Community Response and Recovery Fund created to assist non-profits impacted by COVID-19 crisis

Oakland County Executive David Coulter on Thursday unveiled a $10 million Oakland Together Community Response and Recovery Fund to help non-profit organizations resume services that were severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The fund will make grants from up to $50,000 and up to $500,000 available to non-profits that provide vital services such as food, shelter, health care and financial assistance to Oakland County residents. It will be administered by United Way for Southeastern Michigan. Grant applications will bw accepted until June 16 at https://unitedwaysem.org/OaklandTogether.

“We are keenly aware the widespread impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our communities, our businesses and the non-profit organizations that provide a lifeline of critical support and services to our residents,” Coulter said. “The need is profound and immediate and will only grow in scope and severity. I’m grateful to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and its president and CEO, Dr. Darienne Hudson, for partnering with us to get this program moving quickly and efficiently.”

Hudson said the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which has a long and rich history of serving the needs of the community, is proud to partner with the county to ensure the grants are spent as effectively as possible to help people in need.

"We are grateful for the leadership of Executive Coulter, Chairman (David) Woodward, and the county board of commissioners throughout this crisis,” Hudson said. “We look forward to working together to ensure families have the support and resources necessary to weather this challenging time."

The Community Response Recovery Fund is the latest initiative from Coulter and the board to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus on the economy and county residents.

Coulter has aggressively supported small businesses through the allocation of nearly $14 million to 3,500 small businesses seriously impacted by the pandemic through the county’s small business stabilization grant, which includes the “Saving Businesses, Saving Lives” grants. The average grant award was nearly $4,000.

The county also created and is distributing 10,000 “Oakland Together” COVID-19 safety toolkits which include facemasks, no-touch thermometers, gloves and sanitizer to give small businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations essential materials for reopening and customers confidence they will have a safe experience.

Applicants for the Community Response and Recovery Fund must be based in Oakland County or provide services to county residents and be a 501(c)(3) organization. Grants must be used for costs incurred by Dec. 30, 2020 and ensure operational continuity and expansion to meet growing demand for support services throughout the county.

The grants will support community non-profits that have been negatively impacted by the shutdown and need assistance re-opening safely under new protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state and the Oakland County Health Division. Highest priority will be placed on organizations that support the basic needs of county residents. The needs may include food, housing, health care (including both physical and behavioral) or financial assistance.

There are three funding tiers:

• Operational Grants up to $50,000 for direct COVID-19 related expenses and to maintain existing operations during the pandemic.

• Enhanced Operating Grants up to $100,000 for COVID-19 related expenses, those to comply with health orders and new protocols and seek funds to maintain and expand operations to meet growing demand.

• Community Service Grants up to $500,000 to provide service to vulnerable populations and to combat secondary effects of the pandemic. The organization must have an annual operating budget of at least $5 million, reach clients throughout Oakland County, provide services to an expanded population and can demonstrate the ability to deploy the larger amount of funds requested within the spending period.

Funding priorities include:

• Organizations on the frontlines of emergency assistance during the pandemic.

• Organizations that address critical needs or serve a vulnerable population.

• Organizations providing economic support to individuals or families suffering from employment or business interruptions due to coronavirus-related business closures.

• Direct assistance may include utilities, prescriptions, rent, virtual learning, understanding public health orders and safety protocols, financial counseling.

• Organizations that have a long-standing track record in the community.

• Organizations that have not received federal, state, county, foundation or philanthropic support sufficient to continue providing service in the community.

There should be no duplicative funding for the same services provided.

A live seminar will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. on June 12 to answer questions about the program. To access the seminar, visit https://unitedwaysem.org/OaklandTogether.

Questions also may be submitted to: OaklandCOVIDFund@UnitedWaySEM.org.

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