City announces Faith Forward grant program to help sustain churches, synagogues, mosques during COVID-19 pandemic


City announces Faith Forward grant program to help sustain churches, synagogues, mosques during COVID-19 pandemic


  • $650K in grants ranging from $5K - $20K to be available to faith-based organization and eligible small non-profit organizations
  • Applications Open May 3, first of several info sessions planned for April 27
  • Major donors include Kresge Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, as well as Catholic and Jewish organizations

Churches, mosques, synagogues, and the city’s smallest non-profit organizations soon will be able to apply for grants of up to $20,000 as part of the City of Detroit’s effort to help faith-based organizations overcome the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Faith Forward grant program has been funded with $650,000 from various philanthropic partners, including the United Way, Kresge Foundation, Catholic and Jewish organizations.  

Grants will be available to eligible organizations providing a range of COVID-related community services that have supported members of the community for the past year, including:

  • City of Detroit COVID-19 vaccine site partners
  • Emergency support services (Housing, Food, Emergency Shelter, Utility Assistance, etc.)
  • Health enrichment for senior citizens
  • Mental health services
  • Skills for career development programs

“At times like this, we rely on the faith-based community to support us,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Like all organizations, our faith-based partners have suffered during the pandemic as they have served others.  The Faith Forward program can help sustain them as they have sustained us.”

“We have to face the fact that COVID-19 is not over, especially in Black and Brown communities. Detroit needs all hands on deck to vaccinate our people. We are grateful for the leadership that our faith-based community is taking to confront what is still a crisis,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, Managing Director, Detroit Program, Kresge Foundation, which has backed the fund with a $250,000 contribution.

Application Timeline:

  • April 27 - Informational Workshop #1
  • May 3: Applications Open
  • May 4: Workshop #2
  • May 21: Applications Close
  • Award notifications will be made by mid-June

Faith-based organizations interested in applying for funding should participate in the informational sessions and visit for more details. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Faith-based organizations (ministries, churches, mosques, synagogues, etc.) and micro
  • Non-profit organizations with an operating budget of less than $250,000
  • Organizations operating with a physical location within the City of Detroit for at least 2 years

Faith Forward Fund Contributors:

  • United Way of Southeast Michigan $250,000
  • Kresge Foundation $250,000
  • City of Detroit (pending): $150,000
  • Catholic Charities $100,000
  • Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC) $50,000

Total Raised: $650,000 ($800,000 including city funds)

The City of Detroit Office of Faith-Based Affairs, the Office of Development and Grants Management, and other partners will host a series of capacity building and grant-writing workshops to strengthen the financial and human capital capability of these organizations in addition to providing the micro-grants.

"The pandemic continues to devastate so many families, especially those struggling to meet their basic needs," says Dr. Darienne Hudson, president, and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. "Faith-based organizations are pillars of the community, offering essential services in addition to supporting spiritual needs. This Faith Forward Fund will support getting food, clothing rent assistance, and more to families in dire need as COVID-19 continues to surge." 

“Many churches and faith-based organizations lack the staff or experience of raising money for this kind of work,” said Paul Propson, CEO, Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan. “We are proud to help raise money so these grassroots organizations can keep helping their neighbors recover from this crisis in the hardest-hit neighborhoods in southeast Michigan.”

"Many faith-based and smaller nonprofits miss out on funding opportunities simply because of capacity, said Terra DoFoe, who is leading the effort from the Mayor’s Office. “The Faith Forward Fund is designed to help strengthen their community outreach programs that services thousands of individuals.”