Community Foundation Makes Unprecedented Grants of $700,000 Through Newly-Established COVID-19 Response Fund

(March 27, 2020) The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) today announced the release of its first grants, totaling $700,000, to community organizations and nonprofits from its recently-established COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley.

The Response Fund has raised $2,480,000 from local philanthropic and business organizations and over 50 individuals.

The first round of funding to support local response to the crisis includes:

  • $190,000 to distribute food through the region’s system of food pantries
  • $120,000 to address the needs of vulnerable elders, including home-delivered meals
  • $120,000 to provide critical health services and outreach through the Valley’s federally-designated Community Health Centers
  • $150,000 to provide shelter for those without homes and those impacted by domestic violence
  • $120,000 to provide flexible supports to the region’s lowest income families and individuals

Organizations receiving funding include:

  1. Caring Health Center
  2. Catholic Charities Agency- Diocese of Springfield
  3. Center for Human Development
  4. Community Action Pioneer Valley
  5. Community Health Center of Franklin County
  6. Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
  7. Friends of the Homeless, Clinical & Support Options
  8. Greater Springfield Senior Services
  9. Highland Valley Elder Services
  10. Hilltown Community Health Center
  11. Holyoke Health Center
  12. LifePath
  13. New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT)
  14. Safe Passage
  15. ServiceNet
  16. Springfield Partners for Community Action
  17. Springfield Rescue Mission
  18. Valley Opportunity Council
  19. WestMass ElderCare
  20. Womanshelter Companeras
  21. YWCA of Western Massachusetts

According to Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, more grants are expected to be announced and released next week to respond to emerging needs.

“These initial grants will support urgent and immediate needs of those most vulnerable and adversely affected by this unprecedented crisis and those who have been most impacted by inequity. Through the generosity of our community and the establishment of this response fund, we are helping those in need living in the 69 cities and towns that make up Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties,” Zobel said.

Zobel said next week’s round of grants will likely include health services to organizations serving those with particular health vulnerabilities due to factors such as mental illness, compromised immune systems or addiction.

Given the long-term impact of the crisis and the evolving community needs, the Community Foundation and its partners will continue to raise funds and make grants over the next several months.

“We are encouraging our business community and individuals to consider contributing to the fund as the urgent needs for support continues to grow,” Zobel said.

Entities contributing to the fund thus far include:

  • bankESB
  • Berkshire Bank
  • Beveridge Family Foundation
  • BIG Y
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts
  • Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation
  • Dietz & Co. Architects
  • Greenfield Cooperative Bank/Northampton Cooperative Bank
  • Keady, Foard, Montemagni, UBS Wealth Management
  • MassMutual
  • PeoplesBank
  • TD Charitable Foundation
  • Westfield Bank

In subsequent phases, grants will be made to address needs of nonprofit organizations that have been financially impacted by the crisis.

The Community Foundation welcomes additional donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. Gifts can be made online here.

“The COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley is designed to pool community giving and apply the Community Foundation’s expertise and experience to make grants that help our community effectively respond to the crisis. During this time we also encourage our community members to give directly to those nonprofits you know and trust that are being impacted now or that are responding to the COVID-19 crisis,” Zobel said.