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$500k grant to United Way COVID-19 Fund among our initial efforts to support families, nonprofits

The Skillman Foundation has contributed $500,000 to United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Community Response Fund to help families weather hardships during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.

The Community Response Fund will be used for a multitude of efforts to help individuals who become sick as well as those who are affected by business and school closures, including:

  • Food distribution to students affected by school closures and other vulnerable populations that are isolated or lack access
  • Availability of shelter beds for people experiencing homelessness who do not have the resources needed to stay safe
  • Operational funding gaps for health and human service agencies
  • Loss of income and access to services for vulnerable populations 
  • Supporting college students who face barriers as they complete their education

“As a trusted community partner, we want the region to be able to respond quickly and smartly—and don’t believe money should be a barrier to our community’s ability to take care of itself. It is important that our city and region has flexible resources to respond to emerging needs, particularly of our most vulnerable,” says Skillman Foundation President & CEO Tonya Allen.

“To best support children, families, and the organizations that serve them during this extraordinarily challenging time, we’re looking to work in lockstep with others. United Way’s network of resource providers, and the infrastructure to connect community members to them, has been a steady source for emergency assistance in southeast Michigan,” she says.  

“This grant is one of several actions The Skillman Foundation is taking in response to COVID-19,” says Punita Dani Thurman, vice president of program and strategy. “To date, we have provided our grant partners with the flexibility to convert up to 25% of their grant funding to general operational support to help them respond to urgent needs of the community and of their staff. We’re also offering grant partners time with our HR and legal consultants to help them navigate emerging workplace issues related to COVID-19 and we are virtually convening our partners to open ongoing shared dialogue about developing needs and resources.”

“We are trying to be responsive and understanding that there will be short- and longer-term impacts for our nonprofit partners and kids and families,” says Punita. “Working in solidarity and alignment with others to best serve the community and being of increased support to our grant partners underlies these efforts. Updates regarding additional grant awards for youth-serving organizations working on the frontline during this crisis is forthcoming.”

The Skillman Foundation

A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.

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