BOSTON – The New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, a ground-breaking fund created by a group of Black and Brown corporate executives in Massachusetts to eliminate systemic racism throughout the state, has announced a series of emergency grants totaling $1 million.
The Fund has awarded these grants to 20 local and regional organizations throughout the Commonwealth that are providing essential services and addressing urgent needs in their respective communities stemming from issues of racism and social injustice.
The organizations, each receiving a $50,000 one-year Demonstration Grant, will use the funding for purposes such as helping to ensure that Black and Brown children receive vital access to education and development during the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering high-quality affordable healthcare and mental health services to the Black and Brown communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and serving as the nexus between their communities and political leadership to address criminal justice policies and practices that unfairly target and harm Black and Brown people.
The $1 million in Demonstration Grants comes just five months after the Fund was formed. The Fund expects to begin its official grant-making process in 2021, and will continue forward with two grant cycles per year.
“The communities being serviced by the organizations we are giving emergency grants to have been under siege,” said Damian Wilmot, Senior Vice President at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and a member of the New Commonwealth Fund Executive Committee. “These Demonstration Grants will help these
organizations throughout the Commonwealth do their very important work. If we don’t do anything to help these organizations and these communities, the gap between the haves and the have-nots will widen.”
“Our Administration is committed to promoting equity and expanding opportunity for communities of color, and we are grateful for the work of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund to advance those shared priorities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Their support for these crucial
community-based organizations will make a meaningful difference as we work together to combat inequality and build stronger communities.”
Based on the numerous studies that have come out in the last year, showing that Black- and Brown-led charitable organizations garner only a tiny fraction of the funding that goes to other charitable organizations, The New Commonwealth Fund feels it is critical to focus on these organizations in its first round of grants.
In Boston, for, example, only 2 cents of every philanthropic dollar supports nonprofits serving Black and Brown communities. The Demonstration Grants also focus on the four pillars of the New Commonwealth Fund: Policing and Criminal Justice Reform, Health Care Equity, Economic Empowerment, and Youth Education, Empowerment and Civic Engagement.
Groups receiving the initial $50,000 Demonstration Grants include:
African Community Education, Worcester
BECMA–The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Boston
Becoming A Man (BAM, a program of Youth Guidance), Boston
Boston Ujima Project (a project of the Center for Economic Democracy), Boston
Boston’s Higher Ground
Brockton Interfaith Community, Brockton
Chelsea Collaborative/La Colaborativa, Chelsea
Compass Working Capital, Boston
Data 4 Black Lives, Statewide
EdLaw Project (a project of the Youth Advocacy Foundation), Statewide
Elevated Thought, Lawrence
Family Health Center of Worcester
GCode House, Boston
Lawrence Community Works
Lawyers for Civil Rights, Statewide
Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, Springfield
NAACP Boston Branch
Pa’lante (fiscal sponsor is the Social Good Fund), Holyoke
Strive Boston, Justice Resource Initiative (JRI), Boston
Youth on Board (a project of YouthBuild USA), Boston
The New Commonwealth Fund was formed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd by police and other recent, horrific racially charged incidents in this country. A group of leading Black and Brown corporate executives in Massachusetts came together to form the
Fund and have raised over $20 million in pledges and seed money to address and eliminate systemic racism and racial inequity in the Commonwealth. The New Commonwealth Fund’s mission is to provide grants and other essential support to effect lasting change for Black and Brown communities in the Commonwealth.
The process of awarding the $1 million in Demonstration Grants was intense and engrossing for the New Commonwealth Fund’s 19 founding members. Over a period of weeks, the members pored over publicly available information and data to identify the state’s Black and Brown communities most in need of support within its Four Pillars. They consulted with the Governor’s Office of Community Affairs and the state Attorney General’s Office to gather information from the Black Advisory Commission and the Latino Advisory Commission’s Listening Sessions on and public hearings on racism and social justice issues.
In addition, Fund members conferred with state offices that deal with racism and social justice.
The members then proactively identified a number of organizations working in these identified communities and on issues relating to the Fund’s Four Pillars. After extensive research and interviews of these organizations to assess which needed emergency funds to continue to provide essential services
and address emergent needs in the identified communities, the Fund selected 20 organizations—each working tirelessly on the front lines to combat racism and social injustice—to receive a Demonstration Grant.
To learn more about the New Commonwealth Fund or donate to support its mission, go to the New Commonwealth Fund website: https://www.tbf.org/donors/forms/new-commonwealth-fund
The Fund was founded by a coalition of Massachusetts Black and Brown executives for the sole purpose of leveraging our individual and collective power to work together with community organizations to make transformative societal changes by addressing systemic racism and racial inequity in