Mini-grants for Mass. Nonprofits; Friendship Home Gets Van; Moves

April 2, 2019 — Hundreds of Massachusetts nonprofits receive mini-grants... Friendship Home gets $48K for wheelchair van... Growing demand for fresh food spurs growth for Mill City Grows... Cradles to Crayons moving to permanent home in Newton.

Hundreds of Massachusetts Nonprofits Receive Mini-Grants

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation (HPHCF) in Wellesley recently announced it awarded 403 mini-grants totaling $175,950 to a broad range of nonprofits throughout Massachusetts, including food pantries, schools, animal rescue leagues, mentoring organizations, and others.

The Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program commemorates Harvard Pilgrim members who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, which allows each Harvard Pilgrim employee to award a $500 grant, completely funded by the Foundation, to the local charity of his or her choice each calendar year. Since this community grants program began in 2002, Harvard Pilgrim employees have directed more than $6.3 million to thousands of organizations throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

“We are so fortunate to have generous and dedicated employees who enrich our company and the communities in which we all live and work,” said Karen Voci, HPHCF president. “The mini-grant program is a wonderful way to support our employees as philanthropists and to help them make an impact in their own cities and towns.”

Friendship Home Gets $48K from Knights of Columbus for Wheelchair Van

Friendship Home, a Norwell nonprofit that provides respite and support services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, recently announced it received a $48,323 grant from the Massachusetts State Council of Knights of Columbus to purchase a 10-passenger, wheelchair-accessible van.

“We are extremely grateful to the Knights for recognizing how important transportation is for the success of our programs. Norwell’s lack of proximity to public transportation can be limiting for our participants to explore the community, get to their places of employment and get back and forth from home. This van Is invaluable to us,” said Andrea Pyke, executive director of Friendship Home.

The new grant continues a long-term relationship between the nonprofit and the Knights of Columbus, which also sponsors Friendship Home’s annual Golf Classic and Circle of Friends Gala.

Paul Flanagan, Knights of Columbus state deputy, noted, “We are proud to support the wonderful mission of Friendship Home. The Knights of Columbus are all about community service, and this is the perfect way for us to serve the community. Friendship Home’s impact goes beyond the fine work they do in their building. We hope to help other nonprofit organizations who have the same needs."

Friendship Home serves more than 200 individuals and families throughout the South Shore and beyond with its overnight respite, social recreational and Bridges to Work employment programs.

Growing Demand for Fresh Food Spurs Growth for Mill City Grows

Growing demand for fresh food and a desire to increase food education in Lowell led to Mill City Grows, a nonprofit based in Lowell that seeks to create economic opportunities and reduce health and nutrition inequities, moving to new headquarters yesterday.

The new 5,800-square-foot space at Wannalancit Mills, more than twice the space of the former headquarters at Western Avenue Studios, will support the organization, which now operates seven community gardens on five acres and offers educational programming in 14 schools.

"We work very closely with our partners, neighborhood liaisons, local schools, and community gardeners, and we strive to create programming that closely reflects the needs of Lowell's incredibly diverse and dynamic population," said Suzzanne Cromwell, marketing and publicity coordinator for Mill City Grows.

Established in 2011, Mill City Grows now has 15 full-time and two part-time staff, up from seven full-time and seven part-time employees three years ago.

Cradles to Crayons Moving from Brighton to Permanent Home in Newton

Cradles to Crayons a nonprofit that provides homeless and low-income children with clothing, school supplies, safety equipment, books, and toys, will moved from its leased facility in Brighton to a permanent home in Newton, thanks in part to a $4.4 million tax-exempt bond issued by MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency.

Cradles to Crayons, according to MassDevelopment, will use bond proceeds to buy, renovate, and equip an approximately 37,500-square-foot building that will feature offices and a warehouse where volunteers can sort and assemble donated items before they are distributed to children in need.

Lynn Margherio, founder and CEO of Cradles to Crayons, “We are thrilled for MassDevelopment’s support that will put us a major step closer toward building our Forever Home. This helps to ensure that Cradles to Crayons will continue to have as a permanent resource in our community for boys and girls who need the services we provide.”

Since its founding in 2012, Cradles to Crayons has expanded and now operates throughout Massachusetts, as well as in the greater Philadelphia and Chicago regions.