Boston Strong news Boston, MA: Office of the Mayor reports 4.15.2020.

BOSTON – Wednesday, April 15, 2020 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee today announced the distribution of an additional $1.7 million in funds to support 18 organizations that provide critical services and support to residents, vulnerable populations and Boston families whose wellbeing is most immediately impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This round of funding is aimed at driving the City’s equity goals and meets the evolving needs of the community by prioritizing expanded access to testing at community based health centers, and increasing support for family shelters, recovery services, and community-based organizations that are actively working to support residents in neighborhoods experiencing higher rates of COVID-19. To date, including this most recent funding award, the Boston Resiliency Fund has distributed $12 million in 55 emergency grants to 115 organizations. 

“Through the Boston Resiliency Fund, we are harnessing the generosity of Boston’s residents and businesses and we’re making sure those resources go where they will make the biggest, most immediate impact as we deal with this crisis,” said Mayor Walsh. “The organizations receiving these grants do incredible work for the people of Boston and these grants will allow them to expand their reach, and help even more people. I am incredibly proud and thankful for everyone’s generosity as we come together to support one another during these difficult times.”

Since its creation in March, the Boston Resiliency Fund has raised over $25 million from over 3,500 individual donors. The Fund will continue accepting donations from individuals, organizations and philanthropic partners who wish to contribute and offer their support, and 100 percent of donations will be awarded to local organizations, with the majority of future grants to be made throughout April and May. Organizations are encouraged to complete a statement of interest to be considered for future grants.

Today, 18 organizations will receive grants to expand their capacity or adjust their service model to meet the immediate needs of Boston residents during this public health emergency. 63 percent of the organizations receiving grants today are led by a person of color, and 63 percent are women-led organizations. 

“Codman Square Health Center is grateful to the Boston Resiliency Fund for providing this grant to expand access to testing in our community,” said Sandra Cotterell, Chief Executive Officer of Codman Square Health Center, “Based on initial data collected by the City of Boston, we know that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting people of color and people living in certain neighborhoods. These funds will allow us, and other community health centers receiving grant funds, to ensure access to neighborhood-based testing, and identify ways to prevent spread.”  

“Together, we can do more than any of us can alone,” said Michael K. Durkin, President and Chief Executive Officer at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  “We have seen an unprecedented demand for food, supplies and other basic needs during this crisis, and the organizations that make up the Boston Family Shelter Collaborative are in the best position to efficiently and effectively respond and meet the needs of the families they are in contact with and serving every day.  We are proud to partner with Mayor Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund to ensure our most vulnerable families have access to critical resources and support.”

The grants range in size and will be awarded to the following organizations:

  • Six community health centers in neighborhoods seeing higher incidences of COVID-19 to expand their testing capabilities for residents. Please note: The East Boston Community Health Center received funding in the first round of fund distribution and will be expanding their testing to East Boston clients, in addition to first responders. The six organizations include:
  • Boston Family Shelter Collaborative (Fiscal Sponsor: United Way) supports 38 family shelter programs in Boston. This grant will support each program in being able to purchase grocery store gift cards for families, meet the telecommunications needs of families, and supply them with basic hygiene necessities.
    • Shelter agencies include: Atask, Brookview House, Casa Nueva Vida, Catholic Charities, Children’s Services of Roxbury, Crossroads Family Shelter, Dimock Community Health Center, Economic Mobility Pathways, Elizabeth Stone House, FamilyAid Boston, Fenix House, Hildebrand Family Self-Help, Middlesex Human Service Agency, Project Hope, Sojourner House. St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, Victory Programs, and YMCA of Greater Boston. Casa Myrna and Heading Home received separate grants from the Boston Resiliency Fund in previous funding rounds.
  • Boston Girls Empowerment Network will coordinate a culturally competent response for Afro-Heritage immigrant and refugee women by connecting them to ethnic food distribution sites near their home, enhancing food pantries with feminine hygiene kids, and creating virtual support circles.
  • Brazilian Worker Center Inc. will partner with designated sites around the City that serve vulnerable populations to make these spaces safe, healthy, and disease-free. These sites will be open to residents without options for sanitary and hygiene needs. This grant will support qualified, trained cleaners in these spaces for one month. 
  • Dimock Community Health Center will stand up a quarantine/isolation space for men and women with substance use disorder from their residential recovery program, staffed with a nurse, case managers and residential staff.
  • Elevate Boston, in partnership with Families for Justice as Healing, will be able to sustain efforts to provide hot meals, non-perishables, groceries, toiletries, sanitizer, and gift cards to students, elders and families in need.
  • Mothers for Justice and Equality, Inc., will address client’s needs by providing gift cards, in addition to online services such as workshops, check-ins, support groups, and case management. 
  • Mujeres Unidas Avanzando will purchase grocery store gift cards for students and their families so that they can buy the food and other necessities that they most need. MUA serves students and families from Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roslindale, and Roxbury.
  • Project RIGHT, Inc. will provide grocery store gift cards for mothers with infants and toddlers to ensure that families have formula, diapers, wipes and other sanitary products.
  • RIZE Massachusetts Foundation, Inc. will support front-line health care workers and harm reduction programs serving people with substance use disorder. RIZE will provide a 100% match grant, leveraging the Boston Resiliency Fund’s investment, to increase infection control for on-street populations by funding additional handwashing stations, providing operational support for harm reduction and street outreach staff, and helping unhoused clients to complete quarantine/isolation.
  • St. Francis House serves 400 guests daily at its day shelter, and this grant will allow them to continue providing food and clean clothes to guests despite increased costs in those services, and also meet the cost of additional staffing needs. With this grant, St. Francis House will now be able to offer mental health counseling and showers to guests on weekends. 
  • Urban Guild Inc. will purchase, distribute, and coordinate food and supplies, as well as mental health and wellness supports, to Boston residents
  • Voice of Tabernacle Multiservice Center will use funds to deliver food and support to older residents who are not able to come and pick up their own food.

Since its formation, the Fund has raised more than $25 million from over 3,500 individual donors, with commitments of $1 million or above from Berkshire Partners, Michelle and Bob Atchinson, Bain Capital, Bank of America, Paul and Sandy Edgerly, John & Cyndy Fish / Suffolk, Gross Family Foundation, John Hancock, Liberty Mutual, Partners HealthCare, and the Vertex Foundation. Over 70 percent of donors to the Boston Resiliency Fund have contributed under $100.

A Steering Committee was established after the Fund’s formation to provide direct oversight and funding recommendations based on statement of interests received. The three-member committee includes Jack Connors, Jr., Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare, and Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD, Executive Chairman of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Goodwin Law serves as pro bono legal counsel to the Fund. The review committee, which reviews applications and provides recommendations to the Steering Committee, is composed of more than 25 representatives from City departments.

As the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are quickly evolving and potentially long-lasting, the City and the Steering Committee will work closely with non-profit partners and service providers to understand how their needs will change. As a result, the priorities of the fund may change as the needs of Boston residents evolve.

The Boston Resiliency Fund exists within the Boston Charitable Trust, an existing 501(c)(3) designated trust fund managed by the City of Boston’s Treasury Department. For more information on how to make a donation, please visit: boston.gov/resiliency-fund. For general inquiries, please email brf@boston.gov.

To learn more about other funds serving Boston nonprofits, please visit Philanthropy Massachusetts’ resource page. In addition, the COVID-19 Response Fund at The Boston Foundation and the COVID-19 Family Support Fund at the United Way are working to rapidly distribute resources to organizations and individuals in Greater Boston that are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus outbreak.