AAACF Updates & FAQs

In the past month, AAACF has already deployed more than $1,000,000 across our community. During this time of crisis, we are adapting our grantmaking to reflect new pressures faced by nonprofits and residents.

AAACF is mobilizing grants, cross-sector conversations, and loans on behalf of our community, and we will continue to provide updates on these actions. You can find these previous updates on our website:

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about our work and community response.

How are grant programs operating?

In the near term, the Foundation will proactively determine new grants rather than accepting applications. AAACF is prioritizing highly flexible grants that address the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on our most vulnerable communities, particularly those organizations led by members of those communities most affected. This approach is in keeping with our existing grantmaking philosophy that people within communities know the best ways to address issues and we want to listen and partner with their leadership.

  • In addition to community input on emergency response, AAACF is also focused on recovery efforts. As an endowment-based organization, AAACF is committed to taking the long view. We recognize that emergency needs will evolve into recovery efforts and we are prepared to continue grantmaking in partnership with the community, now and into the future.
  • AAACF will continue to operate our Community Scholarship Program, Cultural Economic Development, and Dedicated Grant Programs, with a priority on grants that give nonprofits and students as much flexibility as possible to weather this crisis.
  • We will also be issuing the planned distributions this spring (and fall) from our nonprofit endowment funds. More than ever, the people and nonprofits themselves that set up these endowments as a reliable source of revenue can depend upon these ongoing distributions.

How will grant payments be made?

Grants are made either with checks or ACH payments. Our goal is to distribute funds quickly and safely! If an ACH payment would be effective, AAACF staff will contact grantees directly to provide necessary information.

How does my organization apply for a nonprofit loan?

To help bridge the gap to federal relief and longer term economic recovery, AAACF is making available a half-million dollars for short-term cash flow loans to local nonprofits, in addition to our grantmaking. AAACF’s Short-Term Cash Flow Loan Program is accepting applications for short-term (up to 180 days) interest-free cash flow loans of $5,000–$50,000. The loans will be made on a rolling basis from a revolving fund of $500,000.

Are you offering any flexibility for current grantees?

Many program grants have been converted to operating support grants, including $78,000 in recently awarded Youth Council grants. The Foundation has also suspended grant reporting deadlines to allow nonprofits to focus on more immediate needs, and as a sign of good faith and partnership.

My organization needs funding. Can I apply to the Community Foundation for a grant?

In the near term, the Foundation will proactively determine new grants rather than accepting applications according to the framework outlined above: focusing on our most vulnerable communities, particularly those organizations led by members of those communities most affected, and looking toward recovery.

You may also want to explore funding through the United Way of Washtenaw County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund or the federal relief funding available for small businesses & nonprofits through the CARES Act.

What is your advice to donors?

AAACF continues to encourage all individuals that want to make an immediate gift to support the United Way of Washtenaw County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. AAACF and other funders are actively consulting with the United Way on the best uses of this important resource. In addition to the grantmaking described above, AAACF has issued more than $130,000 collectively from a variety of internal funding and donor-advised funds to the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund.

If you are giving to a fund at AAACF, please consider making your gifts online with credit cards, online checks, or stocks because of the current nature of remote working. Please do not send physical checks as we are not able to process them until the Governor’s stay-at-home order ends. Contact Shelley or Katelyn from our AAACF Philanthropy team with any questions about your giving.

We also encourage donors to continue to give to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this crucial time. Now is the time to double down for our community as we have greater awareness of the depth and scale of the long-term ramifications of the outbreak.

Is AAACF still processing donor-advised fund grants?

Yes, AAACF continues to process recommendations that are made by donor-advisors from our donor-advised funds. Given the need for urgent responsiveness, we will prioritize processing grants for nonprofits responding to the crisis. For the near future, for non-COVID response-related grants we are suspending the usual two-week processing timeframe. However, recommendations for both COVID-related and non-related grants can still be made through the DonorView portal. Please contact Katelyn Videto (kvideto@aaacf.org) with any questions or concerns about your grant recommendations.

I am an individual who has been affected by COVID-19. Can the Community Foundation help me?

The Community Foundation is not able to directly support individuals and families. Rather, we support community-based nonprofits that, in turn, directly support individuals and families that are most affected by COVID-19 and its impacts. The United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline is available by phone, text or live chat 24 hours a day to connect people with the resources they need in times of crisis.

My small business has been affected by COVID-19. Can the Community Foundation help me?

AAACF’s grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofits, groups fiscally sponsored by 501(c)(3) nonprofits, or other charitable organizations, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities. The Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund was created to address the financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund provides working capital grants of up to $5,000 to qualifying small businesses. AAACF has also contributed to this community effort to support our local economy.

What is AAACF’s approach to meetings, events, and convenings?

AAACF’s offices are currently closed, and our team is working remotely, available by phone and email. All meetings and convenings are being hosted virtually via phone or videoconferencing. AAACF public events are postponed or cancelled until further notice. Please reach out directly to our team with specific questions on any previously scheduled events.

How is AAACF monitoring its investment strategy?

Our investment strategy has always been focused on the long term. We will continue to support the community in perpetuity and our Finance team and the Investment & Finance Committee, comprised of local professionals and members of our Board of Trustees, continue to maintain close contact with our investment advisors.


Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact us at info@aaacf.org, or reach out to our team directly.

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