Among the many facets of life that COVID-19 has impacted, food security remains at the top of the list in Essex County.
Today, Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) is pleased to announce a new grant program for qualified nonprofit organizations working to support Essex County residents experiencing food insecurity due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, ECCF will administer $3.1 million in CARES Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Food Security Program funding to food pantries, meals programs, farm-to-pantry programs and other trusted organizations serving a majority low-income population.
The grants are meant to bolster the overall infrastructure of Essex County’s food delivery system.
“The thing that is exciting about this funding is that it’s a recognition of the larger complexities of the entire food ecosystem,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s vice president for grants, nonprofit and donor services. “In addition to food, this support is going to allow us to invest in things like trucks, freezers, staffing or rent. This is a game changer from a systems approach because it will expand access to fresh, healthy food to those who need it most.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ECCF has supported 104,000 families struggling with hunger by granting nearly $4 million to local nonprofits working to end food insecurity.
The new funding is part of a statewide $27 million push to the Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) and 13 community foundations – organizations that have a long history of partnership and collaboration with local nonprofit agencies.
“Massachusetts municipalities and communities have shown great resiliency in the face of unprecedented challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud to put another $27 million to work for those who need it most,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito in an early announcement about the funding. “We applaud the work of these community foundations, MASSCAP and so many other organizations helping people across Massachusetts.”
“Community foundations have a strong working knowledge of the organizations that are doing the most effective work in the communities we serve,” said Lavoie Schuster. “This is why our funding partnership with the state makes so much sense. They can rely on us to make grant decisions and truly partner with them in a way that will have the greatest impact.”
The grant application deadline is set for Feb. 21 and award notifications will be sent out on Feb. 25. Anyone with questions about this new grant program should contact Carol Lavoie Schuster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 growing family of nearly 260 charitable funds have granted $120 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.