KZCF recently checked in with several nonprofits who received grants from the Love Where You Live (LWYL) funds early in 2018. LWYL funds are fueled by unrestricted gifts and offer a variety of donor options. These funds support grants that align with KZCF’s focus on equity and education, for a community where every person can reach full potential.

Giving to one of these LWYL funds is a great way to impact your whole community by fueling the capacity of area nonprofits to address both immediate and long-term needs. Give online today or speak to one of our Donor Relations team members at

Click here to read the full issue of our latest Update newsletter as a digital magazine where this article was featured.

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Greatest Needs Fund

Community Promise Federal Credit Union (CPFCU) received a grant to meet the growing needs and demand for services of low-income residents who have limited access to financial counsel and support.

"Thanks to community support, our idea of founding a credit union that would serve Kalamazoo residents that lack financial services has been a success," says board chair Jim Houston. "We’ve been able to assist many low-income residents in achieving financial independence instead of turning to payday lenders, rent-to-own businesses and other predators. It is through our common mission that we look forward to future community collaborations."

CPFCU Photo Courtesy of Encore magazine / Brian Powers

Individuals & Families Fund

Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan received a grant for its Pathways to Equity program, supporting low-income families as they strive to disrupt the intergenerational cycle of poverty and reach greater self-sufficiency and prosperity.

"Our unique 20-year program provides intensive life coaching based on a strong relational foundation to low-income families as they strive to exit poverty," says John Dillworth, president and CEO. "The Pathways to Equity II Project funds have allowed us to ?expand The Life Guides ?program and offer customized, culturally relevant services to Hispanic/Latino families in Kalamazoo County."

Youth Development Fund

City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation Department’s "Super Rec" Program offers a drop-in type summer program for youth age 6 to 12 who might not otherwise have safe, supervised and structured summer activities. Capacity to underserved neighborhoods and individuals has been increased, along with improved programming quality.

"Our Super Rec program provides free child care in an outdoor environment —weather permitting — that allows parents the opportunity for self-improvement, seeking employment or working more hours while not paying child care," says Parks and Recreation Director Sean Fletcher. "Last year, a parent indicated that she was able to pay a past-due electric bill because of our program, which she took great pride in."

Education & Learning Fund

Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC) received a multi-year grant for its Everyone Needs to Read Adult Literacy Initiative, supporting general operations for this volunteer-led, staff-supported organization. The grant will increase the literacy rate for adults in Kalamazoo County through the establishment of 14 Community Literacy Centers and 30 service delivery locations that deploy 200-plus volunteer tutors throughout the community.

"This grant will strengthen the growing campus of Community Literacy Centers that provide instruction in areas such as parent literacy, health literacy, workforce literacy and English as a Second Language," says Michael Evans, executive director. "It’s also providing support for more than 200 volunteers who are serving more than 700 adults who want to improve their literacy and language skills."

Economic & Community Development Fund

Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services (KNHS) received a grant that is empowering low- and moderate-income households — who are under-served by real estate and lending professionals — to achieve and sustain home ownership. KNHS programming targets vulnerable core neighborhoods including Eastside, Edison, Fairmont/Douglass, Northside, Stuart and Vine.

"Low-income households, especially those moving out of generational poverty, face many challenges in becoming homeowners," says Matt Lager, executive director, "Be it cleaning up credit mistakes, learning new money habits, preparing for the complexities and new expenses of ownership, or navigating unfamiliar financial transactions. Home ownership results not only in greater financial stability and a path to building assets and resilience, but new opportunities for community participation. Strong homeowners are essential for strong neighborhoods."

Housing Fund

Community Homeworks received its grant to help with three core programs: critical home repair, weatherization and homeowner education. Their program operates on a family co-pay (based on income) and is reserved for those whose income falls below 80 percent of the area median income. The grant supports vulnerable families (averaging $24,000 annual income) to address home issues that would otherwise not be addressed due to the household’s survival priorities.

"This grant has helped many of our families cut their utility cost in half through energy efficiencies," says Rebekah Fennell, executive director. "For many, that’s like a 6 to 12 percent raise. As our mission implies, Community Homeworks empowers our neighbors to maintain safe, healthy and sustainable homes. We envision a community transformed by thriving families in sustainable homes, and every day we work to do just that."

Environment Fund

Oshtemo Township received ?a grant for prairie restoration and interpretive signs at Drake Farmstead Park for environmental protection, economic development and education. The park is easily accessible to a high population of low-income residents and ?will include interpretive information on the Potawatomi people who spent summers here.

"This grant has made a huge impact in our community," says Township Supervisor Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell. "We’re reconstructing five acres of prairie that will be a highlight of our new community park. Filled with native wildflowers and grasses that attract birds, bees and other pollinators, it will be a wonderful asset for people and nature."

Health Fund

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed) received a grant to create a more inclusive healthcare environment, specifically addressing health disparities in the transgender patient community. An innovative curriculum will help undergrads, graduate residents in primary care training and practicing medical providers address these healthcare needs. Meanwhile, WMed will conduct anti-bias training for each department as a part ?of its strategic plan for 2018-2019.

"Grant support helped WMed develop an innovative, integrated longitudinal curriculum that will focus on LGBTQ population health, with primary focus on reducing health disparities seen in the transgender sub-population," says Cheryl Dickson, MD, MPH, associate dean of Health Equity and Community Affairs.

Click here to learn more about the Love Where You Live funds.

Click here to read the full issue of our latest Update newsletter as a digital magazine where this article was featured.