The Community Foundation Awards Second Round of Grants from the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund

May 1, 2020

NEW BEDFORD — The Community Foundation’s SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund is focusing on the needs of those in our community most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting nonprofits on the frontlines of this response. Today, we are announcing $325,000 in unrestricted operating grants to nonprofits throughout the SouthCoast region.

This second round of grants from the Fund was made possible, in part, through the Community Foundation’s partnership with the 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 security. The Fund works in concert with regional community foundations and non-profit leaders who partner with local leaders to understand the response and relief landscape, strategically filling in where gaps are pronounced. For more information, visit

“Too many in our community are experiencing significant challenges in accessing food as a result of the pandemic, so we are very proud to support the great efforts of organizations, big and small, to provide this basic need. Additionally, our Community Health Centers represent the best of our community’s ability to care for its most vulnerable – we are proud to be able to support them. We are particularly excited to work with the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund on behalf of the residents of Southeastern Massachusetts – the impact of the pandemic has been significant in our region and we appreciate this partnership”, said John Vasconcellos, President of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts.

In the past three weeks the Community Foundation has granted more than $800,000 to nonprofits on the frontlines of this pandemic from the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund. To date, the Fund has raised more than $1.6 million from a wide range of corporate donors, foundations, and individuals, in response to the Community Foundation’s call to come together on behalf of our community. Major donors of the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund include:

Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, BankFive Fund, Barr Foundation, BayCoast Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Carney Family Charitable Foundation, Eastern Bank Charitable 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, Van Sloun Foundation, Wagner Foundation, many generous donors with donor advised funds held with the Community Foundation, and local residents.

The second-round of grants totaling $325,000 has focused on the increased challenge of food security and to strengthen those health organizations working with our most vulnerable populations. Together, these organizations help deliver vital services and share a commitment to serve their community. Among the grantees, Citizens for Citizens Inc. of Fall River, knows the issues around food security that have significantly increased due to COVID-19. Providing food to 600+ households each month, they have been struggling to access food and basic necessity supplies as there have been such unprecedented increases in local demand.

“I cannot thank the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts enough for their generous grant to help us provide food to those who have been impacted by this pandemic.” Said Elizabeth Berube, Executive Director of Citizens for Citizens Inc. of Fall River. “Without this support, we would not be able to serve the additional families who are facing food security due to their recent loss of income and limited access to food sources. Citizens for Citizens, Inc. has been responding since day one operating our food pantry to those who need us the most in this time of devastation.”

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, Inc. also received a grant from the Fund. Cheryl Bartlett, CEO of Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, Inc. said “I am very grateful for the generosity of donors to the Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund that has provided us with badly needed resources to help us continue COVID-19 care and support for the region’s most vulnerable populations. Every grant and donation we receive helps to insure we will be here for our patients not only today but for the foreseeable future. On behalf of those we serve I am deeply moved and thankful for this help.”

Among the grantees, Kelly O’Connor, Human Resources Generalist of M.O. L.I.F.E. Inc. said “These funds will help the M.O. FOOD = L.I.F.E. Food Pantry to meet the increasing need for nutrition in the greater New Bedford area. This pantry has fed over 600 families in the month of April as local residents are experiencing loss of work and wages. We expect this upward trend to continue over the next few months. The pantry will be there to help. Additionally, this award will help us to adequately compensate and protect our devoted front-line direct care staff who continue to provide essential and support services to individuals with developmental disabilities during a frightening and isolating time in all our lives— especially in the lives of the vulnerable.”

Details of each grantee’s work can be found listed below. Grants for general operating support ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 were distributed to the following organizations:


How to give
You can help those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting our region’s nonprofits on the front lines. Donations to the SouthCoast Emergency Response Fund may be made online here.

For general questions and inquiries about the Fund, please direct your inquiry to If you are an interested partner or would like to make a donation, please contact the Community Foundation’s Development Manager, Tricia Grime at Lastly, for media inquiries and interview requests, please contact Jasmyn Baird at

About the Community Foundation
Our Community.  Your Foundation.  Since 1995, area residents have been turning to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts to make their philanthropic giving as effective as possible. The Community Foundation is a public charity serving thousands of people who share a common concern – improving the quality of life in Southeastern Massachusetts.  To date, the Community Foundation has distributed over $25 million from over 175 funds to humanitarian, educational and cultural organizations in the region. More information about the Foundation can be found at

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