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News & Events

News & Event

AAACF Update: Week of 4/6-10/2020

As April has begun and the pandemic continues, we are going to issue regular weekly updates on our community responses and activities.

Data-Driven Responses

In 2015 AAACF’s Board and staff determined that the Foundation should become more data-driven in our grantmaking and community education. At our annual community meetings since then, we have shared data from our community to help us all to be more informed citizens and to shed insight on how AAACF makes grantmaking decisions. Although we have cancelled our May 4, 2020 gathering, we will continue to share important information through other vehicles, including these updates.

AAACF has been tracking national data showing ongoing health disparities and the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on communities of color. Despite the deep strength and resiliency of all our communities in Washtenaw County, these national health disparities are reflected locally. We are examining emerging local data, such as statistics from the Washtenaw County Health Department that track COVID-19 cases by both race and zip code, so that we can make well-informed decisions to maximize the impact of our grants as we move forward.

Collaborative Responses

The data call us to listen more deeply in community to inform additional grantmaking responses. We continue to engage leaders, networks, and institutions across Washtenaw County to understand where philanthropy can best address communities disproportionately affected by this pandemic.

In response to the data, we are engaging in more conversations with Ypsilanti-based institutions and leaders (including our Ypsilanti Area Community Fund affiliate) to understand where philanthropy can strengthen community-based efforts. We have always deployed significant resources in the 48197 and 48198 zip codes of Washtenaw County, and we expect that focus to continue.

In the same philosophy, more than 40 nonprofit leaders across the County gave us input on our half-million dollar Short-Term Cash Flow Loan Program before we launched it.

More broadly, AAACF continues to encourage individuals who want to respond to the crisis locally to support the United Way of Washtenaw County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. We also encouraged our donor advised funds to respond, and more than 30 (representing many more people!) have already contributed to this community response. By the end of this week, AAACF will have issued more than $139,000 to the Relief Fund!

Personalized Responses

When Amina Iqbal joined AAACF on February 24 as a Senior Community Investment Officer, she could not have envisioned how quickly her experience would be put into practice under urgent (and virtual!) circumstances. Amina brings the educational focus of both her bachelor’s and Master’s degrees to bear upon her work with community, just as she brings a breadth of experience to her role, having previously been Executive Director of Project Healthy Community and in director roles at the Michigan Muslim Community Council. AAACF’s active response to the COVID crisis has given Amina the immediate opportunity to actively engage with nonprofits and AAACF grantmaking committee members alike!

In our next edition, we will profile another pre-pandemic hire, Trista Van Tine, the new Director of the Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Fund (A2EF). We are also proceeding with filling two other previously planned staff positions to enhance our service to the community.

Thoughtful Responses

Because the pandemic has impacted young people and their families, we have decided to extend the nomination period of the 2020 Young Citizens of the Year Awards indefinitely. These awards recognize outstanding community service on the part of local high school students and will honor five students each with a $3,500 scholarship made possible by the Robert Bruce Dunlap Memorial Fund. Nominate an amazing young person in your life!

We welcome your continued responses to our efforts on behalf of the community. We have also provided a new page on AAACF’s website that we will regularly update with useful information and answers to commonly asked questions regarding our responses, programs, and resources during this crisis. We are your community foundation for Washtenaw County!

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