COVID-19 Community Relief Fund

Khadija Wallace
Joyful Treats / anewjoyfultreats.com

In the best of times, food insecurity is a significant community problem.  In the pandemic economy, it has become a desperate situation for all too many.  The Ypsilanti-based Joyful Treats Community Foundation is bringing its culinary and catering talents to the fore in helping address the issue.  Founder and president Khadija Wallace joined WEMU's David Fair on "Washtenaw United" to discuss the inspiration and motivation behind the foundation's efforts.


Cozine Welch
Cozine Welch / A Brighter Way

Those who are released from jail or prison, especially people of  color, face a great number of barriers to successfully reintegrating.  The COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse.  Former inmate Cozine Welch started the organization "A Brighter Way" to help those, like him, who have faced these obstacles.  Welch joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the work of supporting those in need of a new path while recognizing, and fighting, the systemic racism that permeates our system of justice. 


Alena Zachery-Ross
Ypsilanti Community Schools / ycschools.us

Soon after the pandemic hit, unemployment went up significantly on the east side of Washtenaw County.  Student homelessness and food insecurity went up, while any sense of security and stability plummeted. The Ypsilanti Community Schools and its partners responded in short order by creating "The Resiliency Center."  YCS superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the center's impact so far and why the center will likely be with us even after the pandemic is over. 


Marquan Jackson
Marquan Jackson

For nearly a decade now, Eastern Michigan University's Family Empowerment Program has helped those living in Ypsilanti Housing Commission facilities in a variety of ways.  The program's work has become even more important through the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for families of color.  The program's executive director, Marquan Jackson, joined WEMU's David Fair on the first day of Black History Month to discuss services offered and why the pandemic has highlighted issues of systemic racism. 


David Gruner
Career Solutions / cdcpi.com

The past year has brought a global pandemic, political unrest, and a more concerted effort to combat systemic racism.  Put together, it has created new challenges for leaders in the non-profit sector.  Ann Arbor-based "Career Directions" is dedicated to coaching leaders and organization teams and, it too, has found new challenges to overcome.  On "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair explores challenges and solutions with Career Directions executive coach/principal, David Gruner.


Roz Gould Keith
Roz Gould Keith

There has been some progress made in societal acceptance of the trans community, but there is a long way to go.  Most communities still lack adequate support systems for trans people and their families to help navigate through.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," Roz Gould Keith joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss her family's journey and the nonprofit organization it inspired, Stand with Trans. 


Krista Girty
Ozone House / ozonehouse.org

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed more young people into the streets.  Ozone House's new facility in Ypsilanti is full up with a waiting list that is the longest in the organization's history.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair talks with Ozone House executive director Krista Girty about helping those in need despite the changes the COVID crisis has created. 

  

Alice Liao
Alice Liao

For 20 years, the Ann Arbor-based Women's Center of Southeastern Michigan (WCSM) has been providing a safe space for women and families in our region.  As like all nonprofit organizations, the events of 2020, including the coronavirus crisis, has made the center's services more valuable than ever.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair speaks to WCSM's marketing director, Alice Liao, about what the center has accomplished in 2020 and what it hopes to achieve in 2021.


Towana Parker
Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach / dapco.org

The coronavirus pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone, even moreso for new and expectant mothers.  In the meantime, a Washtenaw County nonprofit group called "Destiny and Purpose Community Outreach," or DAPCO, has providing special services for families in need, and the organization has a special event planned for those welcoming new babies into their lives.  DAPCO executive director Towana Parker talks about a community "baby shower" the organization is planning with WEMU's David Fair on this week's "Washtenaw United."


Aaron Kinzel
Youth Justice Fund / yjfund.org

A recent study shows African Americans in Washtenaw County are far more likely than white people to be charged with felonies, and sentences tend to be longer.  The data raises questions about prosecutorial discretion and biases in the criminal justice system.  Aaron Kinzel is a lecturer of Criminology and Criminal Justice at University of Michigan-Dearborn and serves as Executive Director of the Youth Justice Fund.  He joined WEMU’s David Fair on "Washtenaw United" to explore bias and the search for equality in the criminal justice system.


Barbara Niess-May
SafeHouse Center / safehousecenter.org

SafeHouse Center provides emergency shelter and an array of services to survivors on domestic violence and sexual assault in Washtenaw County.  Like all other service agencies, the pandemic has an effect on the way it conducts its business and on the bottom line.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," SafeHouse Center executive director Barbara Niess-May discusses maintaining vital and essential services during a public health crisis. 


Arts Alliance
The Arts Alliance / creativewashtenaw.org

After a summer hiatus, David Fair and Deb Polich reunite on the air for this edition of "creative: impact."  They catch up on the state of the arts six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of gaining the attention of and funding from local decision makers right here in Washtenaw County.  Listen here to the conversation on this edition of "creative:impact."


NEW
Nonprofit Enterprise at Work / new.org

All too often, when public discourse centers on issues of racial equality and justice, the voices we hear from are from white people.  Ann Arbor-based NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) is changing that by putting forth leaders in the Black community to lead the conversations.  The online series is called "Centering Justice."  Will Jones III is Relationship Manager at NEW.  He joined WEMU's David Fair on this week's edition of "Washtenaw United" to discuss racism and the task of creating meaningful and lasting change. 


Moonson Eninsche
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

There are more than 90 service agencies and organizations in Washtenaw County helping area residents through the "Barrier Busters" program.  For many, COVID-19 has only increased the need for assistance.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair discussed the issues with Moonson Eninsche from the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development.  


Collaborative ChangeMakers / changemakerscounseling.com

We are living through what many call a “double pandemic.”  COVID 19-hit, and now we are struggling through another phase of change in the effort to end systemic racism and anti-Black violence.  The struggles are real, and many feel alone and without support.  Addressing it gave birth to the project “Ypsi: In This Together.”  The program, developed in conjunction with the counseling services organization Collaborative ChangeMakers, is creating needed connection.  In this week’s edition of “Washtenaw United,” Dr. Mishelle Rodriguez shares the genesis and growth of the program with WEMU's David Fair.


Neel Hajra
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation / aaacf.org

For more than 50 years, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) has been investing in the community with the aim of improving quality of life.  While the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t altered its mission, it has forced some changes in how the foundation decides how and where to apply its philanthropic efforts.  In this week’s "Washtenaw United" conversation, WEMU’s David Fair explores the changing landscape with the CEO of the AAACF, Neel Hajra. 


Pam Smith
United Way of Washtenaw County / uwwashtenaw.org

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) has been building its $1 million, COVID-19 Community Relief Fund.  It provides financial assistance to fellow nonprofit organizations to be put to use to those most vulnerable and in need.  As of today, approximately $830,000 has been raised.  For this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair is joined by UWWC president/CEO Pam Smith, who details the latest plans for the relief fund.