Fundraising Opportunities

September 6th, 2018 by

Funder: The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation Grant Title: Going Beyond Health Care: Addressing Social Determinants Through a Cross-Sector Approach Deadline: 9/20/18 Description:  Going Beyond Health Care:  Addressing Social Determinants Through a Cross-Sector Approach provides an initial one year of planning funding to build the capacity and infrastructure for interdisciplinary teams to coordinate in addressing non-clinical and clinical needs for low-income and vulnerable populations across the age spectrum.  The teams will be led by a social service organization, and include health care and other human service organizations that can collaboratively assist individuals and families.  The goal of the grant is to demonstrate that when supported, these teams can devise a means of coordinating services that leads to: 1) increased health care access and improved health status for clients; 2) stabilization or improvement in social needs; 3) cross-sector collaboration; and 4) development of standardized non-clinical and clinical metrics that measure the effect of their efforts..


Funder: The Sasaki Foundation Grant Title: Do You Want to Change the World Deadline: 9/4/18 Description:  If you have ideas on how to tackle climate adaptation, housing or transit inequities, or displacement of residents, apply today for one of our resiliency project awards. If you have ideas on how to tackle climate adaptation, housing or transit inequities, or displacement of residents. We will award up to 4 grants of $15,000 each to winning teams.

Funder: TD Charitable Foundation Grant Title: 2017 Housing for Everyone Grants Description: In 2017, the program will support projects/programs that fall within the theme of Affordable Housing for Single Parent Families. Applications must highlight the ways in which funding will create new or preserve existing units of safe, clean, physically accessible affordable rental housing for families headed by a single individual (parent, grandparent, or guardian). Applications need to include details on access to medical and health services; proximity to schools, employment opportunities, day care centers, shopping, community and transportation services; and adaptability to the changing needs of today's modern families. Through the program, twenty-five organizations within TD Bank's corporate footprint from Maine to Florida will each be awarded a $125,000 grant.

Funder: LISC Boston Grant Title: Capacity Building for Economic Resilience Deadline: 8/4/17 Description: Community-based organizations in Massachusetts with proven success developing both affordable housing and economic opportunity programs are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $50,000.

Funder: Bank of America Grant Title: Economic mobility by addressing community development needs Deadline: 5/8/17 - 6/2/17 Description: We are focused on economic mobility by addressing community developed needs through investments such as affordable housing, community revitalization, arts, and the environment.

Funder: Santander Bank Grant Title: Affordable Housing Deadline: Summer; June 2, 2017, Fall; September 8, 2017 Description: September Supporting a range of affordable housing programs from homelessness prevention to home ownership.

Funder: Santander Bank Grant Title: Financial Education Deadline: Summer; June 2, 2017, Fall; September 8, 2017 Description: Promoting financial education with a focus on helping individuals with basic banking and budgeting, and the transition into the workforce or to college.

Funder: Santander Bank Grant Title: Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Deadline: Summer; June 2, 2017, Fall; September 8, 2017 Description: Providing assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs that create and maintain jobs in our neighborhoods

Funder: National Endowment for the Arts Grant Title: Challenge America Deadline: April 13, 2017 Description: grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Eligible: Tax-exempt nonprofits, tribes and government organizations with a three-year history of programming; other restrictions apply. Awards: $10,000 to $50,000

Funder: National Endowment for the Arts Grant Title:  Art Works: Creativity Connects Deadline: May 5, 2017  Description: grants support collaborative, mutually beneficial partnerships between the arts and non-arts sectors, specifically: Agriculture, Business and Economic Development, Science, Technology, Healthcare, Community Education, Environment, Military, and Transportation. Eligible: Tax-exempt nonprofits, tribes and government organizations with a three-year history of programming; other restrictions apply. Awards: $20,000 to $100,000


FunderSantander Bank Deadline: February 17, 2017 Description: Grants will be awarded to eligible 501c3 nonprofits in the following focus areas Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization; Financial Education and Affordable Housing. Awards: $10,000 to $100,000

Funder: Mass Cultural Council Grant Title: Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Deadline: January 13, 2017 Description: The Cultural Facilities Fund supports capital projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit their website.

Funder: Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation Grant Title: Kuehn Planning Grants Description: The Kuehn Planning Grants of up to $15,000 each will be awarded to organizations for costs associated with affordable housing or economic development projects. There will be a preference for projects undertaken by small, community-based organizations, as well as mixed-use and/or mixed-income projects incorporating historic preservation, projects serving low- and moderate-income artists, supportive housing for vulnerable families and individuals, and smaller scale projects. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit their website.

Funder: Department of Health and Human Services Grant Title: Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects  Dealine: April 28, 2017 Description: For FY 2017, the Office of Community Services (OCS) will award approximately $9.5 million in CED discretionary grant funds to CDCs for community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in areas designated as food deserts or where applicants can point to indicators of need, such as poor access to a healthy food retail outlet, a high percentage of individuals with low-income, incidence of diet-related health conditions, or high concentrations of persons eligible for food assistance programs. Through the Community Economic Development (CED) program and within the framework of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), OCS seeks to fund projects that implement strategies to increase healthy food access, foster self-sufficiency for individuals and families with low-income, and create sustained employment opportunities in communities with low-incomes. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit their website.

Funder: Department of Health and Human Services Grant Title: Community Economic Development Projects  Dealine: April 28, 2017 Description: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Community Services (OCS) will award approximately $17.7 million in Community Economic Development (CED) discretionary grant funds to Community Development Corporations (CDC) for well-planned, financially viable, and innovative projects to enhance job creation and business development for individuals with low-income . CED grants will be made as part of a broader strategy to address objectives such as decreasing dependency on federal programs, chronic unemployment, and community deterioration in urban and rural areas. CED projects are expected to actively recruit individuals with low-income to fill the positions created by CED-funded development activities, to assist those individuals to successfully hold those jobs and to ensure that the businesses and jobs created remain viable for at least one year after the end of the grant period. CED-funded projects can be non-construction or construction projects, however, short-term construction jobs associated with preparing for business startup or expansion are not counted when determining the number of jobs created under the CED program as they are designed to be temporary in nature. OCS is encouraging applications from CDCs to target rural areas and underserved areas in states without current projects. Furthermore, OCS is encouraging projects that align with the Promise Zones Initiative or Choice Neighborhoods Program. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit their website.

Funder: NeighborWorks and Enterprise Grant Title: Health Outcomes Demonstration  Dealine: Sep. 30, 2016 Description: The demonstration project will enable 20 selected affordable housing and community development organizations (10 NeighborWorks Organizations and 10 Enterprise partner organizations) to complete a health outcome evaluation of one of their projects, programs or set of programs. This is an exciting opportunity to build your organization’s measurement and evaluation capacity, demonstrate the health outcomes of your work and participate in a national cohort demonstrating affordable housing and community development’s contributions to improved health outcomes. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit the Foundation’s website.

Funder: United Way and Boston College School of Social Work Grant Title: If Challenge Dealine: Sep. 14, 2016 Description: This grant one-time capital expenses that directly enhance a nonprofit organization's ability to serve its clients and achieve its mission. Grants may be used for such purposes as facility improvements, vehicles, equipment purchases, and other non-expendable assets. The Foundation targets this assistance to nonprofit organizations that would otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet this type of need through their operating budgets. Agencies must have annual operating budgets of approximately $5M or less and serve people in Greater Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn and/or New Bedford. The next application deadline is Wednesday, September 14, 2016. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit the Foundation’s website.

Funder: The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Grant Title: Small Capital Grants Program Dealine: Sep. 14, 2016 Description: This grant one-time capital expenses that directly enhance a nonprofit organization's ability to serve its clients and achieve its mission. Grants may be used for such purposes as facility improvements, vehicles, equipment purchases, and other non-expendable assets. The Foundation targets this assistance to nonprofit organizations that would otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet this type of need through their operating budgets. Agencies must have annual operating budgets of approximately $5M or less and serve people in Greater Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn and/or New Bedford. The next application deadline is Wednesday, September 14, 2016. For more information, including complete eligibility requirements, please visit the Foundation’s website.

Funder: LISC Boston Grant Title: Green Retrofit Initiative Dealine: Aug. 31, 2016 Description: With a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, LISC Boston’s Green Retrofit Initiative will provide two statewide funding opportunities for multifamily affordable housing owners. LISC will offer up to 24 Comprehensive Energy Audits at no cost for multifamily affordable housing projects approaching rehab to help owners achieve deep energy savings and integrate renewable energy technologies.  Applications for these audits are open and will be considered on a rolling basis with audits expected to begin in September. Submit an application ASAP if interested.

Funder: The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Grant Title: Massachusetts Food Venture Program Dealine: Aug. 12, 2016 Description: The grants will support the implementation of projects that increase access to Massachusetts grown, caught, or harvested healthy food and to improve economic opportunities for low to moderate income communities.  Funding through the Massachusetts Food Ventures Program is available through reimbursement grants of up to $250,000. Link:

Funder: TD Charitable Foundation Grant Title: 2016 Housing for Everyone Grants Description: Grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to projects/programs that fall within the theme of Affordable Housing for Single Parent Families. Link:

Funder: Environmental Protection Agency Grant Title: FY17 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant Deadline: Aug 10, 2016  Description: This notice announces the availability of EPA grant funds under § 104(k)(6) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA isauthorized to fund research, technical assistance and/or training activities that facilitate theinventory of brownfields, site assessments, remediation of brownfields sites, communityinvolvement or site preparation. This request for proposals (RFP) solicits proposals from eligibleentities to conduct research and/or technical assistance activities that culminate in an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup and subsequent reuse. Grant-funded activities must be directed to one or more catalyst, high priority brownfield site(s) located within a specific project area, such as a neighborhood, downtown, business or arts district, a local commercial or industrial corridor, a community waterfront, one or more city blocks, etc. Each recipient that receives a grant under this funding opportunity must develop an area-wide plan for the brownfield(s) within the project area, and include in that plan specific implementation strategies for assessing, cleaning up and reusing the brownfield(s) and related project area revitalization strategies.  Link:

Funder: TD Charitable Foundation Grant Title: Nonprofit Training Research Fund Description: Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to community-based organizations wishing to send one or more employees to an approved class/course that will enhance their job performance.  Link:

Funder: Funders' Network for Smart Growth, Urban Sustainability Directors Network Deadline: July 25, 2016 Grant Title: Round Nine of Partners for Places Description: Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant. The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations. Link:

Funder: The National Endowment for the Arts Deadline: Sepember 12, 2016 Grant Title: Our Town Description: The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. This funding supports local efforts to enhance quality of life and opportunity for existing residents, increase creative activity, and create a distinct sense of place.  

Funder: Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation Deadline: June 17, 2016 Grant Title: Small Business Assistance Grant Program Description: MGCC is seeking proposals for technical assistance and training grants to assist small businesses located in Gateway cities and other underserved communities in Massachusetts. MGCC will accept applications from not-for-profit organizations that currently provide technical assistance and training programs to small businesses and start-ups with an emphasis on underserved businesses and entrepreneurs. These grants are intended to supplement the organization’s current and anticipated funding and not to be the primary funding support. Link:

Funder: The Kresge Foundation Grant Title: Harvesting Leading Practices Description: "We seek to learn how and under what conditions creative placemaking contributes to neighborhood revitalization. We are interested in the economic, physical, social and cultural changes associated with creative placemaking and in gathering data about its impact." Link:

Funder: Department of Housing and Urban Development Deadline: 4/04/2016 Grant Title:  Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Department's Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant Program Description: All housing counseling agencies (including LHCAs, Intermediaries and MSOs) that are directly approved by HUD to participate in the HUD Housing Counseling Program prior to the NOFA issue date and SHFAs are eligible for this NOFA. Housing Counseling agencies that have not received HUD approval but meet the Housing Counseling Program approval criteria at 24 C.F.R. § 214.103 are encouraged to affiliate with a HUD-approved Intermediary or SHFA. Individuals, foreign entities, and sole proprietorship organizations are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement.  Link:

Funder: Administration for Children & Families Deadline: 4/27/2016 Grant Title:  Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Projects Description: The Office of Community Services seeks innovative strategies for increasing healthy food access while achieving sustainable employment and business opportunities for individuals who have low income. Eligible: Community Development Corporations Awards: $100,000 to $800,000 Link:

Citizens Bankin partnership with NECN - 2016 Champions in Action Program - $35,000 in unrestricted grants, click here for more information.

The Home Depot Foundation’s (THDF) Veteran Housing Grants Program awards grants to nonprofit organizations for the development and repair of veterans housing. Awards typically range from $100,000 to $500,000.

Eligible Projects

  • New construction, rehab or repair, single family or multifamily, permanent supportive housing or transitional housing.
  • Grants are awarded solely for the physical construction or repair of housing for veterans (hard costs). THDF does not provide funding for soft costs, such as furnishings, rental subsidies, tenant services, etc.
  • Target population of veterans, at or below 80% AMI.
  • Projects in which at least 20% of the units are reserved for veterans.
  • All veterans served are honorably discharged.
  • Project will commence within the next twelve months.
  • THDF grant funding must comprise less than 50% of the total development cost of the project.
  • 75% of the project’s funding sources have been identified at the time of proposal submission.
  • The amount of funding requested does not exceed $25,000 per veteran unit.
  • For multifamily rental projects, proposals requesting above $100,000 must provide evidence of a third party binding agreement that ensures the units are a.) reserved for veterans; b.) occupied by veterans for a minimum of 15 years for rental or 3 years for homeownership ( i.e. project-based HUDVASH, other funder requirement, deed restriction, zoning requirement, etc.).

Eligible Applicants

  • Grants are only awarded to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations that have been in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service for at least 5 years.
  • Organizations with a current operating budget of at least $300,000 and audited financial statements from the past three years.
  • Organizations with previous experience developing, and either currently manage or own, veteran specific housing.
  • For rental projects, nonprofit must have a 15+ year ownership stake in the development.

U.S. Conference of Mayors Announces 2016 CommunityWINS Grant Program

  • Wells Fargo Bank and the Wells Fargo Foundation are teaming up with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) to offer the CommunityWINSSM(Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization) Grant Program.
  • CommunityWINSSM will be administered by USCM with the goal of awarding $3 million over three years, to support local nonprofits in promoting long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for their community.
  • Check out the RFP

Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation Targeted Grants - Each year, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation provides more than $1,500,000 of support in grants to community-based organizations working for progress on a specific issue or set of issues facing our communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, within the Eastern Bank footprint.  Grants to these organizations are referred to as Targeted Grants.  They are intended to support programming that strengthens our communities and enhance the lives of our neighbors in specific and impactful ways.

For 2016, the Targeted Grant category of the Eastern Bank Charitable will be:

Strengthening Families: There is nothing more basic than the family unit. The award winning television series, Modern Family has humorously helped America understand that families come in many different forms. But regardless of the makeup of the family unit, we can all agree that the fundamental essence of a family is a group of people who nurture one another with love and compassion and share a mutual commitment to each other.

And yet, despite our best intention, a myriad of factors can influence a family’s equilibrium. Some factors are political, some are societal, some are geographic, some are medical and some are environmental. All of them can catastrophically impact the family.

For 2016, our Targeted Grant program will support organizations that help build strength in families and work to assist the family in enduring a crisis and regaining their resiliency.

Programs we anticipate to support, but are not limited to, include:

Chronic disease: Programs that address the household environmental causes of disease. Programs that support family members when chronic or terminal disease strikes.
Counseling for families: Support for community counseling programs.
Grandparents Raising Children: Programs that support grandparents raising their children’s children.
Military Families: Programs that support families during deployment. Programs that support the family as their veteran returns to civilian life. Programs that work to help members of the military find meaningful work. Programs that support higher education for veterans.
Opiate addiction: Programs addressing the opiate addiction crisis. Programs offering support and solutions when addiction impacts their family.
Physically- and intellectually-challenged family members: Programs that provide services when a family member is physically- or intellectuallychallenged. Respite programs for family members.
Single Parents: Programs offering support and education for single parent households. 
Undocumented Families:Programs addressing issues related to undocumented family members. This may include programs focusing on the impact of detention and deportation, restrictions on obtaining higher education, and refugee and asylum issues.

For additional information please go to:

Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants - HUD funding for communities with severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing top develop neighborhood transformation plans. Feb 9 deadline.

Gender/Racial/Economic Justice grants - Open Meadows Foundation grants for projects led by and benefiting women in vulnerable communities. Feb 15 deadline for cycle 1.

Veterans Housing Grants - Home Depot Foundation, Feb 27 and June 23 deadlines.

Fund for a Just Society - Unitarian Universalist funding for community organizing to bring about systematic change. Mar 15 and Sept 15 deadlines.

NEA Challenge America - National Endowment for the Arts funding for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development projects. Apr 14 deadline.

Financial Literacy Funding - Discover Foundation. Applications accepted year-round.

Rural Business Enterprise Grant Programs - Department of Agriculture. Supports targeted TA, training, and other assistance for small and emerging private businesses. Rolling deadlines.

Bank of America Charitable Foundation - Workforce development and education, apply Jan 19-Feb 12; Community development, apply Apr 19-May 6; Basic needs, apply July 18-Aug 5.

Thriving Cultures Grants - The Surdna Foundation supports efforts that provide artists with business training and financial resources to be valuable economic assets for their communities. 

Funding and Design Assistance for Rural Communities - The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design helps small towns and rural communities solve design-related challenges, from Main Street revitalization to art-based community development. 

Check out the Robinson + Cole Green Tax Incentive Compendium.

Invest in your organization by investing in your employees' health and well-being!  We are excited to share an opportunity for Massachusetts employers to participate in Working on Wellness, a new comprehensive statewide worksite wellness initiative. The goal of Working on Wellness is to support Massachusetts employers in creating healthy. By developing worksite wellness programs, organizations can promote a culture of health that allows employees to focus on wellness and reduce their risk for chronic health conditions. Your organization may also benefit from worksite wellness programs through lower insurance and workers compensation costs, increased employee productivity, and decreased employee absenteeism. LEARN MORE

ArtPlace America: Call for Proposals - ArtPlace is calling for applications for $10.5 million to fund projects that work with artists and arts organizations help build stronger, healthier communities anywhere in the United States. LEARN MORE

Advancing Accountable Health Communities: A New Funding Opportunity to Spur Clinical and Community Partnerships - The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) recently announced a new $157 million funding opportunity, the Accountable Health Community Model (AHC) to better bridge clinical care and social services. READ MORE

Funder: US Department of Agriculture Deadline: Rolling Description: We currently have a Section 6025 initiative which has set aside funding for regional projects that are part of an established plan. Visit US Agriculture's website

Funder: Health Resources in Action Deadline: Rolling DescriptionInvest in your organization by investing in your employees' health and well-being! New opportunity for Massachusetts employers to participate in Working on Wellness, a comprehensive statewide worksite wellness initiative. The goal of Working on Wellness is to support Massachusetts employers in creating healthy. By developing worksite wellness programs, organizations can promote a culture of health that allows employees to focus on wellness and reduce their risk for chronic health conditions. Your organization may also benefit from worksite wellness programs through lower insurance and workers compensation costs, increased employee productivity, and decreased employee absenteeism. Working on Wellness started accepting applications for their 2nd cohort on January 4th. Visit for more information, to register for an upcoming webinar and to learn how to apply for this exciting new opportunity! 

Funder:  InvestHealth  Deadline:  January 29, 2016  Invest Health Now Accepting Letters of Intent - Invest Health, a pioneering, multi-sector initiative to improve health in mid-sized cities across the country, has released a Call for Proposals. The initiative, a partnership of The Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), will work to fully incorporate health outcomes into community development activity and fundamentally change how we revitalize neighborhoods across the country.

Funder:  Environmental Protection Agency Deadline: 2/12/2016 Grant Title: Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving Description: Supports community-based collaborations to develop/implement solutions that address environment and public health issues at the local level. Organizations are encouraged to have a connection between the proposed project activities and applicable neighborhood, local, city or regional land use planning efforts. Eligible: Tribal governments and nonprofits Awards: Up to $120,000 Link:

Funder: BCBS Massachusetts Foundation Deadline: Rolling Grant Title: Catalyst Fund Description: Examples of supported activities: hiring a grant writer, technology enhancements (AEDs are not eligible), hosting community meetings for stakeholders and constituents, engaging in leadership development opportunities for staff or board members, and marketing or outreach materials. Requests for other types of capacity-building activities will be considered. Eligible: Massachusetts community health centers, clinics, mobile health units, and community-based organizations. Awards: One-year, non-renewable grants of up to $5,000. Link:

Kresge Arts & Culture, Health teams launch food-oriFunder: BCBS Massachusetts Foundation Deadline: Rolling Grant Title: Catalyst Fund Description: Examples of supported activities: hiring a grant writer, technology enhancements (AEDs are not eligible), hosting community meetings for stakeholders and constituents, engaging in leadership development opportunities for staff or board members, and marketing or outreach materials. Requests for other types of capacity-building activities will be considered. Eligible: Massachusetts community health centers, clinics, mobile health units, and community-based organizations. Awards: One-year, non-renewable grants of up to $5,000. Link: grant opportunity"Fresh, Local & Equitable" initiative seeks to foster economic vitality, cultural expression in low-income communities - Kresge will award up to 20 planning grants of up to $75,000 each in the first quarter of 2016 as part of the initiative. Organizations and collaborations that lead food-oriented development initiatives in economically distressed urban neighborhoods are eligible. Planning grants can last up to 12 months. Recipients will participate in a national learning network and also have the opportunity to apply for implementation grants. Read more

Santander Bank 2015 Financial Education Grant Opportunity - Santander Bank focuses its charitable contributions in four main areas: Housing, Health, Education and Neighborhood / Financial Stability. Santander Bank is making approximately $1 million in funding available focused on improving financial outcomes among low-income adults, with a special focus on young adults age 16- 24, within its footprint. Grants will range from $25,000 to $100,000 for a one year period, with an opportunity to renew funding in 2016. LEARN MORE

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2016 Call for Applications Now Open: Up to 10 winning communities will each receive a $25,000 cash prize and have their success stories celebrated and shared broadly to inspire locally-driven change across the nation. Applications will be accepted August 10, 2015 through November 12, 2015 at 3pm ET. Communities should understand they are applying for a prize and not a grant. The Prize recognizes work that has already been accomplished.

Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation Deadline: 11/1/2015 Grant Title: Art & Social Justice Description: Grants to catalyze collective action, promote equality, contribute to advocacy and policy change and develop capacity for greater civic engagement.  The Foundation is also interested in supporting organizations outside of the arts whose programs seek to engage communities through cultural activities.. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits Awards: $2,500 to $100,000 Link:

Cultural Facilities Fund Grants Now Available. These funds will allow the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment to support capital projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences that expand access and education; create jobs in construction and cultural tourism; and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Deadlines vary – details at

Richard & Susan Smith Family Foundation Deadline: 10/15/2015 Grant Title: Small capital Grants Description: Grants support one-time capital expenses that directly enhance a nonprofit organization’s ability to serve its clients and achieve its mission. Examples: facility improvements, vehicles, equipment purchases, and other non-expendable assets. The Foundation targets this assistance to nonprofits that would otherwise find it difficult, if not impossible, to meet this type of need through their operating budgets. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits with annual budgets of $3M or less. Awards: $5,000 to $50,000 Link:

Bank of America Foundation Deadline: Rolling Funding Focus: Community development, education/workforce development and critical needs. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits in specific markets Awards: Not specified Link:

Nonprofit Finance Fund Deadline: 11/18/2015 Grant Title: Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits Description: The Catalyst Fund is a source of financial and technical advisory support as a catalyst for promising voluntary collaborative ventures and mergers among nonprofit organizations. The Fund is currently focused on supporting Boston area collaborations in the following mission areas:  arts & culture, community development, human services, and youth development. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits. The boards of all participating nonprofits must be in communication and have passed a resolution identifying their potential partner(s), and the proposed collaborative venture must meet the definition of collaboration noted on the Catalyst Fund website. Awards: Catalyst Fund financial support ("in the tens of thousands of dollars") will be deployed on behalf of participating nonprofits to pay for services delivered by their preferred technical assistance provider. In certain instances, the Catalyst Fund may elect to provide financing directly to the collaborating nonprofits to support the implementation of a formally agreed collaboration. Link:

Surdna Foundation Deadline: Rolling; Letter of Inquiry  Funding Focus: The Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in US communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures. We seek to dismantle the structural barriers that limit opportunity for many, helping to create communities that are prosperous, culturally enriching, and sustainable. How to Apply: The Foundation makes both project and general support grant after staff review of Letters of Inquiry. Full proposals are requested by staff and reviewed by the Foundation’s board of directors in March, July, or December. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits, including fiscal agentsAwards: Not specified Link:

CITC NOFA Released by DHCD:  Remaining credits for 2015 will be available to all certified CDCs seeking a first-time credit allocation and any 2015 Community Partner (CDCs only) in receipt of less than the maximum allowable allocation amount in 2015 ($150,000) and seeking additional credits.  DOWNLOAD (Word document). DUE: September 22, 2015

Learn more about the Heart of the Community grant program offered by the Project for Public Spaces.


Please be advised that the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) is re-posting the attached RFQ and extending the deadline for responses to 5:00PM EST, September 11, 2015. Please see amended RFQ for an updated timeline of submissions and awards.

The Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) seeks qualified organizations and individuals to provide tenant outreach services for tenants currently residing at expiring use 13A properties. This Tenant Outreach Program (TOP) will provide information to tenants at all expiring use 13A developments. CLICK HERE to learn more (PDF).  

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston announces second round of Working Cities Challenge for Massachusetts cities

Collaborative leaders in eligible Massachusetts cities are invited to form cross-sector teams to compete in the Working Cities Challenge. The Challenge is a competition designed to lead smaller cities in Massachusetts through a rigorous process that builds cross-sector collaboration and leadership to solve issues impacting the lives of low-income residents. The second round features $15,000 design grants for select teams; after a six-month planning period, design grantees may then compete for three-year implementation prizes (amount TBD, but expected to be in the $300-500,0000 range).Teams that wish to apply must express their interest by 9/11/15; applications are due on 9/30/15, and only one per eligible city will be accepted. More details are available at:

State Farm Foundation: Grants
State Farm is committed to meeting the needs of our communities by focusing our giving in three areas: Safe Neighbors (safety), Strong Neighborhoods (community development), and Education Excellence (education). Maximum award: varies. Eligibility: US 501c3 nonprofits, Canadian charitable organizations, educational institutions, and government entities. Deadline: October 31, 2015.

TD Charitable Foundation Deadline: 9/4/2015 Grant Title: Housing for Everyone Funding Goals: To create new units focused on the needs of the elderly; including access to medical and health services or programs; proximity to shopping, community and transportation services; and adaptability to the changing needs of aging populations. Eligible: Nonprofits Awards: $100,000 Link:

George B. Henderson Foundation Invites Applications for Boston Beautification Projects:  The George B. Henderson Foundation is dedicated solely to the enhancement of the physical appearance of the City of Boston. To that end, the foundation awards grants in support of  projects that improve the visual environment of city parks, streets, buildings, monuments, and architectural and sculptural works. Each project must be visible by the public, preferably from a public way. If funds are expended for work on building interiors, the building must be open to the public a reasonable number of days annually. Priority will be given to projects with the potential for the most significant and lasting enhancement of the physical appearance of the City of Boston.

Funder: Tufts Foundation  Deadline: July 20, 2015 Grant Title: Systems and Best Practices Description: The Tufts Health Plan Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in their work to improve systems and best practices that influence and ultimately result in healthy communities and age-friendly cities. The Foundation will fund activities in Health and Wellness, Workforce Development, Purposeful Engagement, and Field and Capacity Building that will: Improve or build systems to support healthy living with an emphasis on the systems that are serving older adults. Bring organizations together to collaboratively achieve broader impact and change, Scale efforts to address community needs Link:

Funder: National Endowment for the Arts Deadline: September 21, 2015 Grant Title: Our Town Description: Supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Our Town 1) arts engagement, cultural planning and design projects that represent the distinct character and quality of their communities; and 2) projects that build knowledge about creative placemaking. Eligible: Governments, higher education and nonprofits Awards: $25,000 to $200,000 Link:

The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is pleased to announce that it is accepting grant applications for participation in the Fiscal Year 2016 (July 2015 – June 2016) Small Business Assistance Grant Program.  MGCC is seeking proposals for technical assistance and training grants to assist small businesses located in Gateway cities and other underserved communities in Massachusetts.  Grants are subject to state funding. CLICK HERE for RFP.

Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation Deadlines: July 1, 2015 Grant Title: Mid-Size Capital Grants Funding Priorities Funds requested must be for a game-changing physical asset that will permanently enhance an agency’s service delivery potential, either by enabling it to serve significantly more clients, provide new and vitally important services, or improve the quality of its existing programs in deep and lasting ways. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits that are well-led, can point to significant accomplishments, and have a mission that is clearly aligned with that of the Smith Family Foundation  Awards: $250,000 to $3 million. Link:

Social Venture Partners is looking for nonprofits wanting to try a different kind of funding relationship. The organizations they fund are ready to take their vital work to the next level and are committed to the hard work of building their organizations. They relish the counsel of SVP Boston and working collaboratively with our Partners.

SVP Offers

•  Its Partners: Skilled volunteers who will help build your organization’s capacity in the areas that will help you reach your full potential.

•  Three years of general operating support, allocated to the areas you determine will best support your organizational development.

•  Tools to assess your organizational capacity – human resources, communications, board governance, financial management, and other systems.

•  A commitment to working in partnership.

Applicants Provide

•  A willingness to share openly what’s holding your organization back. Once the cards are on the table, we can get to work – together.

•  Flexibility and openness to working with SVP Partners who have busy schedules and varied professional backgrounds.

•  A commitment to talking to us when something’s not working for you. That may be uncomfortable, but our best results come from honest relationships.

•  An annual work plan and progress report that outlines the capacity building areas on which you are focused, how they relate to your mission, and what you have achieved at the end of each year.

For Application Instructions, Visit

Apply now to Small Business Administration's Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME) grant! Community development organizations who are able to provide a 50% match are eligible for up to $250,000 to put towards training, capacity building, and technical assistance programs. Applications will be accepted until June 29, 2015.

Apply now for the Ben & Jerry's Foundation grant for community organizing. This grant provides up to $15,000 to organizations to provide resources to community groups helping to further further social justice and produce sustainable food systems. 

Interested in preserving play spaces? Apply now to the Keen Effect funding opportunity, providing $10,000 to nonprofit organizations with projects dedicated to responsible outdoor participation.  They're receiving applications now and finalists will be announced by September 26, 2015, National Public Lands Day.

Housing and Urban Development is currently offering a total of $3.5 million for up to 60 organizations for their Comprehensive Housing Counseling Program. This funding will go to support agencies with programs providing counsel around housing and homeownership. Apply before May 7th!

Apply by April 30th for the Region One New England Healthy Communities Grant funded by the Environmental Protection Agency!  For this $600,000 grant, three awards will be chosen that increase collaborations with community partners, decrease environmental and health risks, and establish emergency preparedness.

Harvesting Leading Practices is a new grant offered by The Kresge Foundation providing funding for local programs geared towards provided resources and guides for those pursuing creative placemaking in their communities. This grant is available to all non profits not considered private foundations and has an open deadline. READ MORE & APPLY

Apply now for Clipper Ship Foundation grants for up to $20,000 in funding to help poor and sick residents in Boston, Brockton and Lawrence.  These grants are available to 501c3 nonprofits that currently operate with less than $5 million a year and work with children, elders, new immigrant populations, the homeless, people with disabilities or low-income communities.

Boost your grant-seeking capacity for only $75/year (reg. $699/year). MACDC members get full access to GrantStation, an online resource that aids nonprofits in identifying and securing funding sources, and coaches them through the process. Take the free webinar March 20 at 2:00 pm (Eastern Time) to learn how to use GrantStation to identify and secure grants. REGISTER NOW

It's time to apply for the Adams Art Program Grant! This amazing program has provided over $9 million over the past ten years to Massachusetts initiatives dedicated to revitalizing communities, growing creative industries, creating jobs, and increasing engagement in cultural activities. With matched grants, these projects have led to over $38 million in investment to Massachusetts creatives over the past 10 years!
Register now for the March 25th Adams Art Program Webinar for more information on how to apply for the grant! Then submit your online application by May 7th for a chance to be selected.

Wells Fargo NEXT Awards are providing funding for CDFIs committed to producing new strategies for  low-income and low-wealth communities. Apply by March 2, 2015 for one of the three NEXT Awards: the NEXT Opportunity Award, the NEXT Seed Capital Award, and the NEXT Seed Capital Award for Savings Innovation!

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing funding for their new initiative Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation (SCALE). This initiative would allow collaborative organizations to bring refreshing alternatives to community health awareness. To find out if your organization is eligible, READ MORE. Apply by March 4th!

The Home Depot Foundation is now offering Community Impact Grants to organizations whom heavily rely on volunteers to improve the physical health of those in their communities. These $5000 grants are in the form of Home Depot gift cards which can be used for tools, services or materials. Apply by September 1st!

Haven't heard about HUD’s $76 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant?  Apply by February 9th to support the development work in your neighborhood!

The Walmart Foundation is now providing grants for organizations providing hunger relief or healthy eating programs. This State Giving Program is providing grants on a rolling deadline of May 1st, July 17th, and September 18th.

USDA is now offering funding to connect rural communities with broadband service. Apply for the Community Connect Grant Program before it’s too late!  Applications will be accepted until February 17th.

HUD’s Choice Neighborhood Implementation grants now provide $76 million to qualified neighborhoods. Apply by February 9th!

Is your organization looking to provide skills and guidance to low-income tax payers? If so, the CFED Taxpayer Opportunity Network is looking to provide resources for your programs.

Looking for a grant to promote safe neighborhood work? The Trustees of the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation is now providing $1 million in grants for work towards violence prevention in eastern Massachusetts.  Apply before March 2nd, 2015!

Apply now for Preservation Massachusetts Predevelopment Loan Fund.  The Predevelopment Loan Fund offers loans between $25,000 and $75,000 for up to 5 recipients per year.  The loan will allow for a new source of predevelopment preservation funding for buildings that are eligible or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. READ MORE

The BUILD Health Challenge is currently offering grants and loans to up to 14 organizations to help foster collaborations for improving health in low-income communities.  These collaborations are specifically for low-income communities in cities with populations greater than 150,000. Apply by January 16, 2015!

The Tufts Health Plan Foundation is now accepting grant applications for activities that aid older adults who are economically and socially at-risk.  Massachusetts and Rhode Island non-profit organizations are eligible for the grant.  Apply before January 20, 2015!

CDCs, Colleges, and other non-profit organizations are now encouraged to participate in the Innovation Mentoring Initiative.  Grantees will receive up to $50,000 to form innovative mentorship opportunities for underserved populations.  Submissions will be accepted on a rolling deadline through June 30, 2016.

Citizens Bank is now offering grants for up to $50,000 to community organizations invested in providing financial readiness courses.  Eligible financial readiness courses encompass the following topics: budgeting, foreclosure prevention, homeownership counseling, credit management, asset building and the basics of banking, and financial management for small businesses.  Applications for these grants are due by January 30, 2015. LEARN MORE

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, is now offering $20,000 grants for organizations interested in their “Community Financial Empowerment Learning Partnership”. This 18-month program offers community organizations the opportunity to learn more about expanding their services and building capacity in their field. The program runs from April 2015- September 2016, and proposals should be submitted no later than Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 5:00pm PT. LEARN MORE

Liberty Mutual Foundation – 12/22/2015

Funding Priorities: homeless youth and increased coordination. Applicants may find solutions by working across education, workforce development, housing, health care, feeding programs, youth development, arts and culture – or by focusing on a single area. Funder seeks asset-based solutions that empower and nurture youth. Eligible: 501c3 nonprofits located, and providing services, in Boston. Funding: Average grant: $40,000. Link:

Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund – 2/1/2015 and 7/1/2015

Funding Priorities: health (human and animal), visual arts, land conservation and historic preservation. The Fund also makes grants in support of capital projects. Eligible: 501c3 social service and youth service organizations in Massachusetts only. Funding: Not specified. Link:

TD Green Streets is a new collaborative program with TD Bank and the Arbor Day Foundation that will provide 10 grants, each $20,000.  These grants will be provided for trees, tree planting, and tree maintenance in low to moderate-income communities.  Opportunity available to current Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA -designated communities.

USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants

$10,000 to $500,000 grants are available for small rural businesses and adult education programs related to employment in rural areas.  Rolling deadline.

Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

Every two years, the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence honors urban places with innovative and well-crafted design.  One $50,000 award and four $10,000 awards will be granted.  Deadline for applications are due by December 9, 2014.

Black Rock Arts Foundation Civic Arts Projects

This funding opportunity provides support for interactive art that is community-driven and collaborative in nature.  This interactive artwork should be open to the public and entice viewers toward action or involvement in the piece.  Funding for these projects ranges anywhere from $500 to $10,000.  Deadline for applications is December 1, 2014.

Artists Engaging in Social Change: Request for Proposals

One to two year funding is now available for projects aiming to use artwork to strengthen and reflect communities.  Both individuals and 501(c)(3) organizations are open to apply.  Deadline for applications is November 12, 2014.

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative

The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) has over $5,000,000 in funding for intermediary organizations aiming to provide or assist in housing, economic development, and community facilities and developments.  All grant funding must be matched by intermediary organizations.  Deadline for applications is November 12, 2014.

DHCD has issued a NOFA for supportive housing under the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund (HPSTF):  CLICK HERE to download PDF

  • Please note the timelines are very tight, and that the awards are dependent upon final passage and signing of the supplemental budget.

Health Starts At Home - The deadline for applications is December 12, 2014:

The Boston Foundation (TBF) is holding a grant competition, Health Starts at Home,to bring housing and health related organizations together to address the negative impact that a lack of stable, affordable housing has on children’s health outcomes. Winners of the competition will receive nine month planning grants from TBF to formulate and hone their partnership and proposed program to address health and housing instability in children.

Resident volunteers, neighborhood groups and associations run by volunteers in the Dudley Street Neighborhood are encouraged to apply for the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation Small Grants Fund.  These small grants, totaling up to $5000 per project, allow community volunteers to create education and engagement oriented programs for strengthening families in the Roxbury  and Dorchester community.  Applications are due by October 30th, 2014.

With plans to spark redevelopment by creating a "critical mass of activities" in certain urban districts, state officials are soliciting nominations from municipal officials and private sector partners in gateway cities. MassDevelopment on Wednesday announced its invitation for development district nominations, saying assistance is available under a Transformative Development Fund created as part of economic development legislation signed in August by Gov. Deval Patrick. Economic development over the years has been slow to come in many former industrial cities in Massachusetts where jobless rates have historically been higher than in the Greater Boston area. In a statement, state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki said the initiative was "part of our overall strategy to transform these communities into great places to live, work, and play." A related TDI Cowork Grant Program provides up to $2 million in matching grants to for-profit and nonprofit entities that will own, sponsor, or operate collaborative workspaces. Under a pilot program, MassDevelopment is also seeking economic development fellows to work in designated gateway cities.  CLICK  HERE to learn more.

The Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund has renewed their Grant for another year!  Overseen by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and MassDevelopment, this grant funds projects towards construction and real estate development.  See more about the application process here.

ArtPlace America is currently accepting Letters of Inquiry for the 2015 round of its National Grants Program.  Since 2011, ArtPlace has contributed $56.8 million to 189 projects across 42 states and the District of Columbia. This year ArtPlace intends to support approximately 40 projects with roughly $10 million. These grants target creative placemaking projects, in which art and culture help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. Any individual or organization within the United States or U.S. Territories is eligible to apply. For more information or to submit an application, please visit The submission deadline is November 3rd at 3:59pm EST.

BACH releases new RFP for organizations in Boston.  

Transformative Development Initiative (TDI): Cowork

Collaborative Workspace Grant Program

Growing communities of entrepreneurs in Gateway Cities can now apply for grants for collaborative workspaces from the Transformative Development Fund, which the Commonwealth created through the economic development legislation that Governor Patrick signed into law on August 13. MassDevelopment is rolling out this first component of the Fund as part of the new Transformative Development Initiative (TDI).

The TDI Cowork grant program will provide up to $2 million in matching grants to for-profit and nonprofit entities that will own, sponsor, or operate collaborative workspaces - shared communities that promote innovation, creativity, and interaction - for building improvements, fit-out, and/or procuring equipment that collaborative workspace participants will utilize. This grant program can support the creation of spaces and the expansion of existing ones.

Applicats can apply for two types of grants. Proposals for Fit-out Grants, which MassDevelopment will accept on a rolling basis through January 16, 2015, will apply to construction, improvements, or equipment for new spaces or for existing facility expansions. Seed Feasibility grants will help incubate business plans for promising new spaces. Please see complete program guidelines and eligibility requirements in the RFP.

EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant Program - Sep 22 deadline. Synopsis

Department of Commerce FY 2014 Economic Development Assistance Programs - Oct deadline for funding cycle 1 of FY 2015. EDAP2014. Go to

Economic Development Administration Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance - Department of Commerce. Applications accepted on a continuing basis. EDAPLANNING2012. Go to

Fitch Foundation Preservation Grants for Mid-Career Professionals - Oct 15 deadline. Application

Office Depot Foundation Funding - Oct 31 deadline for "Building Capacity to Serve Communities" and "Giving Children Tools for Success" applications. No deadline for "Disaster Preparedness, Relief, Recovery and Rebuilding" grants. Announcement

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative Grants - Nov 12 deadline. Announcement

USDA Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program - Dec 2015 deadline. NOFA


Clipper Ship Foundation Grants - Deadline August 8, 2014

The Clipper Ship Foundation makes grants to federally tax-qualified, public charities serving sick and poor residents of the Greater Boston community and the cities of Brockton and Lawrence.  Preference is given to organizations devoted to helping the homeless and under-housed; people in need; children; elders; people with disabilities; new immigrant populations; and low-income communities and neighborhoods. The Clipper Ship Foundation specializes in funding smaller organizations. It considers applications from organizations with annual operating budget of less than $5,000,000.

The Foundation typically awards individual grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, with most grants being between $5,000 to $10,000. All applications must be submitted online, on the Foundation's website. The deadline for the current cycle is August 8th. 

HUD Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants - Deadline August 15, 2014

HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants will support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans that are expected to achieve three core goals: (1) Housing: transform distressed public and assisted housing into energy efficient, mixed-income housing that is physically and financially viable over the long-term; (2) People: support positive outcomes for families who live in the target development(s) and the surrounding neighborhood, particularly outcomes related to residents’ health, safety, employment, mobility, and education; and (3) Neighborhood: transform distressed, high-poverty neighborhoods into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to well-functioning services, high quality public schools and education programs, high quality early learning programs and services, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs. To achieve these core goals, communities must develop and implement a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy, or "Transformation Plan."

HUD expects to make approximately 10 awards, with the maximum grant size equalling no more than $500,000. Eligible organizations include nonprofits, county, city and/or township governments, and public housing associations. More information is available on HUD's website

TD Bank Charitable Foundation's Housing for Everyone - Deadline August 29, 2014

The TD Charitable Foundation's 2014 Housing for Everyone grant competition focuses on Housing for the Future. Applications should highlight the ways in which will encourage the creation or preservation of rental housing units for families with children. Through the program, 25 organizations throughout TD Bank's corporate footprint from Maine to Florida will each be awarded a $100,000 grant in 2014.

Applications will be accepted until 4:00 PM EST on Friday, August 29, 2014. Notification of awards will be made by mid November 2014. Complete grant guidelines are available on TD's website

Cabot Family Charitable Trust - Deadline September 1, 2014

The Cabot Family Charitable Trust supports arts and culture, education and youth development, environment and conservation, health and human services, and civic/public benefit. Grant awards are made in Boston and contiguous communities, as well as to organizations elsewhere in which Cabot family members have philanthropic interest. 

Grant awards range from $5,000-$50,000 for a one-year period. Applicants must begin by submitting a concept paper, using the format found on the Trust website, by September 1st. The trustees will notify applicants by email if further information is needed to complete their consideration of a request. For full application guidelines and the concept paper format, please visit the Trust website.  

Santander Bank Foundation – Deadline September 5, 2014

Santander Bank (formerly Sovereign Bank) Foundation is accepting grant applications for programming that benefits low- and moderate-income communities, primarily for community and economic development, youth and education, health and human services, and arts and culture. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. The April-June funding cycle has now closed, but the July-September funding cycle will accept applications until September 5, 2014, with grant recipients notified by October 31, 2014. Link:

Assets for Independence for Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) - Deadline October 27, 2014

The Assets for Independence program provides five-year grants to empower low-income families to become economically self-sufficient for the long-term. Participants receive financial education training on money management issues and matched savings accounts called Individual Development Accounts. Participants can use IDAs to accumulate funds with the goal of acquiring a first home, post-secondary education, or starting up or expanding a small business. Community action agencies do very well with this funding. Faith-based groups also are among recent awardees. 

Governments, public housing authorities, public and private colleges & universities, and nonprofits are eligible to apply. The average grant size is $350K per year for five years. Grants may range from $10,000 to $1,000,000. For more information, click here

EDA: Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Program – Due October 17, 2014

EDA's mission is to lead the Federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for economic growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA fulfills this mission through strategic investments and partnerships that create the regional economic ecosystems required to foster globally competitive regions throughout the United States. EDA supports development in economically distressed areas of the United States by fostering job creation and attracting private investment. Economic Development Assistance programs will make construction, non-construction, and revolving loan fund investments under the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs. Grants made under these programs will leverage regional assets to support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, encourage economic development, and strengthen America's ability to compete in the global marketplace. Through the EDAP FFO, EDA solicits applications from rural and urban communities to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions. Eligible: Local, state and tribal governments; nonprofits; higher education. Funding: $100,000 - $3,000,000. Link:

National Grid Foundation - Deadline October 31, 2014

The National Grid Foundaiton supports programs that focus on:

  1. Energy and Environment: Reducing the causes and impact of climate change, the promotion of the local environment around National Grid operational sites, the delivery of energy efficiency and alleviating fuel poverty;
  2. Education and Skills: The shortage of skills which are essential to the daily delivery of business operations is a key issue for National Grid. The company's community work focuses on engineering, research and development skills central to its business activities; and 
  3. Community Investment: Programs that directly support National Grid employees and their initiatives in the community and also encompass safety and inclusion & diversity initiatives.

US schools and 501(c)3 nonprofits that work in the Foundation’s focus areas and serve National Grid communities are eligible to apply. Grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000. National Grid has an online application process, which is available on its website. 

Trader Joe's In the Neighborhood Grants: Each store has a Donations Coordinator who handles requests for donations and volunteers. Written requests should be made at least three weeks prior to the date donaion is needed  Eligibility: 501(c)(3) nonprofits Funds: Multiple awards of volunteering and product donations. In 2013, the company donated $260 million worth of product to food banks. Deadline: None/Rolling Link:  

GrantStation Discounted for MACDC Members:

If you are a member of MACDC, you can get access to GrantStation for $75/yr. (regular price $699/yr.)

In order to improve community developers' capacity to identify and secure grants, the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) has negotiated a highly-discounted rate for GrantStation's online grant research and grant writing tool.

Click here to see if you belong to a NACEDA state or regional association. If so, your organization is eligible to have full access to GrantStation for $75 per year. (GrantStation costs $699 when purchased individually.)

GrantStation membership includes:

  • Up-to-date database of thousands of grant makers
  • Search tools to help you find the right funders for your organization
  • Online grant writing tools
  • Strategic planning tools
  • Online grant calendar

Join us for a free webinar for community developers on Tuesday, September 10 from 2-3 pm (Eastern). Learn how to use GrantStation to identify probable funders, check out GrantStation's grant writing, planning, and calendar tools, and find out if GrantStation meets your organization's needs.

Click here to register for the FREE September 10 webinar.

Click here to register for GrantStation at the $75 rate.

This notice announces the availability of EPA grant funds under § 104(k)(6) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA isauthorized to fund research, technical assistance and/or training activities that facilitate theinventory of brownfields, site assessments, remediation of brownfields sites, communityinvolvement or site preparation. This request for proposals (RFP) solicits proposals from eligibleentities to conduct research and/or technical assistance activities that culminate in an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup and subsequent reuse. Grant-funded activities must be directed to one or more catalyst, high priority brownfield site(s) located within a specific project area, such as a neighborhood, downtown, business or arts district, a local commercial or industrial corridor, a community waterfront, one or more city blocks, etc. Each recipient that receives a grant under this funding opportunity must develop an area-wide plan for the brownfield(s) within the project area, and include in that plan specific implementation strategies for assessing, cleaning up and reusing the brownfield(s) and related project area revitalization strategies.
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Quaboag Valley CDC helping a small business to recover and grow after tornado.

August 28th, 2013 by

Tibbetts Optical is a 17 year old retail optical shop owned and operated by Brenda Tibbetts, a sole proprietor, for the past two and a half years. She's grown the business from gross sales of $101,055 in 2011 to $130,714 in 2012.  It is now a very attractive retail storefront business in downtown Monson.  Brenda is an active participant in the downtown merchants group.   

Brenda Tibbetts has 15 years of experience as an optician and a passion for “helping others feel good about their eyewear."  She was a manager at Lens Crafters for 10 years and also has two years experience teaching opticians. In late 2010, she purchased an existing practice in Monson that had been in operation for 15 years. Shortly after opening the business, the June 2011 tornado destroyed much of downtown Monson and blew the roof off Brenda’s store. Much of the refurbishing work, equipment, and inventory purchases were financed with two low interest rate credit cards.  However, the credit cards now carry rates as high as 20%.

Adding to the credit card burden, Brenda’s spouse, Raymond, who has his own drywall contracting company, recently injured his back.  This required surgery that will keep him out of work for more than 6 months.

A request for bank financing within the last year was declined due to the business’s high debt to income ratio and length of time in business.

Brenda asked QVCDC for assistance in preparing for another approach to a bank. QVCDC staff, augmented by consulting help from a Certified Public Accountant, completed a financial review and identified several steps Brenda could take to improve her financial position and record keeping. As a result, Brenda made significant changes in order to reduce expenses.  She made improvements to her accounting system and corrected previous errors. She learned what inventory moves and which is more profitable.

With help from Quaboag Valley CDC, Brenda identified that her main competition comes from a business in Palmer, and that she has some competition from WalMart in Ware.  Accordingly, she’s repositioned her business to feature her consultative selling skills, better selection of merchandise and fast and accurate service because she cuts many of her own lenses.

Due to her extensive industry contacts in western and central Massachusetts, Brenda receives many referrals to her shop from colleagues. She has demonstrated her ability to persevere through setbacks, and has the willingness and capacity to become more strategic in her business operations.

The assistance and improved finances helped Brenda obtain the capital for needed equipment.

QVCDC’s next steps with this client are to help her use the more accurate financial information to put together a financing package to refinance her high rate credit card debt.

By Gail Farnsworth French, Quaboag Valley CDC

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Was 2012 Really the Best Year for Massachusetts CDCs since 1982?

December 17th, 2012 by Joe Kriesberg

Last January I received a good bit of teasing for a blog post that I wrote entitled Could 2012 be the Best Year For Massachusetts CDCs Since 1982? Many of my colleagues thought that I was, at best, hopelessly optimistic or, at worst, strangely naive.  The truth is that I was shamelessly promoting both MACDC's 30th anniversary (we were created in 1982) and our campaign to pass the Community Development Partnership Act, which I suggested would be the most important piece of community development legislation in at least 30 years.

I will leave it to others to rank 2012 in the history of Massachusetts CDCs, but with all the challenges we faced due to the economy and declining public funding it was still quite a year:

  • * We did in fact pass the Community Development Partnership Act in August, creating a $66 million revenue stream for CDCs between 2013 and 2019. We see the program as a way to dramatically increase the scale and impact of community development efforts around the state.
  • * The Legislature enacted a two year, $20 million increase in the state low income housing tax credit.
  • * Governor Patrick increased the capital budget for affordable housing by $10 million.
  • * The Attorney General secured $318 million in foreclosure relief funds as part of the National Foreclosure Settlement, including $21 million that went to CDCs and other nonprofit organizations to support their programs.
  • * The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation increased its suport for small business technical assistance programs from $600,000 to $725,000.
  • * The Mel King Institute offered more trainings to more participants than ever before.
  • * Election day brought more good news for those of us who support a balanced approach to federal budget issues and for the seven cities and towns that passed the Community Preservation Act locally.
  • * MACDC celebrated its 30th anniversary with over 200 friends and colleagues, providing an opportunity to celebrate both our founders and our future.
  • * CDCs themselves showed remarkable resilience as they continued to build housing, create jobs, support local businesses and engage local residents at near record levels despite the difficult economic times.  The MACDC Goals Initiative issued a report showing that CDCs had generated $336 million in economic activity in 2011 - the second highest total ever recorded.

For me, 2012 was a reminder that collective advocacy still matters as we were able to secure millions of dollars in new resources for our communities by working together and with others to make our case.  Hundreds of people and dozens of organizations helped pass the CDPA in what was undoubtedly the biggest and most exciting policy campaign in MACDC's history. And it was a reminder that the work we do in the community development field has meaning for those who live and work in our communities as well as for policy makers who are looking for concrete solutions to challenging problems.

Of course, many of the resources generated in 2012, includng the CDPA, won't hit the street until 2013 and beyond. This means that we have a great deal of work to do next year to ensure the timely and effective implementation of these programs. This is a big part of our new Strategic Plan.  If we are successful, the achievements of 2012 will soon be eclipsed by the results we generate in the years to come.  In the end, I don't think I'm being overly optimistic or naive to say that the community development field's best year won't be 2012. Our best year is yet to come.

Happy New Year!

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10 Reasons CDPA is Now Law

August 10th, 2012 by Joe Kriesberg

After an exciting two-year campaign, the Legislature has passed and the Governor has signed the Community Development Partnership Act into law. I believe this is the most significant community development legislation in Massachusetts since the late 1970's when Mel King led an effort to pass the original CDC enabling law, created CEDAC and CDFC (now merged into MGCC) and the CEED program. Over the past few days, many people have asked me how we did it. Well, it's a long story, but here are my top ten reasons that we were able to pass the CDPA.

1. We laid a strong foundation: For years MACDC has cultivated a strong presence in the State House and strong relationships with many legislators and legislative aides (never under-estimate the importance of the aides.)  At the same time, our members have been cultivating strong relationships with their elected officials so those legislators know the important role that CDCs play in their communities. MACDC has also worked hard to build strong relationships with many other advocacy organizations: we have helped them so when the time came they were happy to help us.  We also laid a strong policy foundation by working on and winning passage of numerous bills and budget items in recent years, most significantly, the new and updated CDC enabling law in Chapter 40h.

2. We took the time to develop a strong policy proposal based on best practices in other states and in federal programs: MACDC spent years developing this proposal. We looked at similar tax credit programs in other states as well as federal models like the CDFI program and the CHDO program. Politics and advocacy matter, as you see on this list, but you need to have a sound policy proposal that can be supported by facts and evidence. We did that.

3. We had great champions in the Legislature: Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Linda Dorcena Forry were absolutely fantastic champions for this legislation. Not only did they chair the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, but they embraced this as their number one priority for the year. When a legislator makes your bill their number one priority, you have a chance.  Sen. DiDomenico and Rep. Forry recruited 46 c0sponsors, held 7 field hearings around the state (the "listening tour") and continually kept the Legislative Leadership informed about the progress of the bill.  They also demonstrated real strategic insight by getting the bill incorporated into the larger economic development bill ensuring that CDPA was part of a vehicle that would make it to the Governor's desk. And I can't say enough about the outstanding work done by Rep. Forry's staff (John High and Stephanie Heller) and Sen. DiDomenico's staff (Chritie Ghetto Young, Wally DeGuglielmo and Ingrid Freire)

4. We built a strong partnership with the United Way:  The first meeting I had about this legislation was with Michael Durkin at the United Way. I knew that we needed their active support to win this campaign and Michael was enthusiastic from the beginning. It turns out that Mike had run a very similar tax credit program in Denver so he was familiar with how powerful this model is. The United Way was a powerful and important partner throughout the campaign and we expect to continue that partnership during implementation (the fact that Mike and I both grew up in Syracuse, NY also helped solidify the partnership!)

5. The MACDC GOALs report provided the data to demonstrate the impact CDCs have at the local level: MACDC launched the MACDC GOALs Initiative in 2002 so we have excellent data going back several years that can document the impact of this work. Having that data - and demonstrating a willingness to be held accountable - were key elements to making the case.

6. We devised a strong inside/outside legislative campaign: MACDC has always been committed to an advocacy model that involves both grassroots efforts and inside lobbying. Allison Staton (Ms. Inside) and Pam Bender (Ms. Outside) worked incredibly well as a team to bring both tactics to bear on this campaign. Over the past two years we held two major Lobby Days at the State House with over 200 people in attendance each time; we held over 40 in-district meetings with dozens of legislators where local residents could make the case directly; we generated dozens and even hundreds of calls at various points in the campaign; and we had a physical presence in the building every week to ensure that our bill was moving forward.

7. We took seriously the growing concerns about tax credits and addressed them in our legislation: CDCs are deeply familiar with tax credit programs so we know the benefits and challenges associated with them. We were also well aware of the growing concerns within the State House about tax credits in light of controversial tax credit programs that cost the state significant money without necessarily generating sufficient public benefits. We drafted the original bill to ensure high levels of accountability and transparency. When the Tax Expenditure Commission issued its recommendations in April we re-examined our bill to make sure we complied. We then worked with the Senate to amend the bill on the floor to strengthen these provisions. Both the substance of these changes and our explicit willingness to be responsive went a long way in winning over legislators and the Governor.

8. Legislators intuitively "get it" when we talk about place-based work: As I wrote in an earlier blog post, legislators understand our work because they represent the same places we serve. As a result, our message resonated with them as we talked about local solutions to local problems and devising strategies that responded the unique qualities of our communities.

9. Governor Patrick gets it when it comes to community building and community development: Since the beginning of his first campaign, Governor Patrick has talked about the importance of building strong communities and promoting civic engagement. He has been a steadfast supporter of CDCs for years so when this bill arrived on his desk he was strongly inclined to support it. Of course, as Governor, he has to consider other issues too, so he was determined to make sure our program complied with the Tax Expenditure Commission recommendations. Once he was assured that it did, he signed our tax credit program even as he vetoed three other tax credit programs that did not meet those requirements. 

10. At the moment of truth, our members, friends and allies rose to the occasion: Two times in the past month, the CDPA was in danger of defeat. First, the Senate Ways & Means Committee replaced our multi-year tax credit program with a one-year, $1 million grant program. In less than 48 hours, our members flooded the State House with calls and we had 24 out of 40 Senators sponsoring an amendment to restore CDPA to the economic development bill.  The Amendment was adopted 36-0, as Sen. DiDomenico worked the floor to ensure its passage. A few days later, the bill landed on the Governor's desk and there was concern that he might veto it because it created a new tax credit. Again, within 48 hours, we had generated over 300 calls to the Governor, sent a "sign-on" letter to him with 23 prominent individuals and organizations, sparked numerous calls from legislators, mayors and even a congressman to encourage the Governor to sign the bill. As I said above, the Governor is a big believer in community development, but he had concerns about the use of tax credit. These calls helped distinguish our program substantively and politically.

No campaign like this can succeed without careful planning, hard work, and a little bit of luck. We had all three working for us, as well as the efforts of hundreds of individuals each of whom did their part to pass this legislation. To be honest, I was surprised and humbled by the outpouring and I am forever grateful to everyone who helped.

My next few blog posts on CDPA will be about implementation. I'm looking forward to writing those!

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How can we drive performance in the Community Development Field?

March 16th, 2011 by Joe Kriesberg

Performance and accountability are the subject of substantial discussion these days throughout the nonprofit sector. Government agencies, private funders and non-profit leaders themselves are increasingly focused on taking steps to ensure that we fund programs "that work" and stop funding those "that don't".   Last week, I wrote about Social Impact Bonds, a new approach for doing this about which I have serious concerns. Today that I want to share an idea that I think has great promise.

Obviousely, no one can disagree with the view that we should "fund what works." But this statement simply begs the question of what we are trying to achieve. While this may seem easy to determine, in fact it is often not. Most non-profit organizations and programs have multiple stakeholders, each of whom have their own set of goals – goals that are sometimes in conflict, and are almost always different in terms of emphasis, time frame and priority. Balancing the interests of these different stakeholders is one of the key challenges of being a leader in the nonprofit sector.

At the same time, it is precisely this balancing act that I believe drives innovation and ultimately better, and more sustainable, long-term outcomes. Simply put, this complexity mirrors the complexity of the real world so it produces solutions that will work in the real world. Communities and people are complicated. There are no silver bullets or simple solutions to deeply rooted, complex social challenges, and success looks differently to different people. Equally important, all activities and interventions have multiple impacts and externalities – positive and negative – and they all have short term and long term impacts. This is especially true in the community development field where we are trying to have an impact on individuals and families as well as the broader community. I believe that having multiple stakeholders at the table helps to ensure that all of these impacts are considered, and that negotiating these competing interests results in more balanced, creative and effective solutions.

MACDC hopes to promote this framework through our campaign to enact the Community Development Partnership Act.  This bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry and Senator Sal DiDomenico and 46 other legislators, (and modeled after similar programs in other states) would use tax credits to leverage private donations to genuine and authentic community based development organizations, i.e. CDCs. Rather than creating static, rigid, or one-dimensional outcome metrics for the program, the CDPA will use three levels of accountability to ensure the program’s success while maintaining local flexibility and driving innovation.

  • -  First, and foremost, community members would have a voice because only those organizations with meaningful community representation on their board of directors would be eligible to compete for the tax credits. This helps to ensure that programs and activities funded are relevant and appropriate to the particular local community.
  • -  Second, state government will have oversight because they will review each application and determine which groups receive an allocation of tax credits. Those applications will specify how the CDC will evaluate and measure success. The state will then collect data and reports to measure progress and outcomes.
  • -  Third, the CDCs will need to convince private sector donors – corporate and individual – to make donations with the tax credit creating an incentive, but no guarantee, that funds will be provided.

We believe that having three levels of accountability increases the likelihood that the CDPA will be successful as compared to a program that is designed to simply meet the needs of a specific funder or stakeholder.  To be successful, CDCs will need to innovate, partner, measure, learn, and adapt. CDCs that don’t will surely lose the support of at least one of their key stakeholder groups – if not all of them – and fall out of the program.

Performance and ensure accountability are core values for MACDC. Look for future blog posts about other ways that MACDC, its members and our partners are seeking to advance those values. And, please, share your own!

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Unsung Heroes: The Success of Nonprofit Counseling Agencies in Combating Foreclosures

June 7th, 2010 by Don Bianchi

This is a true story. Actually, it is two stories about the foreclosure crisis, both true.

We’re familiar with the first story. In Massachusetts and across the country, the foreclosure crisis continues to decimate families, and communities. The response from loan servicers has ranged from marginally improved at best, to anywhere from woefully inadequate to counter-productive at worst. The programs initiated by the federal government have been too little and too late and too reliant on the voluntary participation of lenders.

According to data provided by the Warren Group to the Boston Globe, the number of homeowners in Massachusetts who lost their properties to foreclosure in April, 2010 (1,372) is 80% more than the number from April of 2009 (764), and the number of foreclosure petitions (the first step in the foreclosure process) jumped 21% compared to April of 2009. Furthermore, lenders are getting more efficient at foreclosure, reducing the time it takes to complete a foreclosure from 9.2 months in October, 2008 to 4.6 months in November 2009.

But there is another story, hidden under the grim headlines of the first story. Nonprofit counseling agencies across the Commonwealth are helping prevent foreclosure, and when necessary they are helping people transition to new housing so they can land on their feet.

During calendar year 2009, according to data collected by MACDC through its GOALs Survey, MACDC Members counseled 5,200 households at risk of foreclosure. The same members reported that, by the end of calendar year 2009, 31% (1,590 households) had achieved a positive outcome (averting foreclosure) by the end of the year. Since it can take many months for these situations to be resolved many of these 5,200 households will eventually achieve a positive outcome in 2010. Furthermore, the percentage of families in Massachusetts achieving successful outcomes within the same year increased from 24% in 2008 to 31% in 2009.

Some of this success is likely attributable to the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that was introduced in early 2009. Despite significant problems with HAMP in moving borrowers from temporary to permanent loan modifications, by February, 2010, over 4,000 Massachusetts families had received permanent loan modifications under the program.

The positive impact of foreclosure prevention counseling is further demonstrated by data on the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program (NFMC). The most recent findings from an Urban Institute analysis of NFMC showed that homeowners who sought counseling after a foreclosure filing were 1.6 times more likely to get out of foreclosure, and avoid a foreclosure sale, than homeowners not assisted by counseling.

The experience of MACDC members bears out the positive impact of this counseling. Juan Bonilla, the Director of Homeownership Programs at Lawrence Community Works (LCW), tells a story of an elderly man who was not aware until days before his home was to be foreclosed that there was assistance available. With LCW’s help he got the auction postponed and later submitted the documents necessary for a loan modification, which LCW expects to be successful. There was a woman whose lender gave her a trial modification, and at its completion insisted she enter another trial period at a higher interest rate and payment, because the lender mistakenly calculated that her income had increased 25%. Because of the intervention and the persistence of the LCW counselors, both homeowners remain in their homes. Since 2007, LCW has provided foreclosure prevention assistance to approximately 400 families in the region, and 59% of these families have achieved positive outcomes.

At the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) in East Boston, Counselor Smita Das tells the story of a single mother of two young children. After losing her job, she was unable to pay the two mortgages on her triple-decker. With NOAH’s helped she received a trail modification under the HAMP program, and then a permanent modification that lowered the combined monthly payment on her mortgages from $4,500 to just over $2,800.

Michele Morris of Valley CDC in Northampton highlights an important reason for counselors’ success in helping homeowners in crisis: the ability to develop a positive working relationship with the loan servicer’s staff. Homeowners may typically vent their frustration by treating the loan servicer’s staff as an adversary, which is not conducive to getting the family’s loan prioritized and getting the complex servicing errors untangled.

The moral of this story is clear. With all the challenges associated with loan modifications and foreclosure prevention counseling, it remains the fastest and most cost effective method of assisting families facing foreclosure, preserving family wealth, avoiding displacement, and stabilizing neighborhoods. Our frustration and anger about the on-going foreclosure crisis should not obscure the important success that nonprofit organizations are having day after day, one family at a time. We need to dramatically increase support for counseling, not throw in the towel in despair.

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Asian CDC Launches Participatory Chinatown as a New Community Tool

May 17th, 2010 by Pete Kane

Earlier this month, Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) showcased a groundbreaking tool for civic engagement. Developing a very realistic 3D environment mimicking Chinatown in Boston, Participatory Chinatown gives community members opportunities to learn about the possibilities and tradeoffs the neighborhood may face in the coming years. MACDC member ACDC, in collaboration with MAPC, has provided its community with a new way to learn about their neighborhood while at the same time interact with a possible future for that area. Provided in both English and Cantonese, the program has been crafted to meet the needs of the local residents. Youth from the neighborhood volunteer at the events as well to help other residents learn how to use the 3D space and feel more comfortable.

ACDC and MAPC have hosted a number of interactive sessions for the public. I attended their event on May 5th which was focused on educating practitioners about the tool. Broken down into two sessions, we are able to see Chinatown in two different lights. The first session focuses on playing a fully-storied character in order to achieve the character's desired goal. Each character is looking to fulfill a need within one of three categories: work, housing, social. My character, Hong Yee, was a recent immigrant with a family looking for suitable, low-income housing. By playing the character within the 3D world of the current Chinatown, you as the player are provided a view into what Chinatown is like today. Where can you find a job, where are the different types of housing located, what locations provide adequate social interaction? Through interactions both with hotspots in the world as well as with other characters, I was given hints as to where to find housing and what that type of housing could provide my family. At the end of this session, the player is asked to evaluate the options they have been presented and choose the three best options for their character. Which three jobs do you feel your character can be successful at, what housing options provide you with your needs, where can you socialize and thereby grow within your community? These choices come with tradeoffs, providing the user a view into the issues facing those currently living and working in Chinatown. There is also the chance you may end up with none of your choices - a direct reflection on the current needs of the area. As my character had a fixed budget and needed at least two bedrooms, my options were slim. In the end, I did not find housing as the wait list for my choices were too long.

The second session allows the user to examine some potential development scenarios. The three scenarios - housing-oriented, jobs-oriented, and mixed-use - were developed by MAPC and ACDC for the area of Chinatown south of the Turnpike. Participants are presented with a number of topics that deal with planning and development such as business, open space, parking and identity. Based on the three topics you feel are most important to consider when redeveloping this area, you are presented with one of the three scenarios. I selected “walkability,” “connectivity,” and “identity” as the most important factors which resulted in the mixed-use future scenario. As a user, you are invited to enter a 3D world again - this time it is the scenario that was selected. You then walk around the world to see what a future for the area might look like under this type of development. While walking around, you are asked to provide comments related to the earlier topic areas as well as to provide other comments. These comments are viewable by everyone and will be utilized in the visioning process for the Chinatown master plan.

The Participatory Chinatown team traveled to Washington, D.C., in May as part of National Lab Day to showcase the potential of this tool to senior White House Staff. This meeting will help to bring this virtual concept to the national stage, showcasing the possibility to many other community development organizations as a means to engage their communities. It will be exciting to see what information, concerns and ideas come out of this new innovation that MACDC's member ACDC has developed.

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Lobby Day 2010

April 14th, 2010 by Allison Staton

Photo by Lolita Parker Jr.

There is something inspiring about bringing people to the State House.  As a professional lobbyist I can, at times, take for granted the grand and inspiring dome sitting atop Beacon Hill.  I can find the process of watching bills or the annual budget go through the legislative process to be frustrating.

Yet on Tuesday, April 6th the stunning Hall of Flags filled with people, posters, PowerPoint displays on laptops, brochures and good food.    CDCs from around Massachusetts were represented by board members, staff, community leaders, and more than a dozen youth leaders.  Over 200 people from 38 member organizations came to meet with at least 38 legislators and aides to talk about the importance of ongoing foreclosure relief, fully supporting small business technical assistance and the role of CDCs in neighborhoods and regions throughout the Commonwealth. We also made a strong push for funding summer jobs for youth, with Makeila Layne, Dorchester Bay Youth Force from Dorchester Youth Force speaking to the crowd about the importance of those programs.

I heard people marvel at how beautiful the building is and I reminded them it is their building, they pay for it and the salaries of those working in it.  People talked about how welcoming their Senator or Representatives were.  Leaders brought their communities into the State House and the State House welcomed them.

Photo by Lolita Parker Jr.

Senator Harriette Chandler of Worcester, who was introduced by North High School Sophomore Jasmine Garcia, spoke of the importance of CDCs in her district and the pride she had in sponsoring bills that strengthen resources for CDCs.  Representative Linda Dorcena Forry of Boston spoke of how CDCs build up communities including her own.  EOHHS Secretary Greg Bialecki announced that he was doubling the Small Business Technical Assistant grants for CDCs and other non-profits so their funding was secure through the end of FY11.

And yet, as the lap tops were put away, the tables broken down, and the Great Hall of Flags became a large empty space I was reminded of the power that comes from bringing community leaders into the State House to make their case. My job will be a little bit easier now as I continue to lobby on a daily basis, but more importantly, I am convinced that our event will help build momentum for passing the legislation and budget items that our members and our communities need.

Be sure to enjoy MACDC’s first ever Lobby Day video.  It was compiled and edited by MACDC’s own Jay Rosa using video shot by various folks and the photographs of Lolita Parker, Jr.

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Innovation in Action

April 9th, 2010 by Joe Kriesberg

The other day I read about a new report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (with the help of the New York Council of Nonprofits) that found that 87 percent of nonprofit contracts with state government (of more than $50,000) were not approved prior to the nonprofits’ beginning their work. On average, new contracts were approved nine months after the contract start dates and renewals were five months late on average.  New York State is essentially relying on nonprofit organizations being so committed to their mission that they will risk their financial health to continue providing services without contracts. Indeed the entire system appears to depend on this commitment. 

The only thing about this report that might surprise CDC and non-profit leaders is the fact that a state agency finally documented the problem.  All mission-driven organizations confront this challenge all the time – how to balance money with mission. We must often complete substantial work on a project or program before receiving a fee or reimbursement and those payments rarely cover the full cost of delivering the service. Cash flow becomes a chronic challenge and organizations are unable to build up a health reserve fund. The resulting impact on fiscal health can be severe as the Non Profit Finance Fund recently documented in a report on CDC Fiscal Health that was completed as part of the Community Development Innovation Forum.  

Reversing these trends is a primary goal of the Community Development Innovation Forum. We have recently re-activated a group of stakeholders to develop recommendations for how the real estate development finance system can be reformed to better enable non-profit developers to achieve their missions in a financially sustainable manner. 

In the meantime, I have some very good news to report about a recent policy decision that moves us in the right direction. On April 6, at MACDC’s annual Lobby Day, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, announced that he would forward commit $600,000 in FY 2011 funding for the small business technical assistance program so that he could double the size of recent grants to CDCs and other nonprofits and extend the term of their contracts by 6 months. By providing greater funding certainty and stability, the state will strengthen its organizational partners, promote longer term planning, enhance professional and program development and help leverage more private and federal money – without costing the state any extra money. 

 The Secretary’s announcement was in response to problems this program has had in past years when uncertainty about the state budget would cause substantial delays in the RFP and subsequent funding decisions. Groups sometimes had to wait several months into the fiscal year before learning whether they were going to be funded again and at what level.

 Secretary Bialecki’s creative solution was made possible by a generous commitment from Mass Development to provide $600,000 in funding to the program in FY 2010 and now FY 2011. Since these funds are not contingent on legislative approval of the state budget in June, the Secretary had the flexibility to think outside the box and create a solution that will benefit the state, the grantees and most importantly the small businesses that this program seeks to support. Now that is the type of Innovation that is worth celebrating!

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CDC Fiscal Health - where are we, where are we going?

March 1st, 2010 by Joe Kriesberg

Last Friday, at an event hosted by the Boston Foundation, the Community Development Innovation Forum released a new study by the Non Profit Finance Fund that looked at the fiscal health of the CDC sector.

Bill Pinakiewicz from NFF, highlighted the key findings of the study, including:

* Taken as a group, the twenty-six organizations represented in the study have become financially more vulnerable from 2003 thru 2008.  That means that the financial challenges facing community development corporations predate the 2008 recession.

* Unlike private real estate companies, CDC financial performance was not demonstrably better during the hot real estate market in the middle of the decade due to program limits on rents and profits, leaving little cushion when the market collapsed in 2008.

* The study did not find a significant difference among small, medium and large CDCs in terms of recent financial performance.

* CDCs were impacted by multiple factors – homeownership projects that came on line as the market collapsed, rental developments that were stalled or yielded inadequate fees, existing portfolios that generate little to no net cash flow to the CDC, cuts in government, foundation and corporate funding, and rising costs. The study period also covers the first five years following the elimination of the state’s CEED program, which had provided flexible funding to CDCs for more than 20 years.

* While all of the participating CDCs provided audits that fully comply with GAAP there is clearly a wide variation in financial reporting practices across the field that make it difficult to aggregate and compare data among CDCs.

We then heard from a panel including Geeta Pradham from the Boston Foundation, Jeanne Pinado from Madison Park DC, Phil Giffee from NOAH and Paul Juraschek the CFO at JPNDC.  The panelists pointed out that not all CDCs are struggling financially and that the true financial health of a CDC can sometimes be hard to discern from consolidated financial statements that include real estate properties and the core organization. The panelists described some of the tough decisions that CDCs have had to make to deal with the financial stress, including shutting down programs and laying off staff. They also noted that small changes in the real estate finance system with respect to developer fees, cash flow distribution and other rules could significantly improve CDC fiscal health and stability. There was also broad agreement that more consistency in financial reporting and more opportunities for CFOs and Executive Directors to learn from each other would be valuable.

MACDC, LISC and other partners in the Innovation Forum intend to follow up the study by renewing our efforts to improve the real estate finance system, to begin implementing Strength Matters in Massachusetts, to expand peer learning opportunities among CDCs, to support collaborations, mergers, and other ways to improve operating efficiency, and to continue researching trends to determine whether we are making progress in the coming years.

The structural flaws in the way that real estate is financed make it difficult for mission driven organizations to succeed, and this report underscores that point. Real estate development is a high risk economic activity and the affordable housing financing system makes it difficult for that risk to be adequately rewarded for mission driven organizations while not shielding them from the negative consequences of failure. It is also clear that the way all non profits are financed creates inherent challenges, including government contracts with little overhead, private philanthropy that is highly restricted and a lack of unrestricted operating funds that allow nonprofits to invest in organizational infrastructure, capacity building, research and development, and innovation. 

To me, a core problem is that too many funders are looking to simply buy services from nonprofit organizations at the lowest possible price and too many nonprofits play into this game at their own financial peril. Instead, we need more funders to think not just about the immediate program or project, but how their investment in that program or project will help the organization achieve lasting, sustainable community impact over the long term.

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