Date: May 9, 2024



Erika Whitehead


Tammy Mills

269.343.2524 ext. 115

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation and United Way of South Central Michigan Partner in Support of Tornado Relief Efforts

Kalamazoo, Mich. – United Way of South Central Michigan (UWSCMI) and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) will join Kalamazoo County emergency response teams in providing support to those affected by the May 7 tornadoes via joint crisis funding. These emergency grants, distributed through UWSCMI’s Disaster Relief Fund and KZCF’s Community Urgent Relief Fund, will be made to nonprofits and public entities providing critical recovery services to impacted individuals and households in Kalamazoo County.

“For those in the path of Tuesday’s tornadoes, the effects on their homes, businesses and jobs are devastating,” said Chris Sargent, President & Executive Officer of UWSCMI. “More importantly, people will feel the impact on their lives long after their immediate needs are met. Once again, United Way is pleased to collaborate with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation to bring our shared strengths to bear on the needs identified now and in the near future.”

Recognizing the scope and scale of community needs that emerge from these types of emergencies, UWSCMI’s Disaster Relief Fund and KZCF’s Community Urgent Relief Fund were established years ago to provide community members with the vital support they need. The funds were previously activated in tandem for emergency grantmaking during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, severe County-wide flooding in 2018 and Uber driver mass shooting incident in 2016.

UWSCMI and KZCF are working hand-in-hand with Gryphon Place and 2-1-1 to determine unmet community needs and coordinate the effective deployment of resources. To date, more than a dozen people have been injured by the storms, and reports of damage to residential and commercial buildings, particularly in Portage, have been significant.

“We recognize the devastation and subsequent uncertainty that some of our community members are facing today,” said Dr. Grace Lubwama, President & CEO of KZCF. “The aftermath of these storms offers us a sobering reminder of how quickly our lives can shift. It is during moments like these that I am grateful for the partnership of organizations like United Way of South Central Michigan because, together, we can activate our resources to provide critical support to those in our community who need it most.”

For those who wish to contribute to UWSCMI and KZCF’s crisis funding efforts, please click the links below to donate:

Anyone interested in volunteering with recovery efforts should register at

About United Way of South Central Michigan

United Way of South Central Michigan brings together the people, ideas and resources to lead with our communities and create a flourishing, equitable life for all. We are committed to addressing the most pressing social issues locally and regionally; championing equity, diversity and inclusion by embedding equity and antiracism throughout our work; and engaging partners in our communities to drive lasting impact. We envision strong, caring communities where every person is valued, thriving and connected for the common good. Website:

About the Kalamazoo Community Foundation

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation, established in 1925, has the vision of Kalamazoo County being the most equitable place to live, with the mission to mobilize people, resources and expertise and to advance racial, social and economic justice. Learn more at