MACDC Members Learn to Partner with Hospitals

July 26th, 2017 by Kermshlise Picard

The healthcare field is increasingly thinking about social determinants of health (SDOH) and how to partner with non-health organizations to improve the health of their shared communities. This is a great opportunity for CDCs, who were working on SDOH before most of us even knew what SDOH were! To help prepare CDCs and other community developers for this opportunity, and thanks to a generous grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Mel King Institute held three trainings this summer called “Forging CDC-Hospital Partnerships.”  

Nearly 50 people from 39 organizations participated in the trainings across Massachusetts—on June 6 in Northampton, July 13 in Boston and July 18 in Lawrence. Instructor Enid Eckstein taught participants about hospitals’ obligation to invest in their communities, challenges hospitals face in doing so, potential sources of funding from hospitals, and more terms and strategies around approaching a hospital about community development. Participants in Northampton and Boston learned from Department of Public Health officials about the new Determination of Need guidelines that hospitals must follow, and participants in Lawrence learned about them from Enid. All participants worked through a case study of a local hospital in order to practice analyzing hospital financial data and reports on community programs. Through these case studies, participants realized that there is much room for improvement in how hospitals spend their community benefit dollars and for clarity on which health concerns each hospital is prioritizing. While these issues can be challenging to navigate, they also present a chance for CDCs to demonstrate their value in engaging with community members and leading successful initiatives that address the SDOH in their communities. 

At the end of the trainings, all three groups discussed what they can do next to put their new knowledge to use and potentially join forces to build relationships with local hospitals. Participants in Boston and Lawrence wrote themselves letters for the future, explaining their vision and strategies they would hope to implement after attending the trainings. MACDC and the Mel King Institute intend to continue supporting these efforts: MACDC has hired Enid Eckstein to provide some direct follow-up technical assistance to CDCs or groups of CDCs that want to move forward. MACDC will also work with MACDC members who are interested in creating a Community Health Committee to continue these conversations and develop strategies to improve the health of their communities. MACDC will be advocating for strong policies and practices in this arena as part of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Community Benefit, of which MACDC President Joe Kriesberg is a member.  And, of course, the Mel King Institute will offer additional workshops and sessions on this and other related community health topics. 

All in all, we hope these trainings are just the first step towards building more productive cross-sector collaborations that create healthier communities all over Massachusetts. We look forward to seeing this movement develop and supporting our members along the way.


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Eastern Bank Renews $300k Community Investment Tax Credit Donation for 2nd Year

July 12th, 2017 by John Fitterer


Boston, MA -  Eastern Bank has announced that it will award $300,000 in grants for the second year in a row to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across Massachusetts participating in the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program.

“Eastern Bank continues to be an incredible supporter of CDCs in Massachusetts,” commented Joseph Kriesberg, MACDC’s President.  “CDCs will use this support to expand economic opportunity in local communities across Massachusetts.”

Organizations involved in the CITC program have deepened their community engagement, expanded their programming, and increased their impact.  In 2016, these organizations engaged nearly 2,000 community leaders to achieve the following results:

  • Homes Built or Preserved:  1,195
  • Job Opportunities Created or Preserved:  3,903
  • Small Business Assistance Provided:  717
  • Families Served with Housing, Jobs, or Other Services:  70,840
  • Invested in Local Communities:  $489.6 million

“Eastern Bank is thrilled to continue supporting CDCs through the Community Investment Tax Credit program,” remarked Gary Leach, Eastern Bank Senior Vice President, Community Development Lending Group Head. “Eastern Bank is committed to supporting organizations working within low- and moderate-income communities.  The CITC increases the impact of support and helps ensure the long-term revitalization neighborhoods and town in Massachusetts.”

The CITC program provides a 50% refundable state tax credit for donations between $1,000 and $2 million.  Because the donation is refundable, organizations, such as foundations and donor advised funds, can support CDCs across Massachusetts through the program as well as individuals and businesses.


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Legislature & Governor Poised to Cut Small Business Support by 62.5%

July 10th, 2017 by

Advocates say that second consecutive year of budget cuts undermine efforts to reduce racial wealth gap and extend jobs and opportunity throughout the state.

BOSTON, July 10, 2017—On Friday, the legislature voted to approve the conference committee budget for Fiscal Year 2018, including just $750,000 in funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance program, a 25% cut from FY 2017 and a 62.5% cut from FY 2016.  The funding was also below the levels proposed by the Governor ($1 million), the House ($1 million) and the Senate ($2.5 million).

“We are dismayed with the budget’s devastating and disproportionate cut to a successful program that is creating jobs, opportunity and new tax revenue across the Commonwealth,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC.  “This program is specifically targeted to reducing the racial wealth gap, supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, boosting rural economies and reaching other hard to serve markets in our state. These cuts move us in the wrong direction.”

“We understand the state’s tight budget, but a 62.5% cut over two years to a successful program does not make sense when we see growing economic inequality,” noted Kriesberg. “We will continue to advocate for hard working entrepreneurs to ensure they have the support they need to succeed.”

“We call on Governor Baker to use some of the discretionary funds recently pulled from various state accounts to restore funding to this program, at least to the level he proposed in his FY 2018 budget.”

The Small Business Technical Assistance program was created under Governor Mitt Romney and has enjoyed bi-partisan support ever since. It is administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and funds a network of over 30 community based organizations who provide highly specialized services to targeted markets. FY 2016, the program achieved:

  • Technical assistance and training from grantee SBTA providers to 1,891 business clients;
  • 1,056 new jobs were created; 1,594 jobs were preserved;
  • 367 businesses received $29,970,094 in financing, a leverage rate of 15:1;
  • 74% of businesses supported achieved a positive outcome:  opened, grew, or stabilized;
  • 97% of clients are from underserved communities including people of color, immigrants and women.

Joseph Kriesberg can be reached at 617-721-7250 or

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Seven Tips to Help You Forge Health and Housing Partnerships

July 5th, 2017 by Pamela Bailey

In NeighborWorks America’s new five-year strategic plan (2017-2021), one of our most significant transitions is recognition that many members of our network are increasingly broadening and deepening their cross-sector collaborations. We want to support them in advancing this new paradigm to create more opportunities for low-income people and communities.

One of the diverse sectors in which our network members are increasingly active, often through new types of collaborations, is health. A survey conducted by NeighborWorks of 242 of its network organizations showed that nearly 89 percent are engaging in activities that connect housing and community development directly to health—with the most common strategies focused on the home environment and access to healthy foods. A total of 83 percent of those initiatives relied on partners, ranging from hospitals to local public health departments.

A paper summarizing the results of the survey, co-authored by Sarah Norman, NeighborWorks’ director of healthy homes and communities, is now in peer review at the journal Cities & Health and is summarized in a blog post on Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies website.

Read the full article 

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