GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids announced on Monday that it would invest $66,970 in Neighborhood Match Fund projects designed to focus on COVID-19 resident and community resiliency and support public health guidelines and executive orders around safety practices such as physical distancing and face masks.
Through the Neighborhood Match Fund (NMF), the City will invest in 10 contracts with resident leaders for approved proposals.
Each NMF project is led or co-led by a Grand Rapids resident. Submitted project proposals were reviewed for completeness and alignment to NMF objectives and COVID-19 resiliency priorities.
These proposals will address wellness, safety and/or basic needs for Grand Rapids residents who, due to structural inequities, are most vulnerable to exposure and/or negative economic impact related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contracts were awarded to:
- Baxter Community Center’s Threads program to make reusable masks for distribution at the center’s food pantry and other food sites
- Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network to provide food and basic needs support to residents who are the most vulnerable during COVID-19
- Rising Grinds Café to support local business owners not receiving recovery funds by hiring local youth to write them a handwritten note of encouragement accompanied by a homecooked meals and information on business recovery resources
- Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association to produce a series of bilingual – English and Spanish – videos on wellness and community resources
- Our Kitchen Table to serve households with children in pre-kindergarten to first grade through an online platform that includes phone conferencing about gardening strategies for extending their food supply and conversations with a registered dietician about the food they have available and how it can be prepared
- Urban Core Collective to ensure black and Latinx community members have access to personal protective equipment
- Anishinaabe Circle to provide a virtual wellness workshop for Native American teens in middle and high school and essential needs care packages to Native American households that include traditional medicines and teachings
- Madison Food Mobile Pantry for door drop-off services to provide residents with food, information and possible resources to help meet their other basic needs
- Grand Rapids African American Community Task Force to gather existing data from multiple sources and compile them into one comprehensive report with added historical context on outcomes for African Americans in Grand Rapids as a baseline project to build upon for future community organizing
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Eta Nu Lambda Chapter to facilitate mobile panel discussions led by local health professionals on ways to stop the spread of COVID-19, make reusable masks, handle masks and other topics related to wellness and prevention. Hand sanitizer and reusable masks also will be distributed to community.
The City will accept project ideas for the next round of NMF funding June 1-30. Grand Rapids residents and community-based organizations may apply here. Approved projects need to take place in Grand Rapids between Sept. 1 and Feb. 28.