June 30, 2020
ECCF Announces 7th Round of Grants & Open-Application Cycle

Danvers, MA — Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) announced today that it has awarded a seventh round of grants from its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, which has been supporting nonprofit organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic response in Essex County since the fund’s inception in March.

This round of grants – $900,000 in total – is made possible by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, the statewide fund initiated by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation to support those across the Commonwealth most impacted by COVID-19. This fund works in concert with regional community foundations to strategically fill in where gaps are pronounced.

“The effects of COVID-19 have been felt far and wide in Essex County. Food insecurity persists, mental health services are in greater demand and many can’t afford life’s basic necessities because they are out of work,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “This partnership with the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund has significantly increased the impact we’ve been able to have on these issues in our communities.”

The funding announced today is being directed towards six backbone organizations – including Essex County’s five Community Action Programs – which help provide basic necessities, like food and rental assistance, to economically disadvantaged, homeless, immigrant and refugee residents of Essex County. In addition, grants are also being awarded to 11 nonprofit organizations to provide food for summer youth programs.

[See attached list of Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund seventh-round grantees grouped by service area.]

“This support continues to be so important because Essex County’s most vulnerable residents are still struggling just to put food on their tables and roofs over their heads,” said ECCF’s Vice President for Grants, Nonprofits and Donor Services Carol Lavoie Schuster. “Some nonprofits are also beginning to start summer programming and our support will help ensure these programs serve area youth in the best way possible.”

To date, ECCF has awarded nearly $4.4 million through 207 grants to nonprofits battling COVID-19 and the resulting fallout from the virus.

COVID-19 Open Application Cycle Begins July 1

The $4.4 million awarded from the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund to date has focused on the most pressing needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in Essex County. The grants awarded during this Crisis Mitigation phase have been rapid, unrestricted and focused on basic needs like food insecurity, emergency shelter and emergency childcare.

Beginning July 1 – as we begin to delve deeper and address the ongoing and long-lasting effects of COVID-19 – ECCF will move to an open application cycle to provide funding to nonprofits serving the most vulnerable and insecure residents in three distinct areas:

  • Health and Mental Health (Application open July 1.)
  • Economic Security (Application open Aug. 1.)
  • Education and Youth (Application open Sept. 1.)

“These three priority areas represent where Essex County’s most vulnerable populations have struggled the most,” said Lavoie Schuster. “The pandemic has created an economic crisis that will persist into the foreseeable future for many; uncovered inequities in healthcare; and has had an unprecedented impact on our youth.”

“The intention of this open grant cycle is to address these challenges in Essex County through the innovative work of the many frontline nonprofits serving our 34 cities and towns,” she added.

Grants from this open application cycle will range from $5,000 to $50,000 in most cases, and ECCF will prioritize, among other things, support for nonprofit organizations assisting Essex County residents disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; grant proposals that address racial and systemic inequities; and a collaborative, systems approach to problem solving.

For complete guidelines and application deadlines, please visit this page

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 on this page.

About ECCF
The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to inspire philanthropy that strengthens the communities of Essex County. We do this by managing charitable assets, strengthening and supporting nonprofits and engaging in strategic community leadership. Since 1998, ECCF and its family of more than 230 charitable funds have granted $85 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s nearly 800,000 residents. Learn more at eccf.org.

About the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund supports those across the state most impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis, focusing on essential frontline workers and vulnerable populations including the homeless, immigrant populations, people with disabilities and those facing food insecurity. The Fund works in concert with regional community foundations and non-profit leaders who partner with local leaders to understand the response and relief landscape, strategically filling in where gaps are pronounced. For more information, visit MACovid19ReliefFund.org.

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