As COVID-19 and civil unrest gripped the nation, the Steelcase Foundation shifted some of its grantmaking strategies to provide rapid-response funding to quickly support nonprofits in our community. We continue to review applications weekly and have so far made the following grants:
- $250,000 to Heart of West Michigan United Way’s Coronavirus Response Fund, which provided emergency grants to local nonprofits within 48 hours of the request, and has awarded over $3.1 million to 134 nonprofits providing direct service to those in need.
- $50,000 to Family Promise of Grand Rapids to provide emergency shelter through hotel rooms for approximately 60 families each night through November 1 to comply with COVID-19 safety restrictions.
- $10,000 to Rapid Growth Media (through the Grand Rapids Community Foundation) to highlight the stories of those most affected by COVID-19, especially low-opportunity individuals and individuals of color, sharing both stories of those affected as well as ongoing relief and recovery efforts.
- $50,000 to the Greater Grand Rapids Chamber Foundation to provide short-term support for small businesses in need, with a preference for minority-owned businesses and those serving under-resourced communities, as well as those ineligible for state or federal support or who encountered barriers to navigating other systems for support in a timely manner. Through the fund GGRCF awarded over $1.3 million to 211 businesses.
- $50,000 to Grand Rapids Public Schools to provide technology and internet access to the district’s 15,000 students during the spring emergency shut down, and subsequent remote start in the fall, to ensure no student experiences learning losses due to a lack of resources at home.
- $10,000 to SLD Read to bring one-on-one tutoring support online to students with dyslexia and other learning differences during and after emergency closures.
- $2,500 to Local Impact to support the 40 percent increase in demand for grocery delivery services and food insecurity support in northern Kent County as a result of COVID-19.
While these efforts are small when compared to community needs, we hope they provide some comfort to families in crisis during this time.