News & Event
Link to Strategies for Children's Blog post here.
The Foundation announced the 139 awardees of its 2018 Community Grants: a total of $1,747,900. Community Grants support nonprofit organizations that build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Central Massachusetts. Areas of interest this year included Civic Life, the Arts and the Environment; Early Childhood Development; Economic Security; Healthy Communities; Youth Development & Education.
Of the 159 grants awarded, 22 were dedicated solely to projects that focused on early childhood development. Through its Early Childhood Initiative, the Foundation has invested in programs that improve the quality and availability of early childhood education and care, reduce summer learning loss, and support families as primary nurturers and teachers. The initiative aims to ensure that all children in the community gain a sound start during their formative first years.
“We are honored to be a part of a strong and thoughtful network of strategic donors that are committed to making positive change in Greater Worcester. I am especially excited that of the over $1.7M granted, over $400,000 went specifically towards early childhood projects, a Foundation priority,” said Ann T. Lisi, GWCF President and CEO. “Our Community Grant program is the largest funding cycle we have, and annually provides meaningful support towards the better of the community. We look forward to seeing the impact, especially for our community’s children, in the year ahead.”
Shelter, Housing, and Advocacy Operations
African Community Education Program (ACE)
Family Outreach & Education Programming
Youth Academic & Social-Emotional Programming
Alzheimer's Association Massachusetts New Hampshire Chapter
Increasing Core Services through Volunteer-Powered Program Delivery
American Red Cross
Disaster Cycle Services
Angels Net Foundation Inc
Educational and Social Programs for Immigrant and Refugee Youth
Anna Maria College
OpporTUNEity® Music Connections
Appalachian Mountain Club
Youth Opportunities Program Worcester Summit Site 2019
Apple Tree Arts*
Head Start Preschool Music Outreach Program
Art in the Park Worcester (fs Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston)
Art in the Park, Worcester
Ascentria Community Services, Inc.
Immigration Legal Assistance Program
Auburn Youth & Family Services
Youth and Family Support Programs and Services
Audio Journal, Inc.
General Operating Support
Best Buddies Massachusetts
Worcester County Friendship Program
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest, Inc.
Worcester Area Mentoring Program
Blackstone Valley Boys and Girls Club
2019 Summer Program Camperships
Boys & Girls Club of Lunenburg
Boys & Girls Club of Webster - Dudley
Junior Staff Development Program
Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
Youth Development Programs
Building Futures, Inc. (fs Worcester Housing Authority)
Lakeside Summer Camp
Camp Putnam, Inc.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Worcester
Citizenship Services and Education for Families
Center for Health Impact
Supporting Early Childhood Development Through Cultural and Linguistic Navigation
Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, Inc.
Public Education & Advocacy
Adam Achiever Program
Clinton Adult Learning Center
Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester (fs YWCA of Central MA)
Strengthening and Diversifying Community Engagement in the CHIP
Community Harvest Project
CRAVE (Class Room Agriculture and Vegetable Education)
Volunteer Farming Program
Community Healthlink (fs UMass Memorial Healthcare)*
Together For Kids
Community Legal Aid, Inc.
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
Nutrition Program for Critically Ill Individuals & Families
Creative Hub Worcester
Discovery Science: Worcester
Dismas House of Massachusetts, Inc.
Prisoner Reentry Program
Dress for Success Worcester Inc
More Than a Suit
EcoTarium (Worcester Natural History Society)
EBT Access Program
EcoTarium (Worcester Natural History Society)*
Countdown to Kindergarten 2018/2019
Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Linguistically and Culturally Competent Care for Arabic-Speaking Patients
Edward Street Child Services*
Early Childhood Matters
Master Teacher Consultation Program
Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc.
Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc.
Summer Jump Start 2019
Healthcare for Homeless Families Program
Dental Care for Un/Underinsured Low-income Individuals
Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc.*
Fathering Fathers Inc.
Fresh Start Furniture Bank, Inc.
Furniture Distribution Center
Friendly House, Inc.
Frances Perkins Transitional Program
Friends of St Luke's, Inc
St. Luke's Guesthouse
Friends of the Shrewsbury Public Library
English Conversation Circle
Genesis Club, Inc.
Supported Education with Young Adults Focus
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts
It's A Girl's World
Girls Incorporated of Worcester
Support for General Operations
Greater Worcester Land Trust
Community Based Environmental Conservation
Growing Places Garden Project
NCM Food Hub Connector
Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester
General Program Support
Hope Coalition (fs UMass Memorial)
Peer Leadership Program
Hope Coalition (fs UMass Memorial)*
Worcester ACTs (Addresses Childhood Trauma)
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Worcester (fs Friendly House)
Joy of Music Program, Inc.
Financial Aid Program
Fostering Early Connections - Building Parenting Confidence and Competence
L.U.K. Crisis Center, Inc.
Latin American Health Alliance of Central Mass. Inc.
Latino Education Institute (fs Worcester State Foundation)
ENLACE (Encouraging Latinos to Achieve Excellence)
Latino Education Institute (fs Worcester State Foundation)*
Early Connections Program
Let's Get Ready
Worcester Access to Success Program
LGBT Asylum Support Task Force (fs Hadwen Park Congregational Church)
LGBT Asylum Task Force
Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester
English Language Literacy for Job Seekers and Other Adult Immigrants & Refugees
Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester*
English Language Literacy for Immigrants and Refugee Parents Helping Schoolchildren
Literacy Volunteers of South Central Massachusetts
ESOL Tutoring Programs
Main South Community Development Corporation
Youth-Police Dialogue Program
Massachusetts Audubon Society Inc.
Nature Education and Recreation Programs for Worcester Youth
Massachusetts Education & Career Opportunities, Inc.
Collegiate Success Institute (CSI)
Massachusetts Education & Career Opportunities, Inc. (MassEdCO)
On Our Way
Matthew 25, Inc.
Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network
Family Pathways Project
Montachusett Opportunity Council, Inc.
Homework Help Center at Green Acres
Muslim Community Link Inc
Black Seed Farmers Market
Nativity School of Worcester
Graduate Support Program
Service Dog Training
New Hope, Inc.
MJ Leadenham Center Supervised Visitation Expansion
North of Main Neighborhood Initiative
North Brookfield Youth Center
North Quabbin Citizen Advocacy, Inc.
Protecting Vulnerable People
Notre Dame Health Care
Educational Bridge Center
Oak Hill CDC
Operating Support for Neighborhood Development
One Can Help
Open Sky Community Services
South County Homeless Assistance Program
Opera New England of Northeastern CT
Opera and Symphony Programs for Schools
Our Father's House, Inc.
Ensuring Health & Wellness in Homeless Children
Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester
Financial Assistance for Children from Low-Income Households
Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL)
Outreach and Navigation for Families
Pathways for Change
Sexual Assault Prevention & Survivor Services
Pernet Family Health Service, Inc.*
Early Childhood Development Program
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts
Sex Education for Youth and Parents
Preservation Worcester, Inc.
Pride Productions Inc
Millennial Media Group
Quinsigamond Community College Foundation
Brothers & Keepers Summer Bridge Program
Women in Technology STEM Program
Support for Food Programs
Rainbow Child Development Center*
Early Education Program
Reach Out and Read*
Worcester Rx for Success!
Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC)
ESOL System Navigator
Comprehensive Case Management
Regatta Point Community Sailing, Inc.
Boating Program Scholarships for Youth
Regional Environmental Council, Inc.
Restorer of Broken Bridges, Inc.
Net of Compassion - Main Street Saturday Program
Rise Above Foundation
Activities for Foster Youth
Salisbury Singers Inc
Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts
Building Healthy Asian and Arabic Speaker Communities
Spanish American Center, Inc.
Nos Estamos Ayudando (Helping Ourselves)
Straight Ahead Ministries Inc
Worcester Youth Re-Entry Center
Tasks for Transit, Inc.
Free WRTA Bus Day Pass
Summer Tennis & Reading Program
The Barton Center for Diabetes Education, Inc.
The CASA Project*
Early Childhood Support Services
The Salvation Army - Worcester Citadel Corps
The SHINE Initiative (fs Community Foundation of North Central MA)
Student Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT)
Tower Hill Botanic Garden (Worcester County Horticultural Society)
Youth Refugee Gardening Program
Nutrition Program for Seniors
United Way of Central Massachusetts
YouthConnect Worcester - 2019
United Way of Central Massachusetts*
Summer Learning Collaborative
Open Door Gallery at Worcester Art Museum
The Sounds & Stories of Worcester
Whitin Community Center
Youth Outreach Programs
Summer Scholars Program
Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team (fs Worcester Common Ground)
Program Support for WAFT
Worcester Center for Crafts (WCC)
Youth Craft + Creativity
Worcester Center for Performing Arts (Hanover Theatre)
Adopt-A-School WPS Partnership
Worcester Common Ground, Inc.
Community Building and Affordable Housing
Worcester Community Action Council, Inc.
YouthWorks Year-Round Jobs Program
Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc.
Confronting Critical Housing & Financial Needs for Long-Term Solutions
Worcester Cultural Coalition
Building Community Through Creativity
Worcester Earn a Bike Inc.
Worcester Education Collaborative (fs United Way)
Worcester Impact on Sexual Health (WISH) (fs Center for Health Impact)
Putting Worcester to Work
Worcester Jewish Community Center*
Scholarships for Afterschool and Summer Childcare Programs
Worcester Public Library*
2018 Summer Reading Program
Worcester Public Schools (fs City of Worcester)
Building Student Leadership through Youth Philanthropy
Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Inc.
Worcester Youth Center
Support for Core Programs
Worcester Youth Orchestras
Financial Aid & Scholarship Program
Yes We Care, Inc.
YMCA of Central Massachusetts
Minority Achievers Program
Youth Opportunities Upheld (YOU), Inc.
Dynamy Youth Academy
YWCA of Central Massachusetts
Racial Equity Program
Domestic Violence Services
* Indicates Early Childhood grant
The Leadership Worcester Class of 2019 is an impressive group. Recently selected from a pool of 60 applicants, this fourth cohort is united by a desire to learn about their community and take an active role in its betterment. Members of the Class of 2019 bring unique perspectives, diverse cultural backgrounds, and experience in an array of industry sectors. In September, they will embark on a nine-month experiential learning program designed to prepare and propel them.
Leadership Worcester was re-established in 2015 and is co-sponsored by Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Its curriculum is developed with the aid of local leaders who bring insights on critical public policy issues impacting Central Massachusetts. The programs’ day-long sessions allow participants to explore these issues, propose solutions, and connect with others equally committed to Worcester’s advancement.
The Class of 2019 will join the 75+ professionals who now make up Leadership Worcester’s alumni network have become thinkers and doers contributing to the region’s civic, economic, and cultural growth.
“You’ll find alumni serving on boards and committees, engaging on the decision-making level, and even returning as session designers for Leadership Worcester,” said Ann Lisi, president and CEO, Greater Worcester Community Foundation. “They have honed their talents and they aren’t hesitating to share them. We - the Worcester public - are the ultimate beneficiaries, as we are sure to enjoy what’s to come as these individuals step to the helm.”
Members of the Leadership Worcester Class of 2019 as of August 1 are:
“The support of many individuals, companies, and organizations makes Leadership Worcester a success. From the employers who encourage their staff to take part, to the companies who allow us to learn from them, collaboration makes it possible and speaks to the cooperative spirit of our community,” said Timothy P. Murray, president and CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.”
For more information about Leadership Worcester visit www.leadershipworcester.com.
By Aaron Nicodemus
For more than two decades, Leadership Worcester was a program sponsored by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce that fostered midcareer professionals to become leaders in city government, nonprofit, education and business communities.
Year after year, from the early 1970s through about 2003, the program encouraged people to step up, help out, say something and do something to improve the lives of Worcester's citizens. Participants in Leadership Worcester were encouraged to participate in civic life by running for office, by leading companies, by volunteering, by teaching and by serving on the boards of nonprofits. They created mini-networks of acquaintances that could be tapped to overcome future community problems. I understand at least two prominent participants in Leadership Worcester later married and became a city power couple.
The program had been a leading community group in its heyday, like when it sponsored one of the first mayoral debates in 1987, when the city switched to the mayoral form of government for the first time.
In researching this column, I found a wonderful little newspaper story from 1980 that ran deep inside the Evening Gazette which discussed a rare moment when Leadership Worcester found controversy.
One of Leadership Worcester's meetings that year was held at the private Worcester Club, which at the time had separate entrances for men and women. The women in Leadership Worcester, who were already successful in their chosen professions, were none too pleased when the club's secretary called them before the meeting to ask that they use the side entrance, also known as the "ladies' entrance."
I recognized several of the people quoted in the story. One was Leah Lamson, then a reporter at the Evening Gazette who would, many years later, become the paper's editor. Another was Roberta Schaefer, then an assistant professor of political science at Assumption College who would later become the founding executive director of the Worcester Research Bureau and led it for many years.
For the record, Ms. Lamson declared she was more surprised than offended about being asked to use the ladies' entrance. Ms. Schaefer said she thought the kerfuffle was "kind of silly."
More to the point for Leadership Worcester, both women became leaders in the Worcester community, which speaks to the program's efficacy. I'm sure there are dozens of similar success stories of Leadership Worcester participants.
But sometime in the early 2000s - the last class I could find a newspaper clip about was in 2003 - Leadership Worcester quietly folded. While it was shuttered largely due to a lack of funding, it also suffered from a lack of interest.
When the Worcester chamber and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation sought to revive the program last year, they found enthusiastic support within Worcester's business, nonprofit, education and government communities. The program received 50 applicants for 25 openings. According to Gail Randall of the GWCF, all 50 applicants would likely have been great participants.
One of the participants is Josh Croke, whose nonprofit Action! Worcester is using the first-floor space in the renovated office space at 20 Franklin St. to connect entrepreneurial college students with local businesses.
Campuses in Worcester, he said, are mostly isolated from the local business community. His group plans to host regular meetings and mixers, so students can pitch their ideas for businesses, and local businesses can offer advice and encouragement. Companies can also use the space for corporate events, he said.
Last week, the 25 participants in Leadership Worcester 2015 met in the space to discuss their thoughts on improving downtown Worcester. They had taken a short walking tour of downtown, led by Roberta Brien of the Worcester Business Development Corp. and Heather Gould of the city's economic development office.
Ms. Brien talked about how 1960s urban renewal clear cut huge swaths of downtown Worcester in the name of progress, but ended up cutting off neighborhoods from the city center and building a huge downtown mall that failed not once, but twice. Ms. Gould discussed how residential uses were returning to downtown in many buildings' upper floors, but that many first-floor retail spaces remained vacant. Even with several parking garages within walking distance of City Hall, the downtown still suffers from a lack of parking, they said.
Afterward, the participants collected in small groups to brainstorm their own ideas to remake downtown.
I'm heartened that Leadership Worcester is back, to build a pipeline of future Worcester leaders who will, presumably, open whichever door they choose - or figure out a way around or through the closed ones.
The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Greater Worcester Community Foundation, co-sponsors of Leadership Worcester, announced today that the application process for the 2016-17 class is now open. Application deadline is May 2, 2016. Now in its second year, the program will identify motivated individuals who aspire to take an active leadership role in Worcester and the surrounding towns and are interested in learning and honing new leadership skills for the long-term benefit of the community.
The City of Worcester, having demonstrated a strong commitment to arts & culture, has partnered with Greater Worcester Community Foundation and the Worcester Cultural Coalition to develop a Worcester Cultural Plan. With funding by the Barr Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Worcester Cultural Coalition, the city of Worcester has signaled its commitment to this important endeavor.
The Cultural Plan is a foundational document for municipal cultural planning and service delivery in Worcester. It will enable the City to take full advantage of the opportunities for quality of life and economic development that a robust arts, culture and creative sector can bring, will provide the City with a clear direction regarding its arts and cultural resources, and will contribute to the realization of the city’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan.
“Arts and culture are essential to the success and vibrancy of any city not only because they create jobs and drive economies, but also because of what the arts and creative sector contributes to residents’ quality of life,” said Edward M. Augustus Jr., Worcester City Manager. “This plan, when paired with Worcester’s Master Plan and Strategic Plan will enrich the efforts of the city, the region, local businesses, corporations, nonprofits and individuals who work in and are a part of the local arts and humanities sector.”
Already making an impact through its first round of grants, the Foundation’s Creative Worcester Initiative, funded by the Barr Foundation, was singled out by city officials for its success in engaging local organizations to identify Worcester’s distinctive arts and cultural resources and invest in these assets to enhance the city’s quality of life.
The preliminary themes drafted for the Cultural Plan include:
1) Public realm and infrastructure design/activation: Building a city with attractive, active and connected public spaces that support multiple forms of mobility and cultural expression.
2) Diversity, equity and inclusion: Embracing cultural and creative expressions and ways of life meaningful to all Worcester residents while generating equitable opportunity and access to resources.
3) Creativity and innovation: Providing resources and a supportive environment for creative exploration across all sectors of the community.
4) Internal and external community image : Identifying and fostering a creative, healthy image of the city to both residents and visitors.
5) Youth and family engagement: Creating a vibrant arts and culture scene which encourages children and families to participate.
“As the Foundation has already shown with its Creative Spark and Creative Engagement grant making programs, the development of the Cultural Plan is only the first step towards refocusing the ways in which the City invests in arts and culture,” said Ann T. Lisi, President and CEO of Greater Worcester Community Foundation. “As the city enters into unprecedented economic growth, this plan will only further build upon the immense creative talents and resources that make up our community and make it equitable for everyone.”
“A public survey has been issued to encourage all Worcester residents and those who work in Worcester to lift their ideas as to how arts, culture and creativity can support a city that is vibrant, inclusive, and engaging,” noted Erin I. Williams, Cultural Development Officer of the city and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition. The Cultural Plan Survey is available at www.worcesterculture.org .
A Cultural Advisory Committee will meet in late October to discuss initial findings regarding the plan with the intention of the Cultural Plan being shared with city officials by the end of 2018.
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