The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation today announced $4 million in new and ongoing grants during its June grant cycle, $550,000 of which will support metropolitan Detroit organizations that are helping people and families significantly impacted by COVID-19.
As COVID-19 quickly made its way across metropolitan Detroit, an alarming disparity emerged: People of color contracted the virus and died at much higher rates compared to others. It is also true that children of color are experiencing elevated blood lead levels and asthma events far more often as well. Systemic racism and inequality exist in all facets of our lives – criminal justice, housing, health status, health care, education, employment, and other vital needs – and the recent protests challenge all of us to admit, confront, and act on these disparities.
This situation alarms us and challenges us. It also affirms that our mission of advancing an environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant metropolitan Detroit and flourishing Great Lakes ecosystem remains critically important for all residents of our region. We recommit to active grantmaking that helps address these inequities as we work with our grantees and partners. We have significant long-term investments in environmental justice and diversity and inclusion among our programs, and we will continue to challenge ourselves as we approach all our core strategic areas.
As part of our address to COVID-19 related regional challenges, Erb Family Foundation granted $250,000 to Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan for its targeted COVID Health Fund addressing critical needs including testing and community health. Erb Family Foundation also committed $300,000 over the next three years to the Cranbrook Educational Community as it seeks to provide special scholarships for southeast Michigan families economically impacted by COVID-19 so their students can complete their educations uninterrupted.
While the coronavirus changed all aspects of life, it didn’t stop Detroit area youth from continuing to receive high-quality jazz education. An example is the MSU Community Music School-Detroit which quickly pivoted to virtual music classes. We’re pleased to award $65,000 each to Arts League of Michigan, Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Michigan State University for continued jazz education programming for metropolitan Detroit students.
In the June grants cycle, Erb Family Foundation also supports the following organizations among others:
- American Forests to research how trees can reduce stormwater runoff in Detroit
- Marygrove Conservancy for a study of arts as part of their rebirth in the community
- Wayne State University to support an advocacy and spokesperson training conference for families who have had children poisoned by lead