April 29, 2020
ECCF Announces Third Round of COVID-19 Response Grants

Danvers, MA — Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) announced today that it has awarded the third round of grants from its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund (the Fund), established in March to support nonprofits on the frontlines of the pandemic response in Essex County.

This third round of grants – which totals $710,000 – includes $450,000 of funding from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund. Initiated by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation, this statewide fund is working with regional nonprofit leaders, community foundations, and others to understand the response and relief landscape – both local and statewide – and strategically fill in where gaps are pronounced.

“We are so grateful for support from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “The need in Essex County is great, and this funding is enabling us to broaden the impact we are making in our cities and towns to help those most vulnerable to the effects of the current health crisis.”

To date, ECCF has awarded more than $1.1 million to support local nonprofit organizations serving on the front lines of the pandemic.

“This most recent round of grants is specifically targeting economically disadvantaged residents and families, regardless of citizenship,” said ECCF’s Vice President of Grants, Nonprofits and Donor Services Carol Lavoie Schuster. “These are people who struggle every day just to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families, particularly in our Gateway Cities – Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynn, Methuen, Peabody, and Salem – where many of the region’s 38 percent of residents living below the living wage reside.”

“These grants to our frontline nonprofits will help to safeguard the services and supports many of our friends and neighbors rely on, especially during times of crisis,” she added.

The 20 recipients of this third round of grants include the region’s five Community Action Program (CAP) agencies: Action, Inc. in Gloucester, Community Action Inc. in Haverhill; the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council; Lynn Economic Opportunity and North Shore Community Action Program. These five agencies are part of a statewide network of nonprofit human service and advocacy organizations established to fight poverty by opening doors to self-sufficiency.

Supporting organizations in each community being funded include Groundwork Lawrence; Northeast Legal Aid; Essex County Community Organization; Lawrence CommunityWorks; The Center; Latino Coalition of Haverhill; New Lynn Coalition; Catholic Charities of Lynn; Latino Leadership Coalition of Salem; Welcome Immigrant Network; ACT Lawrence; New American Center; Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; North Shore Community Development Coalition and Open Door Immigration Services.

Together, these agencies and organizations help deliver vital services like rental assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), and other supports.

“Without the support of these organizations, many of Essex County’s most vulnerable residents would be forced to go without basic necessities, like food and shelter,” said Lavoie Schuster. “And without support from the community, these organizations would be hard-pressed to meet local needs, which continue to grow exponentially with the rise in unemployment.

Essex County’s nonprofits need our help now more than ever.

“We know that our communities will be feeling the effects of this pandemic well into the future,” said Francis. “As the layers of the crisis continue to unfold and become more and more complex, ECCF will continue to monitor the changing landscape, raise funds and adapt our grantmaking to keep up with evolving needs – which will be many.”

You can help those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis by supporting our region’s nonprofits on the front lines. Donate today to the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund here.

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