The shutdown of schools and businesses due to the pandemic presented new challenges for the community, especially those already made vulnerable by systemic racism and inequities.
"Urgent and increased community need, particularly among Black and Brown communities, led us to adapt our approach to traditional grantmaking," said Sandy Barry-Loken, senior Community Investment officer at KZCF. "The Community Urgent Relief Fund (CURF) exists to help respond quickly and efficiently when the community is facing a crisis and when a crisis inevitably arises in the future."
In partnership with United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR), KZCF was able to distribute 95 relief grants totaling more than $2.4 million to local nonprofits working overtime to meet the needs of individuals and families in Kalamazoo County. These grants supported nonprofits as they navigated the unique challenges presented by the pandemic. Grants provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies for organizations like shelters and senior living centers serving community members facing increased risk. Funds also helped provide nonprofits the remote technology needed to keep their operations running during this critical time.
Although KZCF and UWBCKR concluded joint crisis relief grantmaking in mid-June, a minimal balance will be maintained in preparation for the next time the community may need a coordinated emergency funding response.
If you’re interested in continuing to support your community, connect with one of our Donor Relations officers or consider making a gift to our Love Where You Live Funds.

This article was featured in the latest issue of our UPDATE newsletter.
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