Community Foundation Announces $150,000 Grant to Healing Racism Institute

Springfield—The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) has announced a grant of $150,000, spread over the next three years, to the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley (HRIPV). The grant represents a significant contribution to the initiative’s capital drive to raise $1 million in commitments now to support and build capacity for the organization over the next three years. 

The multi-year strategic grant is part of CFWM’s ongoing commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplaces and promote equitable growth in the region. The funding will support HRIPV’s capacity in engaging communities across the state of Massachusetts in its signature two-day training. HRIPV has been in existence since 2012 and has had over 1,000 community members participate in its programming. 

Funds from the capital drive have also allowed HRIPV to develop a comprehensive online and virtual series of trainings and programming. The Healing Racism initiative will also be resuming in-person training sessions in July. Members of the community interested in participating can learn more and register online at:

The first $50,000 grant to HRIPV will occur in July 2021. According to the Community Foundation, the multi-year funding approach will guarantee revenue stability while HRIPV meets demands for its services and continues its capital campaign efforts. 

Katie Allan Zobel, President and CEO of the Foundation, said, “As an alumna of HRIPV’s two-day anti-racism training, I know what a powerful experience it is. I have seen firsthand the transformation in the community that HRIPV has catalyzed. That is why the Foundation is investing in them to help expand their capacity for the future.” 

“We recognize the critical role HRIPV can play in creating shared understanding, connecting diverse members of our community, and dismantling systems that perpetuate inequalities. I’m optimistic about our partnership with HRIPV and encourage others to join us to work together toward a more equitable region,” she added. 

This award will also help HRIPV build its internal infrastructure and capacity to assist in ensuring HRIPV’s sustainability efforts.  

Paul Murphy, Chair of the CFWM Board of Trustees, said, “The Healing Racism Institute is a recognized leader in promoting anti-racism within the Valley.  We welcome the opportunity to partner with HRIPV in the expansion of its transformative program. We’re delighted to grant this funding as part of our commitment to invest and foster racial equity in our communities.”  

The Institute is led by Vanessa Otero, one of the co-founders of HRIPV and an original member of the Board until assuming the position of Interim Director of the Institute in 2020.  

Dr. Frank Robinson, Board Chair of HRIPV, said, “We welcome and celebrate this crucial grant for the important work we are doing to create more equitable communities and see the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts as a critical partner in that work.” 

About HRIPV HRIPV works to build a racism-free community. Founded in 2012, HRIPV has engaged over 1,000 individuals and 200 organizations across nearly 20 sectors through its signature two-day seminars held in the Valley and in Greater Boston. The Institute provides a safe environment to learn about the impact of racism on communities and individuals and offers a process that is engaging and transformative. Learn more at

About Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Founded in 1991, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts seeks to enrich the quality of life for the people of our region. With assets totaling $200 million, CFWM supports the three counties bordering the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts (Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties) by serving as a resource, catalyst, and coordinator for charitable activities. To learn more, visit