We have much to celebrate as the Foundation “comes of age” in our 21st year of grantmaking. We remain deeply appreciative of the significant impact our grantees have made in the health of those who live or work in Central Massachusetts from the $44 million we granted to 202 nonprofit organizations. Even with this robust distribution, our assets are at a record high value of $75 million, enabling our grantmaking in 2020 to be set at an all-time high of $ 2.6 million.
Our grantmaking approach and the Synergy Initiative Impact of our grants were recognized in 2017 by Dr. Doug Easterling, a researcher at Wake Forest School of Medicine with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as one of 33 leading health conversion foundations from across the country being an early innovator in addressing the social determinants of health. His further evaluation of our Synergy Initiative grantmaking model led him to commend its effectiveness to the field of philanthropy in a recent article, “How Can Foundations Promote Impactful Collaboration?” published in The Foundation Review.
We anticipate awarding grants this year in the range of $800,000 through the Activation Fund for one-year projects that assist nonprofits in developing new ventures and capacities, with the expectation that the incremental enhancement will be sustainable.
We will also provide $717,000 to continue to support three multi-year projects that are funded through Round 4 of our Synergy Initiative: ReImagine North of Main – to transform a neighborhood in Fitchburg; WorcesterHEARS – to reduce suspensions in the Worcester Public Schools; and the Worcester Regional Food Hub – to further develop a regional food hub to expand access to healthy foods.
In addition, the Board and staff look forward to announcing in early 2020 the awarding of $762,000 to support the planning of efforts for four new projects to address substantive community issues through Round 5 of our Synergy Initiative. We are confident these new collaborative efforts, which we anticipate will earn our continued support in the years ahead for their implementation of evidence-based strategies, will also lead to securing changes in public policies to sustain the strategies beyond our grants and achieve lasting impact.
Our best wishes to all for health and prosperity throughout 2020!
Francis M. Saba, M.H.S.A. Janice B. Yost, Ed.D.
Chairman President & CEO