In less than one week, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) met a $15,000 match challenge initiated by the Richard G. Tomlinson Family Fund. On March 27, the Tomlinson Family Fund initiated a match challenge to help KZCF raise more money for families and individuals impacted by COVID-19. The Tomlinson family agreed to match gifts dollar-for-dollar to KZCF's Community Urgent Relief Fund up to $15,000.

Donations, large and small, rolled in. By April 2 -- just six days after the challenge was issued to the community -- the $15,000 match was exceeded.

"The fact that we met and exceeded the match challenge so quickly captures the spirit of collective power and compassion in our community," said Joanna Donnelly Dales, vice president of Donor Relations at KZCF. "We are inspired by the gifts made to the fund and appreciate the Tomlinson family for energizing our community with their generosity."

Earlier this month, KZCF activated its Community Urgent Relief Fund, in partnership with United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR), to support nonprofits on the front lines during the pandemic. Since then, many donations have come in from those eager to support their community.

One of the contributions came from the Richard G. Tomlinson Family Fund, a donor advised fund held at KZCF. The fund, created by Richard Tomlinson in 1998, is now advised by his wife, Kathie, and three sons, Bill, Steve and Charlie. Charlie says Richard -- known as "pop" to his sons -- was always dedicated and disciplined about philanthropy which shaped their passion for supporting community. Richard passed away in January 2016.

"Thank you Kalamazoo for stepping up and meeting the challenge," Charlie said. "Pop would have been proud and our family is deeply appreciative of this community’s capacity to support one another during this unprecedented time."

Nonprofit partners who have received relief grants from KZCF's Community Urgent Relief Fund and UWBCR's Disaster Relief Fund include:
  • Senior Services - Supports Senior Services in providing meals to home bound seniors, technical tools for nursing staff and teleconferencing to coordinate staff and volunteer services.
  • South Michigan Food Bank - Supports efforts in purchasing and distributing food to people who do not have access to food.
  • St. Luke's Episcopal Church Diaper Bank - Supports the Diaper Bank in meeting growing demands for diapers through purchasing additional diapers, repacking supplies and cleaning supplies.
  • Ministry with Community - Supports Ministry with Community staff housing, day shelter needs and transportation.
  • South County Community Services - Supports South County Community Services' staff capacity to work from home, mileage reimbursement for food deliveries and general outreach, and direct assistance to clients for transportation, housing, utilities and food.
  • Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes - Supports purchasing more food, program supplies and also paying staff.
  • Christian Neighbors - Supports purchase of additional food for families who are struggling due to shelter-in-home executive order and/or loss of income.
  • Disability Network of Southwest Michigan - Supports purchase of video conferencing technology tools to remotely interface with staff, clients and volunteers. This allowed Disability Network to serve both Kalamazoo County and Battle Creek more effectively.
  • Guardian Finance & Advocacy Services - Supports resources to sanitize their offices and building out capacity for 75 percent of their staff to work from home.
  • Community Healing Centers - Supports overtime pay for staff at the Gilmore Treatment Center that provides shelter and support for clients in recovery.
  • Kalamazoo Gospel Mission - Supports the continued operations of the shelter especially staff wages, cleaning supplies, personal care items for clients and food service supplies such as to-go containers, plastic silverware, napkins for sanitation purposes.
  • InterAct - Supports technology enhancements for working remotely and maintaining communications with clients.
  • El Concilio - Supports basic needs for undocumented Latinx families and launch a 2-1-1 line in partnership with Gryphon Place for Spanish speakers with dedicated staff.
  • HOPE thru Navigation - Supports basic needs for individuals with previous convictions and substance abuse disorder.
  • Comstock Community Center - Supports stocking the food pantry and delivery of food to the most vulnerable community members in Comstock.
  • Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services - Supports housing for homeless individuals identified as needing quarantine at a local hotel.
  • Kalamazoo Continuum of Care - Supports hand washing stations and portable restrooms in public spaces for the homeless.
  • African Community Kalamazoo - Supports purchase of food, diapers, water, gas cards for food supply delivery to African immigrant families.
  • Kalamazoo Collective Housing - Supports purchase of food and other essential items for 28 low-income individuals living in KCH housing program.
  • Open Doors - Supports rental assistance, food, transportation and increased WiFi bandwidth for residents and shelter guests.
  • National Church Residences Foundation - Supports purchase of food, paper products, medications, medical and cleaning supplies for the seniors living at Spring Valley Crossing.
  • Kalamazoo Literacy Council - Supports technology access for adult learners to assist in completing unemployment applications, connecting them to community resources for basic needs such as food and childcare, completing the 2020 Census and continue learning as well as tutoring services for those who are interested.
  • Housing Resources Inc. - Supports improved technology capacity to allow HRI staff to work from home.
  • Heritage Community of Kalamazoo - Supports building and staffing an 18-bed isolation unit, increased Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and stipends and hazard pay for staff.
  • Intrepid Professional Women Network - Supports technology capacity to coordinate remote support for clients and self-care packages.
  • Integrated Services Kalamazoo - Supports staffing, supplies and operations for hotel isolation/quarantine site for homeless individuals who have no place to quarantine.
Relief grants continue to be awarded to various nonprofits weekly. For more information or to make a gift to the Community Urgent Relief Fund, visit