Meeting Needs in our Community

People wishing to support local relief efforts may direct gifts to our Essential Needs Fund. Since March 2020, generous gifts have helped us provide important support to our nonprofit partners that are providing emergency relief to families and individuals in need, and to those partners experiencing financial hardship in their operations due to COVID-19.

Grants Awarded as of July 6, 2020: Total $181,500

  • Bay Bluffs Emmet County Medical Facility – $5,000 to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect residents and staff
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue
  • Blissfest Music Organization – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue
  • Brave Hearts Estate – $2,500 for operational support to pay caregivers of property
  • Camp Daggett – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue from venue rentals and golf outing
  • Char-Em United Way – $5,000 for initial support for the Char-Em COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
  • Charlevoix Area Community Pool – $4,000 for operational support due to lost revenue
  • Christ Child Society of N MI – $5,000 to provide grocery store gift cards to families in need
  • Crooked Tree Arts Center – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue
  • CrossHatch Center for Arts & Ecology – $2,500 for its artist relief fund for Emmet County
  • Dental Clinics North – Harbor Springs/Petoskey location – $5,000 to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Great Lakes Center for the Arts – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue
  • Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra – $5,000 to provide operational support due to lost revenue due to COVID-19 impacts
  • Harbor Hall – $5,000 to purchase PPE and technology to accommodate telemedicine
  • HARBOR, Inc. – $5,000 to provide operational support to cover expenses of The Loft
  • Health Department of Northwest Michigan – $3,000 to support Share a Smile, Not a Toothbrush Project; partnership with schools and senior populations
  • Health Department of Northwest Michigan – $5,000 to support school-based health centers facing lost revenue
  • Little Traverse Bay Humane Society – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue, in support of foster dogs
  • Little Traverse Civic Theatre – $3,000 for operational support due to lost revenue from cancelled performances
  • Manna Food Project – $5,000 to provide food assistance to families and individuals in need
  • Manna Food Project – $5,000 to provide support for local food pantries in Emmet County
  • McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation – $5,000 to purchase Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) for healthcare workers
  • North Central Michigan College Foundation – $5,000 to support the student relief fund that provides emergency relief for students in need
  • Northern Community Mediation – $3,000 to provide operational support due to lost revenue and to enable NCM to purchase equipment transition to virtual services
  • Northern Family Intervention Services – $1000 to purchase laptop and PPE to support virtual client meetings
  • Northern Homes CDC – $3,000 to provide rental assistance for low income residents at Maple Village Apartments
  • Northern Michigan Equine Therapy – $5,000 for operational support to care for horses and maintain facility
  • Northwest Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness – $5,000 to shelter vulnerable homeless people to protect against COVID-19
  • Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency – $5,000 to provide basic needs support for clients who live at 200 percent or below of poverty level
  • Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity – $5,000 for operational support for staff salaries due to lost revenue
  • Pellston Public Schools Food Service – $5,000 to purchase items needed to package to-go lunches
  • Planned Parenthood of Michigan – $5,000 for operational support for Petoskey clinic
  • Presbyterian Villages of MI – Perry Farm/Village of Hillside – $4,500 to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectants
  • Raven Hill Discovery Center – $5,000 for operational support to care for animals and continue essential operations
  • Salvation Army – $5,000 to deliver services to meet the urgent needs of clients
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council – $5,000 for operational support due to lost state and federal grant revenue
  • Top of Michigan Trails Council – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue and increased demand
  • Voices Without Borders – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue and lost deposit for cancelled Carnegie Hall performance
  • Women’s Resource Center – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue
  • YMCA of Northern Michigan – $5,000 for operational support due to lost revenue

History of the Essential Needs Fund

At first glance, Emmet County is a vision of success. Picturesque views of Little Traverse Bay are dotted with lakefront homes and happy vacationers fill our streets. But appearances can be deceiving, as many residents here struggle to meet their basic needs.

Nearly 40 percent* of Emmet County residents either live in poverty or are a paycheck away from experiencing hardship. Families are too often forced to choose between paying rent or their utility bill; buying gas to get to work or food to feed their family. In addition, our aging population means many older adults are on fixed incomes without room for extra expenses. An unexpected medical bill or car trouble that would be an inconvenience to some can create a crisis situation for many of our neighbors.

In 2013, the Community Foundation began awarding grants to five health and human service organizations so they could establish and maintain “essential need” dollars for times when their clients need important and quick assistance. On average, 40 families receive assistance through these funds annually, with the typical amount of support being approximately $150. These are critical dollars and serve as a lifeline for clients.

In 2016, the Community Foundation board voted to establish a permanent fund, the Essential Needs Fund, to continue this important funding in a sustainable way. Thanks to leadership from our board of directors, the fund is well on its way to making a meaningful impact for families and individuals in Emmet County.

Even as the COVID-19 crisis impacting our community in 2020, this fund’s original purpose remains to support our health and human service partner organizations. The fund will continue to support these partners and the individuals and families they serve through the income from the endowment. No past or current donations to the endowment are being used for the current COVID-19 relief efforts. 

If you are interested in ensuring a permanent source of charitable funds by making a gift to the endowed portion of the Essential Needs Fund, please contact the Community Foundation staff and we will gladly assist you. 

* According to the 2017 United Way ALICE Project Report, www.ceuw.org/alice