COVID-19 Fund Grants

The Worcester Together: Central Mass COVID-19 Fund was established by GWCF, United Way of Central Massachusetts (UWCM), Worcester Together, and a coalition of generous donors. The Fund has deployed Phase 1 and Phase 2 to organizations throughout Worcester County that work with communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus public health crisis.

Phase One: Rapid Response

Granting Focus:

Phase One: Rapid Response aim to complement the work of public health officials by expanding local capacity to address the outbreak’s social, health and economic impacts in the short and long term. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations who are: 

  • Authentically connected to the greater Worcester community
  • Serving populations whose needs are being exacerbated by the crisis - including, but not limited to:
    • Front-line workers (first responders, healthcare workers, essential workers)
    • Those facing physical, behavioral or emotional health challenges, including those with disabilities
    • Children and seniors
    • Communities of color, immigrants, refugees and undocumented individuals
    • Those facing food-insecurity
    • Homeless populations
  • Incurring expenses above-and-beyond budgeted operating expenses due to meeting community needs resulting from the pandemic

Program Details:

  • Grant Size: $5,000 to $50,000
  • Organizations will only be eligible for one Phase One: Rapid Response Grant
  • 501(c)(3) organizations and programs with a fiscal sponsor are eligible. 
  • The program will not fund individuals or businesses.
  • Decision Process: Decisions are made by an Oversight Committee with representatives from GWCF and UWCM to review grant applications in real time. Organizations are notified with a week of submitting an application.
  • Due to the rapid nature of this process, there is no appeal for funding decisions once made.  Agencies that were denied and have not received prior funding from Worcester Together may reapply without bias.


Worcester Together has announced that the fund has suspended accepting applications for Phase 1: Rapid Response grants. Funding opportunities in future rounds are under consideration.

Phase Two: Recovery

Granting Focus:

The goal of Phase Two: Recovery is to provide three-to-six months of unrestricted general operating support to nonprofit organizations that are actively delivering support and/or programming to our community in a high quality, responsive manner. Grants will be awarded to a select group of organizations that:

  • Are current or recent grantees of either the Greater Worcester Community Foundation or the United Way of Central Mass.
  • Have been operating as a nonprofit organization for at least 2 years with 501(c)(3) status or an established fiscal sponsorship arrangement with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
  • Are based in Worcester County, with priority given to those based south of Route 2 to the south end of the county.
  • Fall into one of our designated areas of priority (Arts & Culture, Economic Security, Health & Human Services, Youth Development & Education)
  • Are actively engaged in scenario planning for the future.
  • Can demonstrate financial resiliency.

Program Details: 

  • Grant Size: Grants will typically range from $25,000 to $100,000
  • Grantees will have the opportunity to access community-funded consultative services in areas that will be helpful to their recovery.
  • Decision Process: Decisions are made by an Oversight Committee with representatives from GWCF and UWCM. Organizations will be notified by the end of June.


Monday, June 8, 2020

Questions?  We're Here to Help.

Below are some frequently asked questions. If you can't find what you're looking for here, you may contact a GWCF Program Officer at

FAQs for Nonprofits:

My organization is interested in resources from the Fund. Are we eligible at this time?

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways, including increased demand for their services, lost revenue and other challenges. We are currently accepting applications for two funding phases, Phase One: Rapid Response and Phase Two: Recovery. Please check the information above to confirm your eligibility. 

Additional grant opportunities, resources and tools are being compiled daily. Those to explore include:

Please note, only 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored projects are eligible for grants. If you are a small business, visit the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce for additional resources.

I am an individual who has been affected by COVID-19. Can the Fund help me?

Regrettably, the Fund is not able to award grants to individuals. We understand many individuals and families have been affected by the outbreak and more will continue to be affected. We are working to move resources to community-based organizations that are directly supporting local residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic and social impacts. 

As we begin to award grants to community-based organizations, we will post them on our website, so please check back for a list of organizations that may be able to assist you.

Resources to consider:

Is there a geographic area of focus for the Fund?

The Worcester Together: Central Mass COVID-19 Fund will prioritize community-based organizations serving Worcester County cities and towns.

We encourage organizations serving the northern part of Worcester County to first inquire with the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and the United Way of North Central Massachusetts about the availability of funds. 

Our geographic footprint includes: Ashburnham, Athol, Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Blackstone, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Fitchburg, Gardner, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Leominster, Lunenburg, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Templeton, Upton, Uxbridge, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough, Westminster, Winchendon, Worcester.

When will you share who you fund?

We publish the list of Phase One: Rapid Response grantees, along with short descriptions of the services and support they are providing, on our website on an ongoing basis. We hope that this will help the community navigate available resources.

Phase Two: Rapid Response grantees will be shared by the end of June.

How will the Fund change over time?

Crisis philanthropy recognizes the need to provide immediate resources for triage, as well as the importance of recovery resources to ensure community resilience. As such, we have designed a three-phase funding approach to our COVID-19 granting: Rapid Response, Recovery, and Re-imagining. As our community adapts to the outbreak, the Fund will continue to evolve and we will also continue to prioritize communities most impacted, recognizing deep and historic inequities that are likely to be magnified in times of crisis. 


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