A Community Coalition

A community coalition comprised of Greater Ottawa County United Way (GOCUW), the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation , the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Community Spoke, and the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area was created on March 14 to provide  a COMMUNITY COLLABORATIVE RESPONSE to the COVID-19 Crisis, and has been monitoring ongoing developments surrounding COVID-19, as well as proactively working to assist with the increasing needs of our community.   The coalition launched careottawacounty.com to keep the public informed of how they can help through giving financially, donating goods, and volunteering.


United Way serves as the volunteer hub for the County of Ottawa Emergency Operations Center.  We worked with local agencies and units of government to determine needs and fill them quickly.  As of this article, United Way has mobilized over 360 volunteers for needs such as boxing food, delivering meals, boxing food, fetching and delivering prescriptions, conducting well-checks and other essentials fro older adults and other vulnerable populations that can't or shouldn't leave their homes.  Read Misty's story of volunteerism here https://bit.ly/2VEdS5W 

Emergency human neeDs fund

The coalition worked together to raise funds for the joint EMERGENCY HUMAN NEEDS FUND, with GHACF taking the role of fiduciary. together, we were able to provide over 100 emergency grants totalling over $850,000 (and counting) to nonprofit organizations that are helping the most vulnerable in our community in this time of crisis.  Thank you to all the invividuals and businesses that made these grants possible.  A full list of grants can be viewed at  www.careottawacounty.com/en/donate

the next Phase

The COVID-19 community response was amazing, but we can't stay in emergency mode forever.  On May 20, the coalition partners will continue to work together through the careottawacounty.com website, and will continue to collaborate on community needs, but will transition from the Emergency Human Needs Fund to individual funds targeted at each organizations specific role for the recovery phase. 

United Way will be launching the COMMUNITY RECOVERY CAMPAIGN on May 20th;

  • As Michigan begins to look forward to recovering from COVID-19, we are looking ahead to the ongoing physical, emotional and economic impact that the crisis will have on our most vulnerable community members, and the nonprofit services that they need.

  • Our research shows a very big gap between the need, and the current capacity to fill that gap.  Opening Ottawa County up for business is not the end of the crisis for the hardworking families in Ottawa County.

  • The Community Recovery Fund will help fill the gaps over the next 4 months by investing in the services most needed by our clients.  Prior to the crisis, our services touched more than 65,000 in our community, and we expect that the ripples of COVID will double the number that need ongoing support.

  • This is a difficult time for our community and partners like you help us all be strong, remain hopeful, and build back towards ‘normal’.

Click here to learn more about the United Way Community Recovery Campaign