Seventy-eight Oakland County arts, cultural and environmental stewardship organizations were awarded grants of up to $50,000 from the $2.06 million Oakland Together Cultural Institution COVID-19 Support Grant pool.
The grants, made possible through federal CARES Act funding, will help the organizations preserve jobs while continuing to offer services and programming to Oakland County residents. The grants can be used for salaries, rent or mortgage, purchasing personal protective equipment or utility payments, among other things.
“I’m pleased we were able to assist so many of these arts, cultural and environmental stewardship organizations and help them when their normal sources of income have been interrupted or eliminated altogether,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “We value our partnerships with these organizations which provide cultural understanding and diversity, conservation and stewardship while enhancing the quality of life for Oakland County and Southeast Michigan.”
The grants ranged from several thousand dollars to a maximum $50,000 and were awarded to non-profit organizations located throughout the county. Recipients included:
- Chaldean Cultural Center, West Bloomfield
- Clarkston Family Discovery Farm, Clarkston
- Creative Art Center, Pontiac
- Commerce Township Area Historical Society, Walled Lake
- Cranbrook Institute of Science
- Holly Historical Society, Holly
- Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester
- Oakland County 4-H Fair Association, Davisburg
- Friends of Royal Oak Township, Royal Oak Township
- Polly Ann Trail Management Council, Leonard
- Stagecrafters, Royal Oak
- Village Fine Arts Association (VFAA), Milford
The recipients were grateful the county had made grants available to non-profit organizations.
“I just felt compelled to express our deepest gratitude to Oakland County and all the great people working there to help the cultural community through these times,” Executive Director Susan Gollon said. “The VFAA has been very fortunate to be able to weather this COVID storm by innovating constantly to answer the needs of our community. This grant award will help us continue and enhance the momentum we have moving forward.”
Clarkston Family Discovery Farm officials said they were beyond grateful for the grant.
“This will make all the difference in our ability to continue to fulfill our mission of educating kids of all ages and abilities about the value of nature and sustainability,” Chelsea Anne O’Brien wrote.
Arlene Somerville of the Commerce Township Historical Society was more to the point.
“Thank you,” she wrote. “You just made me cry!”
A list of the recipients is found at https://www.oakgov.com/covid/grants/Pages/cultural-institution-support.aspx. Oakland County Commissioners Marsha Gershenson, Shelley Goodman Taub, Helaine Zak and Michael Spisz performed oversite of the grants for the Board of Commissioners.
To be eligible, an organization had to be a non-profit with tax-exempt status that is physically located in Oakland County and provides most of its services to county residents.
Oakland County allocated all $219 million it received in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, including more than $140 million in grants to help stabilize and support small businesses, residents and communities in every part of the county since the beginning of the pandemic. Grants were awarded to more than 10,000 local businesses, which employ 65,000 employees; 22 local chambers of commerce; 28 local school districts; residents having trouble making rent or mortgage payments, retailers, restaurants and communities.