COVID-19 Update: Ford to Donate $3.5M to Military Charities, Emergency Funds Extended for 350K Michigan Families, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of coronavirus cases in Michigan by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Nov. 7

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Ford ‘Proud to Honor’ Program to Donate $3.5M to Military Charities
Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn and its dealers are donating $3.5 million to military charities this holiday season as part of its “Proud to Honor” program.

For every person who shares a post on social media reflecting their pride in a member of the U.S. military, using #proudtohonor, Ford will donate $100 to be split evenly between the seven Ford “Proud to Honor” military charities, up to $3.5 million through Dec. 31. Proceeds will benefit Blue Star Families, Guitars for Vets, DAV, Workshops for Warriors, Oscar Mike, Bunker Labs, and Boulder Crest Foundation.

“We are humbled by the sacrifices made by our military service members and their families,” says Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service at Ford. “Our Ford dealers are woven into the fabric of their communities and I’m proud of the support they provide to make a difference in the lives of our vets.”

In addition, Ford and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio are collaborating on the Ford “Proud to Honor” Hall of Heroes, in recognition of the deserving military men and women who exemplify hard work, selflessness, and a commitment to excellence. Kathy Roth-Douquet, founder of the national nonprofit Blue Star Families, became the first member of the Hall of Heroes when she received an honorary knock on her door from Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. In her honor, Ford will donate $10,000 worth of toys for Blue Star Families’ upcoming charity drive benefiting the children of military families.

Kevin Greene, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl Champion and 16-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, will serve as an official spokesperson on behalf of the Ford “Proud to Honor” Hall of Heroes.

“The need to honor veterans who have carried the torch of freedom extends well past Veterans Day,” says Col. Vanessa Benson, (U.S. Army, retired), military ambassador for Ford. “Ford’s ‘Proud to Honor’ initiative has done a tremendous job to raise awareness of those who have served and helped water the seed of freedom.”

Ford employs approximately 6,000 veterans and through its “Proud to Honor” initiative, which works to raise awareness for members of the military, to strengthen existing programs and create an even more meaningful connection with those serving their country. For more information, visit here.

COVID-19 Emergency Funds Extended for 350K Michigan Families
Approximately 350,000 Michigan families will continue to have access to additional federal food assistance benefits through November in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which distributes the funding, previously approved the additional food assistance for March through June – and now that is being extended with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

“MDHHS remains committed to helping families who continue to struggle to put food on the table as a result of the pandemic,” says Robert Gordon, director of MDHHS. “Providing nutritious food is vitally important during these difficult times just as protecting residents from the virus is.”

Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Nov. 30, with payments beginning for some households on Nov. 21. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance that is provided earlier in the month.

Nearly 1.5 million people in Michigan receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through the state’s Food Assistance Program

Households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will receive additional benefits in November to bring all current SNAP cases to the maximum monthly allowance for that group size. This change only applies to customers not currently receiving the maximum benefit amount. The 350,000 households that receive increased benefits represent more than 50 percent of the more than 682,000 Michigan households that received food assistance in September. The remaining households already receive the maximum benefit.

Loves Furniture Opens Dearborn Store
Warren-based Loves Furniture and Mattresses has opened a new store at 15701 Market Drive, in Dearborn.

The new store will feature home furnishings, including mattresses, sofas, loveseats, dining furniture, and more, with deals on all in-store items for grand opening weekend shoppers.

“As we expand rapidly across Metro Detroit and Michigan, we are excited to open Loves Dearborn,” says Matt Damiani, CEO of Loves Furniture. “Family connections are central to Deaborn’s past and present. We want  families to love where they live, which is why we are opening Loves Furniture & Mattresses in Dearborn. We are providing a shopping experience that is customer-focused, explorative and designed to fit nearly every budget.”

The Dearborn store will carry a selection of well-known brands, including Tempurpedic, Beautyrest, Serta, Stearns & Foster, Lane, Bassett, Flexsteel, Jonathan Lewis and Bernhardt, as well as exclusive brands only available at Loves.

Loves has hired 20 local employees to staff its Dearborn team and continues to actively hire positions to support the business’ rapid growth throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. For a complete listing of all open positions, visit here.

Stahl’s Auto Collection to Open Nov. 10 for One-time Limited Event
The Stahl’s Auto Collection in Chesterfield Township has cancelled its annual Veterans Day Open House scheduled for Nov. 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is opening its doors Nov. 10 from noon-4 p.m. with limited attendance.

Tickets must be purchased on in advance and there will be a limit to 15 people per half hour to enter the building. Masks and social distancing will be required, and visitors must download and sign a liability document before entering.

To visit between noon-12:30 p.m., visit here; 12:30-1 p.m., visit here; 1-1:30 p.m., visit here; 1:30-2 p.m., visit here; and 2-2:30 p.m., visit here. There is a limit of five tickets per person and 15 tickets per half hour. Please adhere to entry time. The museum will remain open until 4 p.m. Once inside, visitors may remain until closing.

Local Rotary Clubs Partner to Deliver Thanksgiving Meals to Families
Rotary Clubs in Troy, Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Lakes Area, and Sterling Heights are partnering to provide Thanksgiving dinners to 200 needy families in Oakland and Macomb counties.

To suggest a family, volunteer to deliver, or donate, visit here.

Davenport University to Offer Scholarships to Employees of Veteran-friendly Businesses
Davenport University in Grand Rapids is partnering with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to offer employees of veteran-friendly employers (VFEs) four-year scholarships in recognition of their workers’ commitment to those who have served the country.

VFEs collectively employ more than 30,000 of Michigan’s 552,000 veterans.

“This new partnership helps remove barriers so veterans can continue their education, and we’re honored to help employees of these veteran-friendly businesses pursue their academic dreams, as well,” says Richard J. Pappas, president of Davenport University. “By offering these scholarships in partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, we’re able to help people currently in the workforce complete their bachelor’s or master’s degree, or pursue professional training to enhance their skills or gain industry-recognized certifications.”

Davenport University offers courses online and on campuses in Detroit, Warren, Lansing, Holland, Grand Rapids, and Midland. It is a gold-level veteran-friendly school, according to MVAA. The university offers veteran-specific career services, an active student veteran organization, an on-campus veteran coordinator, peer support and mentoring programs, and other veteran-specific benefits.

MVAA Director Zaneta Adams says Davenport University’s scholarship initiative supports the state’s Sixty by 30 Goal, which aims to increase the number of working-age adults in Michigan with a skill certificate or college degree from 45 percent today to 60 percent by 2030.

“This opportunity is also a great example of how our Veteran-Friendly Schools and Veteran-Friendly Employers can come together to enhance the lives of Michigan workers,” Adams says. “This scholarship initiative – the first of its kind in Michigan – should have a significant impact in helping veterans and non-veterans alike further their educational and professional training goals.”

The VFE program was established in 2013 and is cited as one of the nation’s most rigorous veteran-friendly initiatives. It recognizes employers that commit to veteran talent attraction, training and retention practices by awarding those employers Gold, Silver and Bronze-level status. The program grew by 51 percent last year and now includes nearly 400 private and public employers.

The Davenport University scholarship awards vary by employer level. Employees of Bronze-level employers are eligible for a scholarship for up to $2,500 toward tuition for most undergraduate and graduate degree programs, while employees of Silver-level employers are eligible for up to $4,500 toward tuition. Employees of Gold-level businesses receive a custom offering that includes all Silver-level offerings plus additional benefits. Each scholarship is renewable and applies to 22 credits per year for four years. Employees at VFEs do not have to be veterans to participate. A complete list of Gold, Silver and Bronze-level employers may be found here.

For more information, visit here.