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Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund

Relief and Recovery


In the wake of the devastating Columbia Gas explosions on Sept. 13, Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) established the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund (GLDRF) at the request of Governor Charlie Baker, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, and North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor. The Fund was established to serve the short- and medium-term shelter and sustenance concerns of residents and businesses of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover who were part of the 8,570 Columbia Gas customers who were negatively affected by the gas pipeline surge on September 13, 2018.  As of January 2019, the majority of funds donated to the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund – $12 million – have been granted to two lead nonprofits that provided resources to the residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover affected by the Sept. 13 gas disaster.


Grant Guidelines

See details below.
Fund Overview

To ensure the remaining assets are utilized to benefit affected residents, the Fund advisors for GLDRF have established a final “Relief and Recovery” responsive grant cycle. This responsive grantmaking program invites nonprofits as well as the municipalities of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover to apply for grants of up to $20,000 to develop or expand programs that directly impact affected residents of the gas crisis.

This is a final responsive grant cycle. Our intention is that this opportunity will:

  • Positively impact affected residents to ensure their ability to return to normalcy
  • Create new and expanded opportunities to support residents in the medium- to long-term over the next 12 months
  • Expand services in areas including but not limited to: safety, disaster preparedness, behavioral health, housing, financial planning, and food security
  • Contribute to the long-term relief and recovery of individuals and families
  • Fund programs/projects now and for the next 12 months to address the continued needs of those affected by the gas crisis.


Funding Priorities

Grant requests must be consistent with the purpose of the program and could include requests for:

New programs that address continued need related to the gas crisis (*see examples below); • Expansion of pre-existing programs that offer assistance to those affected by the gas crisis; • Supplies, materials, facility rentals (for purposes of programming), staffing, and consultants.

Examples could include but are not limited to (all must be related to the gas crisis):

  • Trauma support
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Training for trauma and disaster preparedness staff and volunteers
  • Extended food programs
  • PTSD Support groups
  • Housing or advocacy workshops

Each municipality or nonprofit is eligible to apply for up to $20,000.

These grants are designed to be a one-time, one-year grant for funding within the next 12 months, however, longer-term proposals are welcome.

Joint applications will be accepted.


Applications are welcome from both 501(c)(3) organizations as well as projects initiated by the City of Lawrence, the Town of Andover, and the Town of North Andover. It is not required that nonprofits applying be based in Andover, North Andover or Lawrence (although preference will be given to those who are based in the three communities) but must directly impact affected residents of the gas crisis. Each program/project is required to apply individually; however, joint applications are allowed in instances where there is collaboration for greater impact. Appropriate municipal approval is required per each application.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the funding priorities listed above, grant reviewers also look for the following:

  • Clearly defined objectives that will positively impact affected residents
  • The potential impact of the proposed work on the population served
  • Quality of programming
  • Management staff with considerable administrative experience
  • Fiscally sound programs/organizations with balanced budgets

Grants will not be awarded:

  • Directly to individuals
  • For sectarian or religious purposes. Note: GLDRF is limited to non-sectarian programming for residents of all religious and ethnic backgrounds. Programs sponsored by religious organizations are eligible, provided that service is open to all and the program is free of mandatory religious instruction, worship, or other sectarian activities.
  • For political purposes
  • For debt or deficit reduction
  • For capital campaigns for buildings, land acquisition, or endowment
  • To support academic research
Application Deadline

Proposals must be submitted online by no later than Friday, December 13, 2019, at 5 PM.

Application Procedure

Proposals must be submitted through ECCF’s Application Portal.

If you do not yet have a login for our application Portal, please read our Grant Application Process page which will give you access to the Portal.

Review Process

ECCF staff, together with a grant review committee and Fund advisors, will review proposals to the Fund. The committee makes grant recommendations to the ECCF Board of Trustees for approval. Our goal is to notify applicants of grant decisions by mid-April.

Proposals that do not meet deadlines or guidelines will be screened out by the ECCF staff and receive early notification.

An ECCF staff person may contact applicants for additional information about a proposal or to arrange a site visit during the review process. The staff may also contact other funders, community leaders, or other local agencies to learn more about the organization applying for funds and to discuss the outlined plans. Copies of proposals submitted to ECCF may be shared with others during the review process.

Reporting Requirements

Grantees of the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund must submit a final report at the close of the grant.



December 13, at 5pm


Up to $20,000


Limited to programs serving people directly affected by the gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on September 13th, 2018.


Final reports should be submitted through the Application Portal.

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Carol Lavoie Schuster headshot

Carol Lavoie Schuster

Vice President for Grants and Services
(978) 777-8876 x133

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