Local Mission Grant Program

The First Pres Local Mission Community Grant Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations and ministries that care for and protect vulnerable people in Washtenaw County and Metro Detroit. We seek to provide pathways and opportunities for disadvantaged persons to become contributing members to society. We are particularly interested in partnering with organizations that meet basic human needs with effective programs and build communities. We value groups that tackle structural social inequities and are attentive to groups who engage in long-cycle solutions.
Funding Guidelines for Local Mission Community Grants
Each year the Local Mission Team undergoes a process of discernment, paying attention to the needs we recognize in our community. We identify the areas which seem the most urgent and place a priority on addressing those.
In 2021, awards of up to $5,000 were awarded to those programs that aligned with the following priority focus areas:
  • Increasing Access to Mental Health/ Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Increasing Access to Stable Shelter/Housing
  • Moving People out of Poverty
Programs must also:
  • Demonstrate the need for services and the experience to provide them
  • Increase access to services for the most vulnerable people in our community
  • Articulate how the program addresses inequities and disparities in resources
  • Have a system in place for defining and measuring program outcomes
  • Submit a Progress Report (by the end of the calendar year) on the use of the grant funds
Organizations need also meet the following criteria:
  • Be based in Washtenaw County or Metro Detroit
  • Have 501(c)3 status or a fiscal agent that does
  • Have an active board of directors
  • Demonstrate solid financial standing
  • Affirm that the organization does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity, disability, race, color, ancestry, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, mental health disability or national origin


Every year First Pres supports our neighbors in need through grants to local community agencies. In 2021 we distributed $73,000 through 12 grants each worth between $5,000 - 10,000. Some grants go to long-time partners while others go to new applicants.  During January we will be reviewing our funding priorities and updating the application process. Contact Martha Kershaw mdkershaw@sbcglobal.net if you would like to participate. 

2021 Local Mission Community Grant Recipients

The 2021 Local Mission Grant team consisted of Felicity Williams, Gale Redding, Jenna Mares, Martha Kershaw (Lead), Mary Winn Granum, and Ruth Jensen, with input from Helena Prince during the revision process. 

Fifteen applications were received for the 2021 year, and awards totaling $73,000 were given to:

  • Community Action Network: “Strive to Thrive” Social Emotional Learning program for elementary age children
  • Friends In Deed: general operating funds and the Circles Program
  • Habitat for Humanity Huron Valley: House of Faith
  • Hope Clinic: Psychiatry services for un-insured patients
  • IHN at Alpha House: shelter and support for homeless families
  • Michigan Ability Partners: housing and vocational support for veterans and persons with disabilities
  • Ozone House: outreach van for youth services
  • Peace Neighborhood Center: College and Career Prep program for high-school age youth
  • Shelter Assn. Washtenaw Cnty: re-opening of 2nd floor of Delonis Shelter for homeless adults
  • SOS Community Service: rapid rehousing for homeless families
  • Washtenaw Housing Alliance: landlord recruitment and engagement
For more information or to get involved in 2022, contact Martha Kershaw mdkershaw@sbcglobal.net.
Martha Kershaw                                                      Rev. Jay Sanderford
Local Mission Grant Coordinator                          Local Mission Staff Liaison
mdkershaw@sbcglobal.net                                   jsanderford@firstpresbyterian.org
(734) 645-7521                                                                     (734) 662- 4466

2020 Local Mission Community Grant Recipients:

  • Ozone House - Supportive Housing for at risk youth.
  • Habitat for Humanity - House of Faith home renovation
  • Community Action Network - Social Emotional Learning Program
  • Cass Community Social Services - Street Outreach Van
  • IHN at Alpha House - Family Homeless Shelter
  • Hope Medical Clinic - Psychiatry Services for uninsured people
  • Corner Health Center – Telehealth Services for at-risk youth
  • Friends In Deed – Support services to address poverty and prevent financial crisis
  • Peace Neighborhood Center – College and Career Prep Program
  • Riverside Gathering – weekly community meal at First Pres. Ypsilanti
  • Food Gatherer’s – Community Kitchen at Delonis Center

2019 Local Community Impact Grants Recipients

  • Ozone House - Mental Health for At Risk College Students
  • Habitat of Huron Valley - House of Faith
  • Fort Street Presbyterian – Community Garden and Nutrition Education
  • Cass Community SS - Lots for Tiny Homes
  • Hope Clinic - Mental Health for Uninsured
  • Community Action Network - Brick School Community Center
  • Community Action Network - Housing Support Program
  • (IHN) Alpha House – Family Shelter
  • Friends in Deed – Emergency Assistance
  • Peace Neighborhood - College Prep
  • Riverside Gathering - Weekly Dinner
  • Breakfast at St. Andrew's
  • ICPJ - Poverty Narratives

2018 Local Community Impact Grants Recipients

  • Breakfast at St. Andrew's
  • Food Gatherers
  • Fort Street
  • Hope Clinic
  • Riverside Gathering
  • Community Action Network
  • Corner Health Clinic
  • Cass Community Social Services
  • Habitat of Huron Valley
  • (IHN) Alpha House
  • Religious Action for Affordable Housing
  • Shelter Association
  • Peace Neighborhood
  • Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice/ICPJ
  • Interfaith Round Table
  • Friends in Deed

2017 Local Community Impact Grants Recipients

  • Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley, House of Faith
  • Food Gatherers
  • Corner Health Center
  • Cass Community Social Services
  • Friends in Deed
  • Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice/ICPJ
  • Alpha House
  • Shelter Association
  • His Eye is on the Sparrow
  • Riverside Community Gathering
  • Hope Clinic Food Programs
  • Family Learning Institute
  • Washtenaw Housing Alliance
  • Breakfast at St Andrew's
  • Hope Clinic Mental Health
  • Dawn Farm
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Community Action Network
  • House By Side Road
  • Interfaith Round Table
  • Dispute Resolution Center
  • Safe House
  • Intentional Communities of Washtenaw

2016 Local Community Impact Grants Recipients

  • Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice/ICPJ
  • Interfaith Roundtable
  • Community Action Network; Project at Mitchell Elementary School
  • Peace Neighborhood Center
  • House by the Side of the Road
  • St. Andrew's Breakfast Program
  • Food Gatherers, Special Project
  • HOPE Clinic Food Pantry
  • Riverside Community Meal Program, Ypsilanti
  • Alpha House
  • Friends In Deed
  • Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley, House of Faith
  • Religious Action for Affordable Housing
  • Shelter Association
  • Samaritan Counseling Center
  • Intentional Communities of Washtenaw
  • His Eye is on the Sparrow
  • Washtenaw Refugee Welcome