Boston –An unusual announcement of grants totaling $500,000 by Boston Foundation President and CEO Paul S. Grogan was made this morning at a forum held at the Foundation. These grants are directed at regional organizations that provide a combination of immediate direct help to local residents in distress, as well as longer term support to catalyze change that will benefit vulnerable households.
Among the recipients were the Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay , The Greater Boston Food Bank , United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley , the National Consumer Law Center , Citizens Energy Corporation and selected programs overseen by the City of Boston, all of whom have created special programs to deal with this crisis.
“We see a number of alarming trends coming together to threaten area residents this winter,” said Grogan. “Higher food prices, volatile heating prices, shrinking public resources as a result of the national economic crisis and an impending recession pose serious peril for families already in distress in the region as winter begins. We saw a need to respond quickly to expand the capacity of organizations with the skills and networks to help.”
The grants were announced at a forum titled The Coming Winter: Helping Greater Boston’s Vulnerable Residents Survive It, which brought together a panel of experts versed in emergency response and familiar with populations deemed most at risk. Also invited were representatives of other leading funder organizations in the region, including the Barr Foundation , Eos Foundation , Fireman Family Foundation , Catholic Charities and Combined Jewish Philanthropies , as well as a range of service organizations dealing with the challenges.
The forum was moderated by David Boeri, veteran journalist and co-host of Radio Boston, a weekly news program broadcast by WBUR FM 90.9. Panelists for the program included Eliza Greenberg, Commissioner for Elder Affairs for the City of Boston; Deborah C. Jackson, CEO of the Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay; Joseph P. Kennedy II, Chair and President of Citizens Energy; Carol Tienken, COO of the Greater Boston Food Bank; and Bill White, Assistant Secretary of Federal Affairs for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Commonwealth.
In addition to the panelists, the forum included experts and leaders from organizations on the front lines responding to issues of hunger, housing and heating, as well as those who work with vulnerable populations, including the city’s elderly, low-income residents and children.
Specific grants announced included:
The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of over $964 million. In 2007, the Foundation and its donors made more than $92 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $90 million. The Foundation is made up of some 850 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to address the community’s and region’s most pressing challenges. For more information about the Boston Foundation, visit www.tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.