Community Foundation Awards $860K in New Grants for Immigrant Populations Impacted by COVID-19

Grants target organizations that provide direct financial assistance to individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Springfield—The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) has awarded $859,560 in grants to 18 nonprofit organizations in the region providing direct financial assistance and support to immigrant and non-English speaking individuals and families experiencing severe economic
hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These emergency grants targeted organizations who have programs in place to provide assistance to individuals and families quickly, including undocumented immigrants who may not have received CARES Act benefits. The funds can be used for vital services such as food security, housing and utilities support, emergency childcare and transportation.

This funding was provided through the Community Foundations Grant Program for COVID-19 Relief, administered by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the Department of Housing and Community Development. Learn more at

Grantees were selected based on their ability to get assistance to individuals and families immediately, particularly in the state’s Gateway Cities which include Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield and Westfield.

The Pioneer Valley Workers Center is one local organization that received a grant in the most recent round, which provides direct support to immigrant families through its Solidarity Fund, which grants money to be used for rent, food, or household costs, and through its Mutual Aid food distributions in
Springfield, Northampton, Holyoke and Turners/Great Falls.

According to Lead Organizer and Co-Director Margaret Sawyer, “Our organization is dedicated to building worker power. During the time of the pandemic, it has been clear to us that part of building power right now is related to supporting each other through this difficult time of fewer work
opportunities and little systemic support. We thank the Community Foundation for supporting this work.”

According to Katie Zobel, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, “We are grateful to the state legislature for partnering with us to distribute funds immediately to organizations serving our immigrant communities. These organizations are trusted providers to many individuals and families that were ineligible or unable to access federal benefits or whose needs are evolving as this health and economic crisis continues. Trust is essential for those who may be reluctant to seek assistance, including undocumented immigrants, so the Foundation is proud to partner with community organizations who have built that trust.”

Grant recipients include:
Arise (Springfield); Caring Health Center (Springfield); Catholic Charities Agency (Springfield); Center for New Americans (Northampton); Community Upliftment Program (Springfield); Enlace de Familias de Holyoke; Gandara Mental Health Center (West Springfield); Holyoke/Chicopee/Springfield Head Start (Springfield); Home City Development (Springfield); International Language Institute of Massachusetts (Northampton); Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (Springfield); Montague Catholic Social Ministries (Turners Falls); New North Citizens’ Council (Springfield); Pioneer Valley Workers Center (Northampton); Rivera & Rivera Act Against Foreclosure (Springfield); Somali Bantu Community of Springfield (Springfield); The Literacy Project (Greenfield); Valley Opportunity Council (Chicopee).

CFWM’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been multifaceted. To date, CFWM has leveraged almost $12 million in gifts for COVID grantmaking to nonprofits in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.

In March 2020, CFWM began grantmaking to respond to the pandemic, providing emergency grants to support nonprofits serving those most vulnerable to the crisis. That emergency grantmaking continues.

In October 2020, CFWM made Stabilization Grants to 70 nonprofits that had been negatively impacted by the pandemic financially. CFWM has also provided non-monetary support through trainings for nonprofits. In response to the deep impact on local artists, CFWM’s ValleyCreates program has provided training and capital grants to artists.

More than 700 donors, including individuals, foundations, businesses and $4.4 million from the statewide Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, have contributed to CFWM’s COVID-19 Response Fund. Donors continue to give to the fund every week. Gifts can be made online at:

CFWM also re-launched Valley Gives in 2020, the “one-stop-giving” online platform, to connect donors with local nonprofits struggling to provide vital community programs and services—particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Formerly a single giving day event, ValleyGives will remain “open” for 2021 and
will give nonprofits a needed fundraising boost.

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 $163 million, CFWM serves 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