The Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition is providing $25,000 in ­­grants to community organizations working to assist those who have felt the myriad effects of COVID-19, specifically related to clean water.­

Grantees include Abiinooji-Aki Inc. in Hayward, Wis., the Flint Development Center in Flint, Mich., the Junction Coalition in Toledo, Ohio, True Skool in Milwaukee, Wis., and Milwaukee Water Commons in Milwaukee, Wis. Each will receive a $5,000 grant toward new and ongoing water equity work, particularly oriented around helping overcome challenges presented by COVID-19.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color, particularly Black and indigenous communities,” said Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition Director Laura Rubin. “Several of our member organizations serve communities that struggle with access to clean water and water-based recreation, water affordability, and water equity issues. We hope that these grants can help them continue to do this important work.”

“This grant will give Milwaukee Water Commons the capacity to implement new, crisis-specific technological and communications strategies to strengthen our coalitions and increase the capacity of our partners to work for water equity and justice, which is even more critical during this time of COVID-19 crisis and its disproportionate impact on communities of color,” said Milwaukee Water Commons Co-Executive Director Brenda Coley.

Water is so vital and most needed for all of eternity and beyond,” said MaryEllen Baker of Abiinooji-Aki Inc. “My body, mind and spirit is so touched with the thoughts of how many individuals, families, communities and countries we’ll be able to enlighten about life, water, and Mother Earth with the Women and Water Symposium this August.”

“We are TRUEly grateful for the BOLD doers out there and we are inspired more than ever. People are stepping up and working together in collective support, that’s #TRUEgiving, said Shalina S. Ali, co-executive director of TRUE Skool. “TRUE Skool has continued to engage our amazing youth and community network during these uncertain times and this investment helps with unforeseen adjustments. “

The list of grantees includes:

Abiinooji-Aki Inc: Founded in 1992, Abiinooji-Aki works to empower the Ojibwe Tribe in the northern Great Lakes. This grant will go toward the 4th Annual Women and Water Coming Together Symposium, August 2-6, bringing together women and men and providing them with Native American Teachings, Healing Rituals, Songs and Stories to educate the public on the natural order of things around life and water. The goal is personal empowerment and advocacy for long-term clean water solutions.

Flint Development Center: A project of the Flint Development Group, the Flint Development Center is a community space that provides the residents of Flint facilities to safely engage in recreational, social and cultural programs. The grant will go toward bolstering The Mckenzie Croom Flint Community Lab and The Flint Communications HUB, as well as daily food and water drives and community outreach and education.

Junction Coalition: Serving the diverse Junction neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio, the Junction Coalition is a network of dedicated individuals working toward equitable outcomes for Toledo’s residents. The grant will go toward preventing water shutoffs and increasing citizen participation in local cleanup efforts.

Milwaukee Water Commons: Rooted in connection and community collaboration, Milwaukee Water Commons promotes stewardship of, equitable access to and shared decision-making for our common waters. The grant will go toward communications efforts to support ongoing anti-racism work.

TRUE Skool: A grassroots art movement in Milwaukee, Wisc., TRUE Skool uses urban arts as a tool to engage youth in social justice and humanities education, community service, and civic engagement. This grant will go toward summer youth programs oriented toward environmental justice and water equity.