SouthCoast Community Foundation to Continue Breadth of Nonprofit Emergency Support Well Into 2021

Feb 11, 2021

Last year, distributed $5.4 million in relief to Southeastern Massachusetts organizations.


New Bedford, MA – Given the state of the pandemic, the SouthCoast Community Foundation announced it will continue to raise support for and issue grants on a rolling basis from its SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund in 2021. The Fund was established in March 2020 to swiftly distribute aid to the most vulnerable communities and regional nonprofits experiencing the detrimental impact of COVID-19. At the beginning of the new year, the Foundation received new commitments of nearly $1.5 million which enables the organization to mobilize and maintain, for the foreseeable future, its relief efforts as the crisis and the demand for critical services continue.

“Last year, thanks to philanthropic-minded community partners and residents, we were able to rapidly deploy resources to nonprofits serving those disproportionately impacted. Donors understand that we have a good handle on where the local needs are and have shown we can move quickly to get relief into the right hands,” stated SouthCoast Community Foundation president, John Vasconcellos. “Even though vaccine distribution is encouraging, the counties we serve are still going to require ongoing support well into 2021 so we will remain vigilant in our relief efforts.”

Last year, the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund received $6 million from a wide range of government, foundation, corporate, and individual donors and distributed $5.4 million. The Foundation issued 276 grants to 122 nonprofit organizations, spanning the entirety of the Southeastern Massachusetts region, addressing a wide range of educational, economic, and cultural focus areas including: Basic Needs ($1,516,421), Food Security ($1,431,889), Remote work/learning ($1,134,210), Housing ($1,032,000), Hazard Pay/PPE ($300,000), Public Health ($225,000), Mental Health ($120,000), and Summer Programming ($55,000), to offset costs due to adherence of COVID-19 advisories.

“At the peak of the pandemic, it became clear that our community was struggling to put food on the table while our local farmer families were also facing challenges reaching their customers,” commented Stephanie Perks, Coastal Foodshed Inc. Executive Director & Co-Founder. “With the support of SCCF, Coastal Foodshed partnered with 12 local farmers to purchase excess food they couldn’t sell due to new social distancing regulations. More than 100,000 lbs. of locally grown food valued at $67,000 made its way to struggling families. We are grateful to the SCCF for supporting our local food economy and keeping our communities healthy.”

Significant support in 2020 came from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, chaired by First Lady Lauren Baker, which worked in concert with the SouthCoast Community Foundation to understand where the greatest needs were within Southeastern Massachusetts. Additional funders for SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund last year included:

Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund

BankFive Fund

Barr Foundation

BayCoast Bank

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Boston Foundation

Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation

Carney Family Charitable Foundation

Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation

Eversource Foundation

Greater Fall River Development Corporation

HarborOne Bank

Island Foundation

Karina Foundation

Manton Foundation

Montigny Children’s Equity & Empowerment Fund

Plimoth Investment Advisors

Prime Buchholz

Rockland Trust Bank

Schrafft Charitable Trust

Tufts Health Plan Foundation

Van Sloun Foundation

Wagner Foundation

“The COVID-19 support we received from the SouthCoast Community Foundation was timely, targeted, and very generous,” said My Brother’s Keeper President, Erich Miller. “With the Foundation’s help, our Food Assistance Program has increased services by 300% since March 2020. That’s 15,500 emergency food deliveries to nearly 50,000 neighbors in need. It’s been a lifeline for parents like Sarah, a mother of 3 who was working full time before the pandemic and is now out of work.”

The Fund will continue to target these focus areas in 2021 as well as equal access to the vaccine for all members of the communities it serves. The organization will also deepen its collaboration with the nonprofit, government, philanthropic, and private sectors to accelerate recovery for a thriving, resilient, and even stronger Southeastern Massachusetts.

In addition to the Emergency Response Fund, the Foundation plans to continue providing nonprofits with access to capability-building programs and networking opportunities. As a founding partner of the Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership, a new coalition established in direct response to the challenges of COVID-19, the Community Foundation has strengthened services and offered tailored technical support to nonprofit organizations through online workshops and training. The SouthCoast Community Foundation also provides a safe and collaborative environment for nonprofit leaders to share best practices and tackle the challenging COVID-19 landscape through its successful, bi-monthly Meet Me for Coffee virtual meetings. This support is part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to nonprofits and the region, providing access to resources and serving as a catalyst and convener for local philanthropy.

“The SouthCoast Community Foundation’s ‘Meet Me for Coffee’ series has been an invaluable opportunity to connect with peers and a great reminder that we will get through this together,” added Josh Smith, Director of My Brother’s Keeper Dartmouth Facility.

The Foundation is a public charity serving thousands of people throughout Southeastern Massachusetts who share a common goal of improving the quality of life through philanthropy.  Since 1995, the Community Foundation has distributed $50 million from approximately 200 funds to humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations in the region. To learn more about the Community Foundation, visit  Donations to the SouthCoast Emergency Fund can be made online. For general inquiries about the Fund please direct inquiries to

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