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Massachusetts Community Foundations Announce New Partnership to Support Nonprofits in the Wake of COVID-19
By Emily Gowdey-Backus / November 16, 2020

For Immediate Release

Nov. 16, 2020

WORCESTER, MA – A statewide coalition of community foundations announced today the formation of a new partnership designed to strengthen the social sector and communities across the Commonwealth.

Named the Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership, this coalition is made up of 14 community foundations across Massachusetts. Formed in the wake of COVID-19, the partnership will connect community foundations to achieve three critical results:

  • Strengthen the Massachusetts nonprofit sector to achieve greater impact
  • Work collectively to lead on common challenges facing our communities
  • Improve the effectiveness of community foundations and their collective missions

As nonprofit services become more vital to those they serve, and to the resilience of our Commonwealth as a whole, the partnership aims to contribute to the stabilizing, re-envisioning, and rebuilding of the nonprofit sector. Among its early work is a co-funded series of technical assistance and capacity-building programs for nonprofit leaders. In July, the partnership surveyed over 1,100 nonprofit professionals. A virtual training program series is being developed in response to the needs and interests that were communicated through the survey and will be available to nonprofits across Massachusetts. The educational programs will address topics such as strategic planning, fundraising, and financial management as well as racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion work. In addition to training, nonprofit participants will have the opportunity to network with one another, to troubleshoot common issues, and to exchange best practices. The first programs are scheduled for November 2020. Additional programs are being formulated now and will be held regularly throughout the following calendar year.

“We are deeply appreciative of our community foundation partners, who have formed this statewide coalition. By joining forces, we can work at a larger scale to support nonprofits, which will in turn allow them to more effectively support our communities across the Commonwealth,” said Peter Taylor, president of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and co-chair of the partnership. “While nonprofits have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still going above and beyond to meet the significant needs in their communities. We rely on their services now more than ever, and this partnership will maximize our ability to help sustain and enhance their services during crisis and over time.”

“By working together, foundations will be able to deliver support more efficiently and effectively to a broad audience of nonprofit practitioners, particularly in this virtual world. Our hope is to raise a collective voice on behalf of the sector as a whole and co-fund these critical training and education opportunities” said Beth Francis, president of the Essex County Community Foundation and co-chair of the partnership. “We aim to focus our initial capacity-building programs on organizations that have not had access to consultants or other support services, advocate on behalf of the underserved, and to ensure the racial, geographic, and subsector diversity of participants.”

In order to coordinate programming and ensure access to a wide nonprofit audience, the partnership is working closely with Philanthropy Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

The partnership’s announcement coincides with National Philanthropy Day (Nov. 15), and National Community Foundation Week (November 12 to 18), which recognizes the value community foundations bring to their communities. Taylor explained, “Community foundations are among the oldest and most trusted charitable organizations. We operate across the state, providing support to rural and urban communities, with robust networks and relationships in the communities we serve. As our recent experience working with the statewide COVID-19 Relief Fund demonstrated, our knowledge and relationships in local communities result in effective grantmaking and can also benefit a statewide partner in deploying funds in partnership with us."

“We are in this together,” Francis added. “While there are certainly challenges ahead for the sector, this partnership is one step in proactively planning for the long-term, sustainable recovery of our communities.”

Nonprofits, donors, and others interested in learning more can visit http://bit.ly/masscfp.

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About the Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership

The Massachusetts Community Foundations Partnership is a new donor collaborative made up of community foundations across Massachusetts. Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. The partnership will connect community foundations in order to strengthen their services and achieve greater impact, to provide a collective voice in the social and economic issues facing our Commonwealth, and to offer tailored technical support to nonprofit organizations. As an initial offering, the partnership will provide a capacity building program to nonprofits in order to help them navigate challenges in the wake of COVID-19, and position them for long term viability and success. Partnership members include Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Brookline Community Foundation, Cape Cod Foundation, Community Foundation for Nantucket, Community Foundation of North Central MA, Community Foundation of Western MA, Essex County Community Foundation, Foundation for MetroWest, Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Permanent Endowment for Martha's Vineyard, SouthCoast Community Foundation, The Boston Foundation, and the Watertown Community Foundation.

About Philanthropy Massachusetts

Philanthropy Massachusetts is a statewide membership association of highly engaged philanthropic organizations and individuals with interests in Massachusetts. Philanthropy MA delivers opportunities in learning, networking, access to resources and tools, skill-building, and community-building, and serves as a bridge between funders and fund applicants for better understanding, efficiency and impact. Visit philanthropma.org.

About the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) is a statewide nonprofit association that brings together nonprofits, funders, business leaders, and elected officials to strengthen nonprofits and raise the sector's voice on critical issues. MNN's mission is to strengthen the Massachusetts nonprofit sector through advocacy, public awareness, and capacity building. The network has more than 750 nonprofit member organizations and more than 150 business affiliate partners Visit massnonprofitnet.org.

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