December 7, 2020
ECCF Awards $810,000 to Youth and Education Nonprofits

Final round of Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund grants address learning loss, opportunity gaps, mental health and more

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 third and final round of open application grants from our Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund.

The grants, which total $810,000 and focus on education and youth, have been awarded to individual nonprofit organizations and nonprofit collaborations serving vulnerable young people, who continue to face unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These include learning loss, opportunity gaps, the social-emotional effects of isolation and, for some, abuse in the home.

Many local school districts are reporting a sharp increase in failure rates due to remote learning, and educators are witnessing the severe impact that isolation is having on students’ mental health.

“It is really difficult to be a young person in general right now,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s vice president for grants, nonprofit and donor services. “You can’t see your friends. You’re learning from home and are limited in what you can do outside of the home. But if you’re a young person living in poverty or an abusive household, or are a student with diverse learning needs, your worries, fears and challenges are being multiplied exponentially.”

This ground of grants to youth and education organizations represents and third and final phase of open application funding from ECCF’s Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund. With this phase, open application funding – which began in July and was designed prioritize organizations that have pivoted and innovates in significant ways to address community needs – now tops $1.4 million.


[Please see the attached list of nonprofit organizations and collaborations that received grants in the amount of $5,000 – $50,000 in this third round of our open grant cycle.]


From March through June, more than $5 million was awarded in unrestricted rapid response grants, which addressed immediate basic needs such as hunger, emergency shelter and healthcare.


“We really need to take this opportunity to once again thank our donors and partners, without whom none of this would be possible,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis. “There is still so much work to be done to address the devastating effects of this nearly year-long pandemic, but we know there are so many people all over Essex County with a continued willingness to help. Essex County is resilient, and  together, we’ll persist in finding solutions to ensure all residents have the opportunity to thrive.”


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

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