DETROIT – For 31 years Alternatives For Girls has helped homeless teen girls and their children.
The well-respected and highly rated nonprofit had applied for two critical federal grants totaling $400,000, but only received one, totaling $200,000.
Although it was prepared for that possibility, losing the other grant hurt and there were tears.
“It was one of those things that was cathartic. We got it out of our systems and our next move was to call the directors directly affected,” chief operating officer Celia Thomas said.
Alternatives For Girls knew it would have to lay off staff, but the goal was to keep the 30 beds at its shelter open.
Then, CEO Amy Good got a call and email from retail giant H&M. An artist in metro Detroit had contacted the company’s charitable foundation, asking for help, and H&M had come through.
“We were blown away. The timing could not have been better. We received an incredibly generous gift from H&M, which will make all the difference in the coming year,” Good said.
H&M is giving Alternatives For Girls a check for $50,000. The nonprofit plans to add staff back as it fundraises to make up the rest of the difference.
Alternatives For Girls provides safe shelter for homeless girls and their children, and it also gets the girls back into the educational system to prepare them for jobs, in addition to providing a host of other social services.
Alternatives For Girls will reapply for that second grant next year.
“It’s important work,” Good said. “Nobody does quite what we do, and we’re too important to fail.”