Published in Economic Development

Foundations partner for Mason County coronavirus relief fund

BY MIBIZ STAFF Thursday, March 26, 2020 02:21pm

A series of foundations have partnered to create a relief fund for Mason County organizations serving on the “front line” of efforts to mitigate effects of the coronavirus.

The Community Foundation of Mason County along with the United Way of Mason County and Pennies from Heaven Foundation today announced the new relief fund, which includes seed money from Meijer and the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The funds will be directed to organizations “on the front line serving the Mason County community,” according to the announcement.

More than 5,400 households — in excess of 45 percent — in Mason County “struggle to meet their basic needs. For many, one small setback can lead to a major financial hardship, especially a prolonged crisis like we are faced with right now,” Lynne Russell, executive director of United Way of Mason County, said in a statement. “We’re committed to doing all we can to help those who need it the most.”

According to the Michigan Association of United Ways, 43 percent of Michigan households in 2017 were considered Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE), a measure of the so-called working poor. As the coronavirus fallout worsens, the United Way has set up a free confidential 2-1-1 hotline to service people in need. With seven call centers around Michigan, the service provides immediate assistance with housing, utilities, health care and other needs.

COVID-19 relief funds have been set up through the United Way and local partners across the U.S.

“The funds will allow us to rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations offering emergency relief to families and individuals in need,” Michigan Association of United Ways president and CEO Mike Larson wrote in an op-ed this week.

Online donations to the Mason County fund can be made here.

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