Boston Foundation announces first 15 grants from COVID-19 Response Fund: East Boston group among grantees


Fund has raised more than $2.2 million; TBF donors have granted over $3 million to support COVID-19 efforts from donor advised funds

(BOSTON, March 31, 2020) – The Boston Foundation today announced the first round of grantees from the COVID-19 Response Fund at the Boston Foundation, the community foundation’s effort to raise millions of dollars in support for Greater Boston nonprofits at the front lines of support for thousands of residents feeling the greatest impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Foundation today announces 15 grantees, each of whom will receive a $25,000 general operating support grant. The Foundation is working to award new grants on a rolling weekly basis during the coronavirus crisis, even as large and small donations continue to come in.

“The COVID-19 Fund is designed to be a rapid response solution to the ongoing challenge facing nonprofits who find themselves taxed to provide high levels of service and have been forced to cancel or suspend fundraising events that provide needed operating support,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The selected organizations are deeply embedded in the fabric of their communities. They inspire us – and we know they are just a sampling of the work we can and must support moving forward.”

The first grantees from the COVID-19 Response Fund include: Agencia ALPHA, Asian Community Development Corporation, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Centro Presente, Inc., Community Servings, Inc., Friends of the Children – Boston, Heading Home, La Alianza Hispana, Inc., Lawyers for Civil Rights, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Maverick Landing Community Services, The Record Co., Union Capital Boston, and Violence in Boston. 

“This first group of grantees provide a diversity of leadership, strategy and experience that represents the heart and soul of Greater Boston’s nonprofit community,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Programs at the Boston Foundation. “They are not only doing remarkable work in the region, they reflect the best of the region in all its many faces, as we strive to both address the many needs made evident by the pandemic and foster greater racial equity in Boston.

Eleven of the 15 organizations are headed by women; ten of the 15 leaders identify as people of color. They each work in support of communities of color, immigrants, seniors, children and the homeless, among others. More details of each grantee’s work can be found at the end of this media release.

Fundraising for the Fund has reached well over $2 million, in addition to a seed grant from the Boston Foundation of $250,000. Boston Foundation program staff and a review team led by senior managers and Boston Foundation  Directors have established the grant application and review process and are conducting the ongoing review of applications and selections.

To date, the Fund has received about 400 requests for funding to date; as the fund is considering applications on a rolling basis, eligible nonprofits need only apply once.

Major donors to the COVID-19 Response Fund have included the Nike Foundation, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, the BJ’s Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo, Comcast, Plymouth Rock Foundation, and the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. In addition, Boston Foundation donor advised funds have donated well over $3 million to COVID-19 related efforts at nonprofits and foundations, including a $1 million grantmaking effort by the Waldron Charitable Fund.

Grantees List:

Each grantee receives a $25,000, one-time general operating support grant from the COVID-19 Response Fund.

  • Agencia ALPHA: to provide support to 50 undocumented families by providing $500/family, of which many will or have already lost their jobs due to COVID-19
  • Asian Community Development Corporation: to provide financial, nutritional and medical support for elders, as well as support for community members facing racism and xenophobia
  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters: to provide support for their work with homeless youth including distributing food and COVID-19 information via the Mobile Medical Van, in addition to providing overnight shelter, meals, day programming and hygiene products at their shelter
  • Centro Presente: to support for their COVID-19 work with the immigrant community, including undocumented immigrants, by providing information, links to resources and connections to those who can help them navigate issues including immigration assistance, food assistance,  and child care assistance.
  • Community Servings, Inc.: to provide support to distribute medically tailored food to sick and hungry community members.
  • Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath): to provide support for housing and basic needs expenses of their client families in shelters and transitional housing
  • Friends of the Children – Boston: to provide support for wrap-around services for Achievers and their families, including but not limited to: assisting caretakers access medical services, connecting Achievers and families to meal providers and  providing emotional and educational support to Achievers
  • Heading Home: to provide support for emergency responsiveness care for 270 Boston families in their housing (inclusive of 525 children in shelters), and the 200+ chronically homeless Cambridge residents who are supported, many of whom suffer from disabilities and chronic health conditions.
  • La Alianza Hispana, Inc.: to provide 125 low-income elderly Latino immigrants with critical health, educational, and social supports
  • Lawyers for Civil Rights: to support their policy and advocacy work focused on immigration, education, housing, and the Census.
  • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice: to provide financial assistance to undocumented individuals and families who have lost their homes, wages, and/or employment due to COVID-19
  • Maverick Landing Community Services, Inc.: to provide support for COVID-19 response efforts in the East Boston community, including conducting basic needs assessments, distributing hygiene products, sanitizers and food, and producing face masks and shields for healthcare workers
  • The Record Co.: to provide support to the Boston Music Maker Relief Fund to make $200 rapid-response grants to Boston music makers experiencing lost income as the result of  COVID-19
  • Union Capital Boston Inc.: to provide support to distribute $150 gift cards to people in financial need in the Greater Boston area
  • Violence in Boston: to provide support to feed BPS students both lunch and dinner, as well as the collection and distribution of toiletry items and cleaning products for low-income communities in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.