On November 23, 2020, The Baker-Polito Administration announced the award of $650,000 in grant funds to community-based and faith-based organizations to help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 among communities of color in the cities and towns hardest hit by COVID-19.
Communities that experience the long-term health consequences of systemic racism, under-investment, and lack of opportunity have disproportionate infection and death rates from COVID-19. The COVID-19 Community Grant Program is designed to support non-profit, community-based and faith-based organizations in raising awareness around best practices families and individuals can take to stop the spread, including messaging to ensure physical distancing, mask wearing, and other harm-reduction practices.
The COVID-19 Community Grant Program is administered by Health Resources in Action (HRiA), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. HRiA is a non-profit public health organization with a mission to help people live healthier lives and create healthy communities through prevention, health promotion, policy, and research.
Through a rapid grant making approach and wide dissemination of the request for proposals,146 applications were received from around the Commonwealth. Twenty organizations will receive grant awards ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, for the grant period ending February 28, 2021. Awardee organizations demonstrated deep engagement with the communities, community need, and readiness to quickly implement their proposed project. Awardees will engage in culturally appropriate community outreach, communication, and education, in the languages spoken in the they serve. Strategies include engaging youth peer leaders, trusted community leaders, and those with shared lived experience to promote messages. Some organizations will leverage highly targeted social media and other local media to amplify their reach.
|Organization Name, Location||Impacted Cities/Towns||Funding Amount|
|African Community Education Program, Worcester||Worcester||$21,400.00|
|Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, Revere||Revere||$10,000.00|
|Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell, Lowell||Lowell||$50,000.00|
|Chelsea Collaborative/La Colaborativa, Chelsea||Chelsea||$50,000.00|
|Chica Project, Boston||Boston, Lawrence, Lynn||$28,869.34|
|Everett Haitian Community Center, Everett||Everett, Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Malden, Revere||$40,000.00|
|Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Lawrence||Lawrence, Methuen||$49,900.00|
|LEO, Inc., Lynn||Lynn||$31,200.00|
|Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, Cambridge||Cambridge, Boston, Everett, Framingham, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, Revere||$27,792.16|
|New American Association of Massachusetts, Lynn||Lynn, Lowell, Malden, Methuen, Revere, Salem||$12,498.00|
|New North Citizens Council, Springfield||Springfield||$50,000.00|
|One Holyoke CDC, Holyoke||Holyoke||$30,000.00|
|Pinnacle Partnerships Corp, Brockton||Brockton||$50,000.00|
|Somali Parents Advocacy Center for Education (SPACE), Everett||Everett, Boston||$15,000.00|
|The Boston Project Ministries, Boston||Dorchester, Mattapan||$11,000.00|
|The Center for Hope and Healing, Lowell||Lowell||$15,000.00|
|Who’s Got Morale, Boston||Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester||$42,500.00|
|Worcester Interfaith, Worcester||Worcester||$45,000.00|
Background and purpose:
Communities of color in Massachusetts are among the hardest hit by COVID-19 in terms of infection, illness, and death. The goal of COVID-19 Community Grants is to reduce COVID-19 infections, morbidity, and mortality among Black, Latinx, and other people of color in the hardest-hit cities in the Commonwealth. COVID-19 Community Grants are intended to engage community- and faith-based organizations in the development and delivery of effective messages and to further support hard-hit communities with education, training, and funding to effectively meet their communities’ specific needs.
Grant activities will build upon existing local and state efforts, including the Commonwealth’s new public messaging campaign, Mass.gov/StopCOVID19, and be coordinated with the COVID-19 Enforcement and Intervention Team. The goal of the public messaging campaign is to ensure residents know they live in a higher-risk community and to help them understand the importance of wearing a mask and using other best practices to stop the spread. Built around a message of, “You have the power to save a life,” the comprehensive campaign encourages the use of masks and social distancing and runs in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Arabic, and other languages common to these communities. This new online resource at Mass.gov/StopCOVID19 is also available in Spanish Mass.Gov/DetenCOVID19 and Portuguese: Mass.Gov/PareCOVID19; additional multilingual online resources will be available soon.
Grants are federally funded with resources provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Health Resources in Action to manage a community intervention project to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Who can apply:
Massachusetts-based CBOs and FBOs serving communities of color, with particular emphasis on people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder, a history of incarceration, who are pregnant or post-partum, are experiencing homelessness and housing instability, live in multi-generational housing, have a disability(-ies), and/or have limited English proficiency (LEP) residing in the impacted cities and towns listed below:
- Boston, specifically Dorchester, East Boston, Chinatown, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Roxbury
- New Bedford
Applicant organizations are expected to describe a clear need for education and training in the communities they serve to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Applicants must demonstrate authentic engagement with the communities they serve and readiness to implement their proposed grant activities.
Activities the grants will fund:
Funding will support community-based organizations (CBOs) and faith-based organizations (FBOs) to:
- Educate impacted populations, in coordination with CEIT, to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, including messages about physical distancing, mask wearing, and other risk-reduction behaviors and activities.
- In coordination with CEIT, develop and provide training and messaging on COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction activities for staff, volunteers, and members who provide support and in-home services (e.g., meals assistance, wellness checks, etc.) to people at higher risk of severe illness.
Funds are intended to be used to address the specific needs of Black, Latinx, and other people of color and the factors that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 infection. Proposed activities must complement and enhance existing efforts in the community, including existing state CEIT or local COVID-19 education, communications, and messaging.
CBOs and FBOs that receive a grant will also receive assistance from HRiA to support the proposed activities. This will include training, technical assistance, and communications and other technical support throughout the funding period.
Available funding and technical assistance:
- Grants in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 will be awarded, and grant funds must be spent by February 28, 2021. A total of $650,000 is available for the grant period of November 2020 through February 2021.
- HRiA will provide technical assistance to awardees including training, consultation, and communication support throughout the grant period of approximately four months.
Learn more by viewing the full Request for Proposals here.
Other COVID-19 Resources:
Please visit the following links for available funding resources for essential needs in response to COVID-19:
- Philanthropy Massachusetts: https://www.philanthropyma.org/grantmakers-philanthropic-advisors/resources/disaster-and-emergency-relief-resources
- Massachusetts Nonprofit Network: http://massnonprofitnet.org/nonprofit-resources/coronavirus-massachusetts-nonprofits/
Commonwealth of Massachusetts resources:
- Resources for communities at high risk: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/resources-for-high-risk-covid-19-communities#protect-yourself,-your-family,-and-your-community-
- State guidance for municipalities, including educational materials and customized communication materials for communities at high risk: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/state-guidance-for-municipalities
- Testing and resources for residents and municipalities for communities at high risk: Mass.gov/StopCOVID19
- Testing program in communities with higher COVID-19 positive test rates: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread