Boston Resiliency Fund grants to support areas and efforts identified by COVID-19 health inequities task force
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee today announced over $1.2 million in new Boston Resiliency Fund (BRF) grants, including several investments in organizations and areas identified by the Mayor's COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force as critical to addressing the inequities exposed by COVID-19. Since the creation of the BRF in March, the fund has granted over $23.7 million to 306 nonprofit and local organizations to provide support to Boston residents most impacted by COVID-19. In total, 56 percent of grantee organizations are led by a person of color and 52 percent of grantee organizations are led by a woman.
"Latinos make up nearly 20 percent of Boston's population, but make up 28 percent of our city's overall COVID-19 cases," said Mayor Walsh. "We launched the COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force early on this public health emergency to help us identify actions to address these disparities and I am pleased that through the Boston Resiliency Fund we are able to make significant investments in organizations that will expand needed outreach, education, and testing throughout our communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this virus."
Mayor Walsh created the COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force to provide guidance to the City of Boston in addressing current inequities exposed by COVID-19 data analysis, testing sites, and health care services. Task Force members specifically recommended the following grants that will expand outreach and testing to support Boston's Latino community:
Greater Boston Latino Network (GBLN): Greater Boston Latino Network is a coalition of nine Latino-led community-based organizations that includes Sociedad Latina, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA), Boston Higher Education Resource Center (HERC), Hyde Square Task Force, Latinos For Education, Latino STEM Alliance, East Boston Ecumenical Community Council, La Alianza Hispana, and Lawyers for Civil Rights. The network will receive $275,000 to provide direct support services to the Latino community and to hire bilingual Youth Outreach Workers directly from communities to work collaboratively with health care providers from East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and Whittier Street Health Center. The Youth Outreach Workers will provide linguistically and culturally competent support to the Latino community. These outreach workers will help elevate care for mental and physical health, fill any gap in resources created by language or cultural barriers, and connect families to food, housing vouchers and direct financial help. GBLN will create and launch a bilingual marketing campaign that will engage youth, alongside artists, educators, musicians and other influencers who will help us spread public health messages, to wear masks and provide masks to their peers.
Whittier Street Health Center: Whittier Street Health Center will receive $75,000 to expand their culturally sensitive outreach, enrollment and testing efforts. They will utilize staff who understand the cultural challenges and share similar backgrounds. The goal is to educate, empower, and engage members of the Latino community to support testing and to encourage long-term primary care relationships.
East Boston Neighborhood Health Center: East Boston Neighborhood Health Center will receive $70,000 to boost outreach and engagement efforts to support COVID-19 testing and contract tracing. The funding will increase internal marketing and outreach capacity to work with residents in East Boston and the South End and educate the community on the benefits of being tested for COVID-19.
"Thank you to Mayor Walsh and Chief Marty Martinez for forming the Health Inequities Task Force to address the health and safety of our Black, African American, and Latino communities," said Alexandra Oliver-Davila, Executive Director of Sociedad Latina. "Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases among Latinos, people of color, and people living in economically-disadvantaged communities in Boston and on a national level. We see the consequences that this pandemic has had on the youth and families that we partner with, including little or no access to healthcare, rising medical costs, ineligibility or lack of information for unemployment, losing employment, and more. It is more crucial now than ever before for us to address these inequities and provide healthcare, safety, and financial assistance to everyone despite race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and immigration status. We are deeply appreciative for the increased funding from the Boston Resiliency Fund to expand our resources and strengthen our community during this trying time."
The Fund serves every neighborhood in Boston, but has focused on the neighborhoods hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. A map showing the neighborhood impact of Boston Resiliency Fund grantees across the City of Boston can be found on the Fund's website. Since the first round of fund distribution, the Fund has raised over $32.4 million from over 6,400 donors. The following grants were also announced today:
BellXcel (The B.E.L.L. Foundation, Inc.): BellXcel will use the grant to support the implementation of their new BellXcel summer learning program, developed in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with Charlestown High School, Bridge Boston Charter School, and the YMCA of Greater Boston.
Boston Girls Empowerment Network: Boston Girls Empowerment Network (BGEN) Girls leadership project provides high-quality educational and recreational summer activities, ensuring that girls of color will continue the social development progress, prevent summer learning loss and keep them safe.
Building Alliance to Support Immigrant Mental Health (BASIMH): The grantwill allowBASIMH to hire additional providers to conduct group and individual sessions targeting CNAs, nurses, technicians and other health workers who need a safe place to share their traumatic experiences as it relates to their lines of duties during the pandemic.
Caribbean Youth Club: Caribbean Youth Club will use the grant to engage Afro-Caribbean immigrant and refugee youth ages 16-21 to access summer employment, build leadership skills and engage in safe evening recreation.
Catie's Closet, Inc.: The grant will allow Catie's Closet to continue to provide basic necessities, including toiletries and feminine products to homeless and low-income families through the City's youth meal sites throughout the summer.
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA): CPA will provide consistent and reliable staffing for food distribution sites across the City, including YMCAs, Boston Housing Authority properties and other other high volume sites in the community, including VietAID, and the Egleston, East Boston, Washington Beech, and Wang.
City Mission, Inc.: City Mission will use the grant to purchase online grocery store cards and distribute them to 50 families experiencing homelessness.
Department of Youth Engagement and Employment (DYEE): The grant will provide 400 Chromebooks for youth to perform virtual work through the Summer Jobs Program.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston: Habitat for Humanity will provide grocery store gift cards for 85 low-income families, as well as provide protective items and disinfectants.
Homes For Families (HFF): HFF will provide care packages to help meet immediate needs of families residing in shelter or in permanent supportive housing. In collaboration with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, the funding will provide educational materials on an on-going basis with COVID-19 related information and prevention; safety; and mental health resources.
Lifeboat Boston: Lifeboat Boston is an outreach organization located in the Fenway neighborhood that works to end food insecurity through a weekly fresh food pantry. They will use the grant to rent a cargo van for four weeks to expand home delivery services and provide assistance to homeless clients.
LivableStreets Alliance: The grant will fund an automated SMS/texting ChatBot tool for EMS to perform daily wellness checks with all frontline staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC): MAC provides trusted and culturally specific services to support clients often not reached by traditional programs, including gay/bisexual men of color, those in the recovery community, immigrants and other residents as appropriate. Specifically, funds will be used to utilize street outreach, provide COVID19 prevention and education materials, and provide food vouchers and packaged meals.
My Brother's Keeper 617: This grant will allow My Brother's Keeper 617 to continue their work in Dorchester providing gift cards for low-income families.
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine: The grant will allow Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) to waive fees paid by food providers for pick-up. The grant will also help expand RLC's tech platform and strengthen infrastructure to facilitate coordination of one-off donations and delivery to households; provide essential PPE, supplies to volunteers; and supplement current volunteer corps with 10 paid staff rescuers to minimize safety risks, enhance reliability and systemize operations.
Self Esteem Boston Educational Institute, Inc.: The grant will be used to expand Zoom and audio conference support services for women in substance abuse treatment and transitional recovery programs and build the skills of first responders and community service workers in the areas of wellness, stress management, self-esteem and self-care, and to expand access to Self Esteem Boston's new online learning center for vulnerable populations.
STEAM Ahead: STEAM Ahead provides free S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programming to youth throughout Boston. The programs serve as a vehicle to help close the education gap for underrepresented groups of youth. Many of the families served are in need of food assistance and staff will prepare healthy food packages along with educational materials and deliver them directly to their homes.
Team New England: Team New England (TNE) will assist youth and their families by providing food, household essentials, and virtual check-ins and games to help keep young people occupied over the summer. In addition, they will work with youth to make care packages for seniors that will consist of healthy snacks, hand sanitizer, masks, coloring books, puzzles, fuzzy socks, slippers, and other essentials. As a youth community service project, TNE will be partnering with the Grove Hall Senior Center who will be identifying seniors. These care baskets will be delivered to the homes of these seniors by the youth accompanied by an adult.
The DREAM Program: The DREAM Program will provide weekly deliveries of activity materials to its students, tailored to their specific interests and needs, to ensure that they are able to engage online and offline. The grant will specifically equip youth with laptops and internet access to support academic development and combat stress and trauma.
The Wily Network: A grant from the Boston Resiliency Fund will support the Wily Network's emergency funding needs for their students.
Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts, Inc.: The Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts serves low-income transgender residents of Boston, mostly transgender people of color. This funding will be used to purchase and distribute nutritious food bags and boxes as well as hygiene supplies to low-income transgender people living in Boston.
Trinity Boston Connects: Trinity Boston Connects will use the grant to increase and subsidize clinical mental health services for frontline youth workers.
True Alliance Center: True Alliance Center will use this grant to augment existing cash assistance work, translate documents and support for Boston's Haitian community, and provide educational materials to educate immigrants about their rights, and about health and prevention.
Turn It Around (Charlestown): Many of the youth served by Turn It Around are in need of financial stability, mental health services, academic support, and social connection. The grant will fund engagement stipends through physical fitness bootcamps. The funding will also provide volunteers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to deliver food and basic hygiene items to those impacted by COVID-19. It will also provide grocery store gift cards based on family needs.
Union of Minority Neighborhoods: The Union of Minority Neighborhoods will use the grant to continue to manage a trusted community helpline and work with service agencies collaboratively for needs of callers for resource referrals.
United South End Settlements: The grant will support the Neighbor2Neighbor Food Access and Delivery Program, an emergency food assistance and access effort available to the residents of Boston with a focus on those living in the South End and Lower Roxbury. The Neighbor2Neighbor Food Access and Delivery Program provides nutritious and healthy dry groceries, fresh produce, and prepackaged prepared family style dinners each week to help fill the food gap many families are experiencing. In addition, it will support providing families access to SNAP, WIC and other related benefits, and provide cash assistance in the form of gift cards for local food and other essential purposes.
Urban Guild Inc.: The Guild will use the grant to pay for continued holistic community support, with a portion of the funds to steward communal Guild gardens for residents to tend and harvest vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The grant will also allow for additional food distribution as well as children's diapers, adult diapers, baby wipes, and feminine hygiene products.
Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. (VietAID): VietAID will use the grant to continue providing hot meals from a Dorchester Vietnamese restaurant to older adults and groceries distribution to over 500 families. VietAID utilizes a network of volunteers and staff to deliver and distribute food items that are culturally appropriate to the families being served.
Youth on Board (YOB/BSAC): YOB/BSAC serves the needs of 18,000 high school students by actively engaging them to advocate for student rights, equitable schools, stronger youth-adult partnerships, and environmental justice within and beyond their schools. YOB will use the grant to safely engage youth during the summer months by providing stipends for program alumni and program coordinators.