Danvers, MA — Over the next four months, Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), which serves the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, will distribute $1.2 million to select area nonprofits serving and supporting those most vulnerable to the devastating effects of the pandemic.
This new wave of COVID aid is made possible by the Baker-Polito Administration’s $10 million Community Foundations Grant Program for COVID-19 Relief. Announced in late November, the program is being administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Department of Housing and Community Development through community foundations across the state.
“This pandemic has created challenges for families across Massachusetts, including food insecurity, housing instability, and a lack of childcare, and these grants build on the Commonwealth’s efforts to help residents access these essential services and items,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy in the state’s announcement.
ECCF is one of 14 Massachusetts community foundations to apply for and receive a portion of the $10 million, and it will leverage this vital state support to meet the basic needs of Essex County residents, including housing, utilities, food security, emergency childcare, technology for remote learning and transportation.
“Like other Massachusetts community foundations, ECCF has developed a deep knowledge of and trusted relationships with the nonprofits in our service area and is therefore in a unique position to deliver state funds locally,” said ECCF President and CEO Beth Francis, who also serves as the co-chair of the new Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership. “Over the last nine months, ECCF has worked with so many incredible nonprofit organizations that have effectively and efficiently navigated the continuing challenges faced by Essex County’s cities and towns.”
“Our local nonprofits have really been the boots on the ground since the pandemic began, and we are so thrilled to have these additional resources, which will help them continue their critical work for residents in our region,” added Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s vice president for grants, nonprofit and donor services.
ECCF will partner with its previous COVID relief grantee-organizations, which have the infrastructure to deliver this critical funding to those who need it most; there will be no open application process. In addition, these grants will be distributed in accordance with state guidelines.
“ECCF will administer these funds specific to a set of outcomes the Commonwealth is striving to achieve in reaching underserved and hard-hit individuals and families across the state,” said Lavoie Schuster. “The nonprofit partners that will deliver this aid have a history of serving low-income, non-English speaking communities where residents have seen deep economic hardship and have had limited or no access to other economic relief.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to intensify, ECCF remains committed to working closely with local nonprofits to monitor Essex County’s ever-changing needs and seeking out ways to meet the inevitable challenges that will continue to arise for its residents.
“While we anxiously await the vaccine, we know the economic effects of COVID-19 will persist into the foreseeable future,” said Francis. “But ECCF will also persist in our work to bring people together to rise up to the challenges we face together.”
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.