Danvers, MA — Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), a nonprofit working to improve the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, is pleased to announce the recipients of the second round of open application grants from our Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund.
The grants, which total $320,000 and are focused in the area of economic security, have been awarded to individual nonprofit organizations and nonprofit collaborations serving our most vulnerable residents, many of whom remain in crisis due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated so many of the economic challenges that people were facing long before the pandemic struck,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s vice president for grants, nonprofit and donor services. “Particularly for immigrants, communities of color, seniors and low-income residents, access to food and housing and the ability to find stable work has been compromised even further.”
The Greater Boston Food Bank, a food supplier to many local agencies, recently estimated that 1 in 8 people in Eastern Massachusetts will experience food insecurity in 2020 due to COVID-19. In a study released earlier this month, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council reported that 80,000 households in Massachusetts will struggle to cover housing costs. And with the Essex County unemployment rate still hovering at near 11%, it’s increasingly difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
“This phase of the Fund serves to prioritize organizations that have pivoted and innovated in significant ways to address community needs. We are also working to incentivize local systemic approaches that address structural inequities,” said Lavoie Schuster. “These grants will help to address the most basic needs of so many Essex County residents by supporting the work of our local nonprofits who are on the front lines of these challenges every day.”
Thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners, more than $5 million was awarded to nonprofits from the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund from March through June. This support was in the form of rapid response grants that were unrestricted and responsive to basic needs arising from the pandemic. In July, ECCF announced that it would move to the open application cycle.
Earlier this month, ECCF announced $300,000 in first-round health grants. Next month, the foundation will announce third-round grants focused on youth and education. The application period for all impact areas is now closed.
“It’s been 32 weeks since the start of the pandemic, and over the course of the last eight months, we’ve seen some incredible work by our local nonprofits to help Essex County residents during their greatest time of need,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “ECCF is so proud to support their efforts.”
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.