A new fund will support flood relief efforts across Kalamazoo County.
United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (UWBCKR) and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) started the Kalamazoo Flood Relief Fund together with lead contributions of $10,000 each, for a total of $20,000. The public can add tax-deductible donations to the fund through United Way, with 100 percent of their gifts going to flood recovery.
Fund dollars will go to local agencies working directly with individuals and families needing help in the wake of February’s historic flooding in Kalamazoo.
UWBCKR and KZCF created the fund after learning from emergency management teams about the extent of the flood’s impact on local households.
“Our top priority is helping flood victims in our community get back on their feet,” said Chris Sargent, President and CEO of United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region. “Gathering the dollars needed for the massive recovery effort ahead is a role that United Way and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation are uniquely equipped to do. We’re eager to do what we can to help, and we invite businesses, individuals and others to join us.”
The two organizations have partnered on similar efforts in the past. Following the mass shootings in Kalamazoo in 2016, UWBCKR and KZCF formed the Help Now Fund to assist the victims, families and communities affected.
“Our partnership will provide crucial support for the victims of the flood and the agencies that are rallying to help,” said Carrie Pickett-Erway, President and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. “As the community steps up to help people in crisis, we’re proud that collaboration is at the center of the work.”
Local officials are still determining the monetary impact of the February flood. However, a severe flood in 2008 caused an estimated $11 million in damage in the Kalamazoo area.
Seeking Flood Relief
Individuals and families who need assistance due to flooding should call 2-1-1, Sargent said. The local 2-1-1 service, managed by Gryphon Place, can connect callers with agencies to address their specific needs.
“The impact of flooding goes beyond the time when the waters recede, so we’re encouraging people who need help to ask for it right away. That means calling 2-1-1 to connect with the many support services available in our community,” Sargent said.
Agencies that are leading flood relief efforts and wish to seek financial support through the Kalamazoo Flood Relief Fund can contact UWBCKR at (269) 343-2524. Representatives of the City of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), UWBCKR and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation will partner to make decisions on funding relief projects.
How to Donate
United Way is accepting tax-deductible contributions for the Kalamazoo Flood Relief Fund. Those who want to make a gift can do so in the following ways:
• Online at www.changethestory.org, click on the DONATE button and fill out the form. Be sure to type in Kalamazoo Flood Relief Fund in the line labeled “Affiliation.”
• Mail or drop off a check made out to “United Way BCKR” at UWBCKR’s office, 709 S. Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI, 49007. Be sure to write Kalamazoo Flood Relief Fund on the memo line of the check.
• Call United Way at (269) 343-2524 to ask about other ways to make a contribution.
Organizations looking for support through the Kalamazoo Flood Relief Fund should complete and submit the form at this link: Application for Flood Relief Funds