised to strengthen its legacy as a great place to live and as a vital city to Southeast Michigan’s culture and economy.

In recognition of this, a cohort of funders began working in close partnership with local government and nonprofit organizations to support a collective plan to help strengthen Pontiac’s ability to thrive.

Initial funders for the Pontiac Funders Collaborative:
  • Ballmer Group
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Flagstar Bank Foundation
  • General Motors
  • New Economy Initiative
  • The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation
  • Tauber Family Foundation
  • The William Davidson Foundation
  • Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation

This effort has included the initial and ongoing convenings of a cross section of 40 leaders from Pontiac to chart the direction of this work, which will grow community wide in the years ahead.

Capacity Building Grants:
Nonprofit Organizational and Leadership Development

Nonprofit organizations with a myriad of missions are continuing their service to the Pontiac community during this COVID-19 crisis.  The Pontiac Funders Collaborative seeks to help nonprofit organizations build the capacity of their leadership, as well as improve the effectiveness of function to ensure organizational sustainability. Capacity grants totaling $100,000 were awarded in 2020 to support 16 nonprofit organizations in the community to further strengthen the ability of it these organizations to do more together for the good of Pontiac residents.

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Small Business Relief Fund Grants

Pontiac is known for the diversity of its small businesses that support the people and economy of the city.  During the COVID crisis, business of all types struggle to exist, let alone thrive.  The Pontiac Funders Collaborative is committed to supporting existing small businesses to keep their doors open and be available for the needs of Pontiac residents.

Small business grants for operating expenses totaling $200,000 were provided to 56 businesses with 10 employees or less to help counter the impact of the COVID crisis.

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Emergency COVID-19 Grants

When COVID-19 first hit, the Pontiac Funders Collaborative responded to the burden this crisis has placed on Pontiac’s critical human services organizations. Emergency grants totaling $150,000 were provided to key human service efforts in the community. Since we are all operating in a medical crisis in the community, we will continue to monitor the situation and to determine emergency needs.

Welcome to Freyja Harris, Project Director, Pontiac Funders Collaborative

Freyja Harris

Freyja Harris

Freyja Harris has been hired Project Director, Pontiac Funders Collaborative. Through this new position at the Community Foundation, Freyja will provide leadership, management and guidance in support of this place-based initiative for a three-year period.

She joins the effort having worked as Chief Administrative Officer for the Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and DEI for University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and Senior Program Officer for the Max M. and Marjorie Fisher Foundation among other positions. Freyja has a JD from the Wayne State School of Law, an MPA and Master of Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Florida.

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Freyja Harris

Questions? Feel free to contact

Freyja Harris

Director, Pontiac Funders’ Collaborative and DEI Advisor