Foundations Team Up to Challenge the Community To Turn $10,000 to $50,000 for Emergency Shelter Repairs

The Berrien Community Foundation, Hanson Family Foundation, Frederick S. Upton Foundation and Felland Fund are pooling their resources to create a $4 to $1 matching grant to help Emergency Shelter Services raise much-needed money for shelter repairs.

 For every $1 the community raises, the Foundations will provide $4 up to a total of $50,000. That means a gift of $25 becomes $100 for the Love Your Shelter campaign.

“Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head. ESS plays such a vital role in Berrien County as our only family homeless shelter here,” BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey said. “We are excited to partner with the Hanson Family Foundation, the Upton Foundation and the Felland Fund to encourage the community to help Emergency Shelter Services provide a safe place to those working through a really hard time in their life.”

Emergency Shelter Services launched their Love Your Shelter fundraiser to gather dollars needed to replace original drafty windows, 25-year-old flooring, and make foundation repairs in the three-story 1870s house.

“This is big to have these four organizations coming together and saying they believe in us, care about us and support us,” ESS Executive Director Reshella Hawkins said. “We’ve had this house for 43 years. It’s a big house. We’ve kept up the house pretty well, but it is old and none of the major repairs have been done.”

The more money raised, the more projects they can do in the nine-bedroom, five-bath house, Hawkins noted. She hopes to start construction April 1, if not earlier. Online donations may be made at or checks may be mailed to Emergency Shelter Services at 185 E. Main Street, Ste. 103, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

For more than four decades, the Emergency Shelter Services has a been a lifeline to many in Berrien County who experience homelessness. Those families work with a case manager to create a plan to secure stable housing and to get back on their feet. Before the pandemic, the shelter could house up to 30 people. Now they can only house 21 people, with rooms at a local hotel available when they reach capacity. People can stay for up to 90 days.

Online donations may be made at or checks may be mailed to Emergency Shelter Services at 185 E. Main Street, Ste. 103, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

The Berrien Community Foundation is a center of philanthropy in Berrien County holding endowment and other funds to support programs and projects throughout Berrien County.  These Community Foundation funds support the ever-changing needs of Berrien County now and into the future.  With more than $88 million in assets, the Foundation provides grants and scholarships plus opportunities for individuals across the County to fulfill charitable intentions through life-end giving and estate planning. For information about BCF, call 269-983-3304 or visit