Fairlawn Foundation Fund

Applications Next Accepted: Spring 2023

Fairlawn Foundation seeks to fund new and small burgeoning projects that innovatively address greater Worcester's behavioral health needs, including both mental health and substance issues. We are especially interested in projects that:

  • Increase the supply of qualified, culturally-competent and appropriately-credentialed behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals.
  • Close gaps in service, increase access to services and diminish stigma.
  • Address relevant policy concerns, taking into account the need for public advocacy and/or education.
  • Recognize the need for wrap-around services and incorporate them in program design and execution.
  • Include the perspectives of persons with lived experience of the issues being addressed.
  • Show evidence of significant collaboration; joint proposals are encouraged.

Proposals selected for funding must have: a strong evidence base, specific outcomes and measurable indicators of progress and/or effectiveness, the potential to be scalable and/or replicable, and a realistic long-term sustainability plan. 

Beginning in 2021, Fairlawn Foundation will award two different types of grants.

Demonstration Project Grants

A demonstration project is a means of promoting innovations and capturing and disseminating best practices through the delivery and analysis of a pilot project. Fairlawn Foundation will award up to three demonstration project grants of $150,000 paid out over two years.

  • The first payment of $75,000 will be issued to selected grantees soon after grant award notification.
  • Issuance of the second payment of $75,000 will be dependent on the outcome of a progress report and subsequent meeting with Fairlawn Trustees to be held nine months after initial grant notification.

Planning Grants

A planning grant results in a plan of action for bringing innovation to the field through the development of a meaningful project. Fairlawn Foundation will award up to three planning grants of $25,000 with project durations of no longer than nine months.

  • Payment of $25,000 will be issued to selected grantees soon after grant award notification.
  • Grantees will be expected to submit a written project report and meet with Fairlawn Trustees to discuss their project nine months after grant notification. Being awarded a planning grant in no way guarantees being awarded a demonstration project grant in a subsequent year.


Applicants must be tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations as recognized by IRS code 501(c)(3) serving the Greater Worcester area, with priority given to organizations headquartered in Worcester County.


  • Fairlawn is not currently interested in funding capital projects.
  • Fairlawn prefers to be a significant funder of projects it supports.

To Apply

The online application can be accessed hereThe first time an organization applies to the Foundation through our online application system, it creates an Organization Account to use for each application going forward. Please use the same account you have previously used, or create a new one if this is your first time applying online.


With questions about this funding opportunity, contact Jonathan Cohen, Vice President for Programs and Strategy at 508-755-0980 or via email.


In 1921, members of the Worcester Swedish community established Fairlawn Hospital as a way to serve the growing health needs of the area. Its board of trustees transferred ownership of the hospital in 1991 to a for-profit rehabilitation corporation in response to changes taking place in the healthcare system. In 1992, proceeds from that transaction established the Fairlawn Foundation, an endowed fund administered by the Greater Worcester Community Foundation - one of the earliest health conversion foundations in Massachusetts. Since its inception, Fairlawn has awarded more than $8 million in grants.

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