September 3, 2020
With Help From the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, ECCF grants $5.6 Million in Emergency COVID Relief to Area Nonprofits

Danvers, MA — The fallout from COVID-19 has challenged local nonprofits to do more with less.

But from March through July, Essex County Community Foundation – seeking to support their critical work in our communities – granted a total of $5.6 million to Essex County organizations working to help residents through the pandemic.

“ECCF has received an enormous amount of support for our Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, and with that support we were able to make timely and impactful emergency grants to so many nonprofits during a critical time,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s vice president for grants, nonprofits and donor services.

Much of that support came from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, the statewide philanthropic fund initiated by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation to support those across the Commonwealth most impacted by COVID-19. This fund, which was resourced by private philanthropy and individual donors, worked in concert with regional community foundations to strategically fill in where gaps are pronounced.

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund has now transitioned from collecting centralized funds to encouraging direct donations to charitable organizations across the state – like ECCF and its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund – that are making an impact.

But with its final wave of $650,000 in funding to ECCF in July, support from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund now totals more than $4 million.

“The impact of this $4 million on Essex County nonprofit organizations working so hard to help people weather this storm has been incredible,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “We are so grateful to First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8Foundation for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many.”

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund’s final wave of funding to ECCF helped to aid Essex County nonprofits with direct distribution of financial relief to underserved and vulnerable populations across the region.

“The $650,000 was used for basic necessities like food and rental assistance,” said Lavoie Schuster. “Because of the devastating economic fallout of COIVD-19, there are still so many people out there who are facing – and will continue to face for some time – food insecurity and the threat of homelessness.”

These funds, combined with $30,000 direct from the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund for supplemental support for youth summer programs, marked the final round of ECCF COVID-19 emergency grants.

[See the list of nonprofit organizations awarded grants during this final round of emergency funding.]

In addition to basic necessities and youth programming, since March, emergency grants from the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund have also focused on mental health, substance use disorders, emergency shelter and emergency childcare.

On July 1, ECCF moved to an open application cycle to provide funding to nonprofits serving the most vulnerable and insecure residents in three distinct areas:

“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.

For more information, please visit

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

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


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