Springfield—The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts has announced new grants to 26 local nonprofits through the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley totaling $725K, targeting employment assistance, food insecurity, homelessness and foreclosure prevention, and addressing immediate needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Including this latest round, the Response Fund has awarded more than $5.5 million in grants to nonprofits in Western Massachusetts that are on the front lines of serving vulnerable populations affected by the crisis. The statewide Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund has provided $4.3 million in funding to support the Community Foundation’s response to the pandemic crisis in our region.
Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts is one recipient in the latest grant round. Located in Springfield, Dress for Success has utilized grant funds from the COVID-19 Response Fund to address the barrier of the digital divide during the pandemic. According to Margaret Tantillo, Executive Director of Dress for Success, “As soon as the Governor announced shelter in place, we picked up the phone – we spoke directly to our participants and asked them about their current needs. We quickly found that 1) the digital divide was a barrier to women accessing online trainings and work opportunities and 2) we had to take all of our programs online.
“Funding from the Community Foundation has allowed us to maintain our staffing levels so we can address both of these issues. We are able to continue to deliver our quality programs and add a new program around digital literacy. The women in our community are going play an essential role in the economic recovery, and we are providing the essential tools to help women maintain their employment and/or reenter the workforce when businesses start reopening.”
Rivera and Rivera Acts Against Foreclosure, located in Springfield, serves populations that have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization will use grant funds to address food security by feeding the homeless and the community. According to Marisol Feliciano, President, “We feed and serve the community daily while providing breakfast and lunch, clothing, personal hygiene products, diapers, undergarments, to underprivileged populations. This funding will help our program provide these services for the next six weeks.”
The 26 nonprofits that received grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund from the Pioneer Valley are:
· Amherst Community Connections
· Amherst Survival Center
· Brick House Community Resource Center
· Center for New Americans
· Chicopee Boys & Girls Club
· Community Upliftment Program
· Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts
· Franklin and North Quabbin Children’s Advocacy Center
· Franklin County Community Meals Program
· Mary Lyon Education Foundation
· Mental Health Association
· Montague Catholic Social Ministries
· Pioneer Valley Project
· Pioneer Valley Workers Center
· Project New Hope
· Public Health Institute of Western MA
· Rivera and Rivera Acts Against Foreclosure
· Safe Passage
· Springfield Partners for Community Action
· St. Mary’s Parish
· Sunshine Village
· United Service Organization of Pioneer Valley
· Valley Opportunity Council
· Wheelhouse Farm
· The Westfield State Foundation
The Response Fund has raised $7.6 million from 650 donors, including foundations, businesses and individuals, and resources from the statewide Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund supports those across the state most impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis, focusing on essential frontline workers and vulnerable populations, including the homeless, immigrant populations, people with disabilities and those facing food insecurity. The Fund works in concert with regional community foundations and nonprofit leaders who partner with local leaders to understand the response and relief landscape, strategically filling in where gaps are pronounced.
According to Katie Allan Zobel, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, “The pandemic is adversely impacting individuals, families and communities in the region. This round of grants includes funds to address the economic instability that many are facing.”
The COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley was established to provide grants to community nonprofit organizations serving the needs of the most vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic in Western Massachusetts.
The Community Foundation welcomes additional donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. 100% of donations go to community needs. Gifts can be made online at: www.communityfoundation.org/covid19.