The Kent County Relief Fund, a rapid-response effort that began on March 27, 2020 and ran until May 19, 2020, provided more than 9,500 individuals and families in West Michigan each with a one-time cash payment of $500 to help those experiencing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund sought to provide immediate, short-term aid to neighbors until jobs restarted, government benefits took effect, or other relief resources became available. These funds empowered individuals to choose how to best use this money to support themselves and their families.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused devastation for thousands of people who live and work in Kent County, Michigan. Many have lost their jobs or experienced reduced hours and rely on a regular paycheck to afford necessities like shelter, food, transportation, baby products, and medicine.
To help, local donors and community-based nonprofits partnered with the Family Independence Initiative and the Stand Together Foundation to create a short-term fund to provide emergency cash relief to neighbors and families hardest hit by the pandemic. Specifically, individuals who live or work in Kent County, who experienced job loss or reduced hours of work, and whose household earns $50,000 or less per year were able to each receive $500.
households have received emergency cash relief
total given to residents
Stories from our neighbors
“It allowed me to provide food for them to eat during this crisis and this is a blessing.”
“I was able to pay a part of my rent with the funds and able to buy toiletries and hygienic products with the rest for myself and my two kids.”
“As a single mother, this gift lifted a huge weight off my shoulders, and during all this, it has given me peace of mind and sense of hope.”
“I am beyond thankful and grateful!”
We believe in people and families. We believe in you.
Who did the fund invest in and empower?
The Kent County Relief Fund deployed emergency cash relief to people most affected by COVID-19, including those who live or work in Kent County and experienced a job loss or reduced hours of work.
74% of relief fund recipients identified as a person of color
67% of recipients identified as female
Median household income was $12.70/hour
The fund empowered people through cash transfers because we believe individuals and families know what they need. Recipients could use the money for their most pressing needs—such as childcare, the electric bill, food, or internet access for schooling.
Top 3 Uses of Funds
|Rent & Housing|
|Food & Groceries|
Who was eligible for the fund?
Households who met the following criteria were eligible to apply for the Kent County Relief Fund:
- Live or work in Kent County, Michigan, and 18 years of age or older
- Laid off or experienced at least a 50% reduction in work hours since March 1, 2020
- Household income was less than or equal to $50,000 per year
Funds were limited and intended to provide short-term relief until other local and national relief efforts became available. Applications were processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
We are in this together.
Nonprofit Partners and Supporters
The Kent County Relief Fund was established in partnership with more than 20 local and national nonprofits and congregations that continue to provide assistance by meeting the essential needs of our most impacted individuals and families, including shelter, food, and health care. While the fund is closed, the work of these nonprofits and congregations continues.
The Kent County Relief Fund was generously supported by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, the CDV5 Foundation, and the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation in partnership with the Family Independence Initiative and the Stand Together Foundation.