A Just and Equitable Recovery

A COVID-19 Response Fund Update

TBF News: Fall/Winter 2020/2021

Monica Cannon-Grant launched Violence in Boston to counter the forces that can lead people to hurt each other and to help people recover and heal from all forms of violence. But, as with almost every other nonprofit in Greater Boston, VIB went into emergency response mode when COVID hit. It was one of the first nonprofits to receive an emergency grant from the Boston Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. That initial grant helped VIB to step up its work assisting the community, providing lunch and dinner Monday through Friday in communities of color, and delivering grocery basics—along with face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer—to people’s homes. VIB also provided financial assistance to those behind on rent or utilities. Now it is one of an initial group of 10 nonprofits receiving $150,000 each for long-term recovery efforts.

On December 11, the Foundation announced the distribution of $1.95 million from the COVID-19 Response Fund as part of continuing efforts to ensure a just and equitable recovery from the ravages of COVID-19 and the underlying inequities it has highlighted. The 10 organizations will share $1.5 million in grants.

As part of the grantmaking process, the Fund’s advisory committee leveraged data to identify the communities that have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic. Data from Boston Indicators and other research partners show that high caseloads correlate with higher shares of residents of color; crowded, lower income and non-English speaking households; and higher percentages of workers in “frontline” or “essential” jobs.

“The data makes clear that COVID exacerbates the structural inequities that have been built into our society for decades and longer,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Programs at the Boston Foundation. “These BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations and their dynamic leaders are taking on these inequities, and we are proud to support their ongoing work.”

In addition, the Foundation will invest $450,000 in three collaborative efforts. One grant will support a fund to protect housing affordability. Another will go to Chelsea 2021, a collaborative to support community-led development efforts in that city. Lastly, the Fund will contribute to a Boston Foundation partnership with Barr Foundation and the City of Boston to support efforts that center on communities of color and use the arts as a lever of economic empowerment.

Monica Cannon-Grant standing in front of the doorway to her organization, Violence in Boston. The organization's logo is on the black door, and the building has blue siding. Monica is wearing a black t-shirt with white writing on the front, and a black and white cardigan and gray pants. She's wearing a black face mask with the Violence in Boston logo on it.

Meet Monica Cannon-Grant

Monica Cannon-Grant founded Violence in Boston, a recipient of two grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund. Read more about Monica and the work of Violence in Boston in our City of Ideas blog.