Nonprofits encouraged to apply for $35M fund to help more Michiganders make ends meet

MI Nonprofit Relief Fund supports small charitable nonprofits facing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic 

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s nonprofits who are struggling with the negative impacts and hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic can now take the first step to receive much needed funding from the $35 million MI Nonprofit Relief Fund for serving their hard-hit communities.

The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) today announced the launch of the “intent to apply” phase for the relief fund, which is focused on assisting small charitable nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits can fill out the intent to apply at MiNonprofitRelief.org. MNA membership is not required to apply.

The bipartisan relief program was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part of FY23 budget and program funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds awarded to the State of Michigan as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The relief fund, designed for small nonprofits, is part of a two-part grant program. An additional $15 million in grants will be available to larger nonprofits later this year.

“Michigan’s nonprofits uplift communities, create jobs, and make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Gov. Whitmer. “The Michigan Nonprofit Relief Fund will ensure eligible nonprofits have the resources they need to continue providing critical services that lift Michiganders out of poverty and support regions across our state. We are committed to building a brighter future for Michigan by removing barriers to economic prosperity and ensuring residents can thrive.” 

MNA and LEO have partnered to design the grant program and select grantees as well as manage the application portal and award payments. To be eligible for this funding, organizations must be a Michigan-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a fiscally sponsored project by a 501(c)(3).

“These relief funds, which MNA tirelessly advocated for on behalf of Michigan nonprofits, are a lifeline for those who are most in need across the state,” said MNA President and CEO Kelley Kuhn. “We will continue to advocate for nonprofits, while also ensuring that the program is consistent with federal and state requirements.”

“LEO is excited to partner with the MNA to strengthen Michigan’s nonprofit ecosystem and deliver on our mission to close equity gaps within the state,” said Susan Corbin, Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “We will prioritize partnerships with nonprofits who share the state’s commitment to educating Michiganders, providing services to lift residents out of poverty and removing barriers to employment and economic prosperity.”

The $35 million MI Nonprofit Relief Fund, which is being administered by MNA, is designed to provide aid and recovery to nonprofits with annual revenues of less than $1 million that can demonstrate necessary expenditures and/or losses incurred after March 3, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small nonprofits could receive one-time grant funds from $5,000 to $25,000 in Spring/Summer 2023 to continue or expand their services to areas hit the hardest by COVID-19 and to populations that are underserved and underrepresented. The impact of the ongoing pandemic has been particularly hard on nonprofits located in rural areas and those led by, and serving, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

“The number of individuals/families being served is higher than pre-pandemic at some organizations and nearing the level at the height of the pandemic,” said Shannon Blackmon-Gardner, Vice President of Community Impact, Heart of West Michigan United Way. “As Michiganders are feeling the impact of inflation on food prices and other household essentials, the MNA is taking action to address disparities and inequities that exist in certain regions of our state. I encourage all nonprofits to apply for the relief program.”

The initial “intent to apply” short online form is estimated to take no more than 10 minutes to complete and includes basic yes-or-no questions to assess the nonprofit’s needs. The second phase of the application process for small nonprofits, estimated to launch March 22, will be a more detailed application.

An additional $15 million MI Nonprofit Impact Grant program will be administered by LEO and is designed for larger nonprofits to support programs that lift people out of poverty and above the ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained, Employed) threshold. This program is expected to launch in Spring 2023.

For further information, go to MiNonprofitRelief.org or email relieffund@mnaonline.org.

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP0127 awarded to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Development by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

ABOUT LEO:

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) provides the connections, expertise and innovative solutions to drive continued business growth, build vibrant communities, create affordable housing, generate tourism and attract and retain key talent to fill Michigan’s vast pipeline of opportunities. For more information about LEO, please visit www.michigan.gov/LEO.

ABOUT MNA: 

Michigan Nonprofit Association is a 501 c (3) founded in 1990 to serve the nonprofit sector through advocacy, training and resources. MNA is a statewide membership organization dedicated to promoting and supporting anti-racism and social justice in the nonprofit sector. For more information, visit www.mnaonline.org.