CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC DISASTER – Boston Resiliency Fund provides emergency grants to food access and healthcare system support for Boston residents
Boston Strong news – Boston, MA: Office of the Mayor reports 3.27.2020
Less than 10 days after it was first launched in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Boston Resiliency Fund has surpassed its goal of raising $20 million. The Fund was established last Monday as a means to provide essential services to first responders, critical care providers and Boston families whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by COVID-19. 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.
To meet the emergency needs, the Fund today will distribute $5.4 million in immediate grant support to eight local organizations that provide critical support to residents, including access to food and support for healthcare systems that serve Boston residents.
“I am incredibly proud to see the generosity of the people and organizations of Boston who have come together during this time of crisis to support one another,” said Mayor Walsh. “These grants will allow the local organizations in our community to provide critical services and scale up their operations to meet the needs of Boston’s most vulnerable residents.”
The three initial priorities set for the Boston Resiliency Fund to meet the most immediate needs of residents are: (1) ensuring Boston’s children, families and seniors have access to food, (2) supporting first responders, front-line workers, and healthcare workers to promote public health, and (3) provide technology to Boston students for remote learning.
Today, the following organizations will receive major grants to expand their capacity to provide Boston’s children, families and seniors with access to food at home or at pick-up meal sites around the City:
- Greater Boston Food Bank: The Greater Boston Food Bank will expand its capacity to continue receiving and distributing healthy food to those in need in Boston.
- Ethos: Ethos regularly delivers over 8,000 meals to homebound and isolated elders each day through its Meals on Wheels program, and will increase its capacity to do home delivery during the pandemic.
- About Fresh / Fresh Truck: Fresh Truck will partner with Katsiroubas Brothers, YMCA and Office of Food Access on its delivery of fresh produce and groceries.
- Community Servings: Community Servings provides medically tailored, nutritious, scratch-made meals to chronically and critically ill individuals and their families, and will expand their food delivery to these populations during the pandemic.
- Project Bread: Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline is the statewide resource for people looking to access food resources and has seen a four fold increase in calls during the pandemic. This grant will support the increase in staff needed to field calls and direct Boston residents to the services they need.
The following organizations will receive major grants to expand capacity of healthcare systems to serve those who are particularly vulnerable and their complex needs, in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission:
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless: BHCHP has rapidly shifted its focus to include new screening and testing initiatives, creating isolation units, and operating the new medical tents that were created by the City of Boston with the support of Suffolk Construction.
- Boston Medical Center: BMC will utilize this grant to provide expanded care for its patients, increase support for its medical providers and staff, and sustain safe, effective, and efficient hospital operations as they operate in additional temporary facilities.
- Pine Street Inn: Pine Street Inn provides a comprehensive range of services to 2,000 men and women experiencing homelessness every day. During this pandemic, Pine Street Inn staff are increasing cleaning of their facilities and working with the Boston Public Health Commission to staff quarantine sites for people experiencing homelessness.
In addition, as a result of a $2 million grant from the Fund, along with $3.5 million in City resources, the Boston Public Schools was able to purchase 20,000 Chromebooks for students last week, which are now being distributed to students across the district in grades 3-12 who don’t have access to a computer at home.
Since its formation, the Fund has raised more than $20 million from over 1,800 donors, with commitments of $1 million or above from Berkshire Partners, Michelle and Bob Atchinson, Bank of America, Bain Capital, Paul and Sandy Edgerly, John & Cyndy Fish / Suffolk, Gross Family Foundation, John Hancock, Liberty Mutual, Partners HealthCare, and the Vertex Foundation.
In addition, a Steering Committee was established to provide direct oversight and funding recommendations for the Boston Resiliency Fund. The three-member committee includes Jack Connors, Jr., Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare, and Jeffrey Leiden, MD, PhD, Chairman, President and CEO of Vertex. Goodwin Law serves as pro bono legal counsel to the Fund.
“People across the city need immediate support to meet their most basic needs during this crisis,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee member. “Our goal is to direct the generosity of the public and our philanthropic community as quickly as possible to the organizations positioned to take immediate action in meeting those needs.”
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 majority of future grants will be made in April and May and organizations are encouraged to complete a statement of interest to be considered for future grants. Updates on the Fund will be posted on boston.gov/resiliency-fund.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.