Archive for the ‘Youth & Families’ Category

Surviving & Thriving in Difficult Times 10/5/17

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Recent political shifts in Washington have many wondering what the future of government funding of health and social services may look like in the months ahead.

As funders and organizations concerned about the long-term health of the region and its residents, we believe it is important that local health and social service providers begin to plan for the potential impact that these changes may have on your organization and the people you serve. To this end, we have come together with other MetroWest Area funders to jointly sponsor a special one-day seminar entitled, SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN DIFFICULT TIMES.

The purpose of this seminar is to bring agencies together to hear how those in business and industry plan for these kinds of public policy and funding shifts. This seminar will be led by Dr. Michael Cummings, Senior Lecturer in Management at Babson College. Dr. Cummings has experience across several industries including manufacturing and healthcare. His research interests are in public policy and organizational performance and survival.

The workshop is limited to 40 participants and will be held on Thursday, October 5th from 8:30am-3:30pm at the Babson Executive Conference Center.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP online. If you have questions about this seminar, please contact Rebecca Gallo.

Thanks to the MetroWest Health Foundation, Middlesex Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Foundation for MetroWest and MetroWest Nonprofit Network for joining us in bringing this workshop to MetroWest nonprofits.

Posted on September 19, 2017.

 

 

New Grant Awards

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Children, Youth and Families (CY&F) Program Grants

ACCEPT Education Collaborative, Natick, MA, $19,200
For a marketing/communications consultation.

Bethany Hill Place, Framingham, MA, $5,000
For a strategic planning consultation.

Doc Wayne Youth Services, Boston, MA, $25,000
For a program evaluation consultation.

Family Promise Metrowest, Natick, MA, $10,000
For a strategic planning consultation.

Hoops and Homework, Framingham, MA, $16,500
For board develop and strategic planning consultations.

Jeff’s Place, Framingham, MA, $20,500
For a board development consultation.

Jewish Family Service of Metrowest, Framingham, MA, $8,500
For a board development consultation.

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, Framingham, MA, $9,665
For staff development.

CY&F Invitation & Discretionary Grants:
Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program, Lincoln, MA, $18,200
To strategize and pilot a new way of managing herd transition.

MetroWest Legal Services, Framingham, MA, $25,000
To provide legal representation to 30-40 undocumented immigrant youth in Framingham schools to assist them in applying for and obtaining legal status and to conduct “Know Your Rights” presentations and trainings.

Sudbury Program

Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Sudbury, MA, $7,500
Faculty stipends to pilot the Hub for Innovation.

Town of Sudbury/Goodnow Library, Sudbury, MA, $31,250
To purchase equipment and provide staff training as part of an extensive renovation to the Library’s second floor.

MetroWest Free Medical Program, Sudbury, MA, $1,200
To purchase equipment to create an additional exam room at the Sudbury location.

Organization for the Assabet, Sudbury & Concord Rivers, Concord, MA, $5,000
To create a report card on the health status of the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord rivers.

Sudbury United Methodist Church, Sudbury, MA, $25,000
In support of a capital campaign.

SWEET, Inc., Sudbury, MA, $545
A series of small projects to help eradicate invasive species in Sudbury.

Sudbury Historical Society, Sudbury, MA, $200,000 matching grant
Toward a capital campaign to renovate the Loring Parsonage to create a Town History Center. 

Farm & Local Food Initiative

Mass. Dept. of Transitional Assistance Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), $25,000
To support a state-level evaluation of the HIP project which enables SNAP participants to use their benefits at farmers markets, farms stands, mobile markets and CSAs.

Franklin County CDC/Fiscal Agent for the  Mass. Food System Collaborative, Greenfield, MA, $25,000
General support for the Collaborative’s work supporting the recommendations of the Mass. Local Food Action Plan.

Conservation Law Foundation/Legal Food Hub, Boston, MA, $100,000 over three years
General support for the Massachusetts work of the Legal Food Hub which provides pro bono legal assistance to farmers and food purveyors.

Community Program

Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Boston, MA, $10,000
Honorariam recognizing former trustee Sharon Driscolls’s many years of service to the Foundation.

Posted on June 15, 2017

Working with Consultants

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Brain power

Most of our capacity building grants involve working with a consultant. There’s considerable value from such collaborations including gaining a fresh perspective or specific expertise. It can be especially helpful when previous efforts have stalled or stakeholders have wildly differing points of view.

But there are an equal number of headaches as well — from the resistance of staff or board members who shun interference from outsiders to the considerable added time it takes to bring the consultant up to speed about your organization.

Is it worth it?

Yes… IF you’ve thought it through, planned ahead, allotted enough time, gotten all your stakeholders on board and, most importantly, found the consultant who “gets” your organization and has the temperament to shepherd the project and your agency’s varied personalities through the process.

That’s a lot of “ifs”  – it does make your head spin — but it’s also a realistic view of what you should be thinking about before you jump in and hire a consultant.

One thing is for sure, the consultant doesn’t do all the work. In fact, most times you and your colleagues are the ones doing the deep thinking and heavy lifting. The truth is you’re the ones with the answers. You just don’t know it yet. Consultants facilitate the process and keep you moving forward. They steer you in the right direction and make sure no one is left behind. They help you get to the heart of what you need to do and to recognize how you’re going to get there.

When the stars align, the results of working with a consultant can be quite remarkable.

There’s much more to think and read about here:

Posted on December 21, 2016

2016 Winter Grant Awards

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

images-1The following organizations received support during our September and December grant cycles. We are delighted to have them as grant partners.

Sudbury Grants

Gaining Ground, Concord, MA, $5,000
To support Gaining Ground’s work providing healthy produce to the Sudbury Community Food Pantry, and other local pantries.

Sudbury Valley Trustees, Sudbury, MA, $10,000
To develop a master landscape plan for Wolbach Farm, the agency’s headquarters.

Town of Sudbury – Council on Aging, Sudbury, MA, $18,000
To encourage residents to support their neighbors through continued funding of the Senior Volunteer Coordinator position at the Fairbank Senior Center.

Children Youth & Families (CY&F) Grants

Communities for Restorative Justice, Concord MA, $22,500
For a marketing consultation.

Employment Options, Marlborough, MA, $15,000
For a consultation to develop a computer training program for young adult clients.

Massachusetts Audubon Society/Drumlin Farm, Lincoln, MA, $19,975
A evaluation consultation to develop assessment instruments for three programs and to train staff in program evaluation best practices.

One Can Help, Newton, MA, $5,870
To work with a social media consultant for one year to develop and implement a social media communications plan.

Taly Foundation, Framingham, MA, $13,100
For a strategic planning consultation.

Wildflower Camp Foundation, Wellesley, MA, $25,000
For communications, rebranding and website consultations.

CY&F Invitation Grants

John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation, Framingham, MA, $20,000
General support during a time of transition.

Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest, Marlborough, MA, $100,000
A combination grant to support professional development and other projects.

Farm & Local Food Initiative Grants

Boston Area Gleaners, Waltham, MA, $25,000
To work with a consultant to create a customized inventory management system to expand the agency’s ability to glean and distribute local produce to food banks and food pantries.

The Carrot Project, Boston, MA, $25,000
To work with a senior fellow for one year on client coordination, tracking and evaluation.

See our 2016 spring recipients here.

Posted on December 20, 2016

Poverty Beyond City Limits

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

poverty-clip-art-071510-vector-clip-art-free-clipart-images-UlGIVg-clipart copyMetroWest Funders and others: Please join us for a follow up conversation with Steve Pratt from Impact Catalysts (formerly with Root Cause) on poverty in the suburbs.

While still invisible to many, poverty in suburban communities is on the rise, including our communities in MetroWest.

Steve will share findings from his most recent work based in the Greater Washington DC area.  He will compare this geography with MetroWest’s, highlight some key catalysts for change and discuss potential action steps we as funders and donors can take to reduce poverty in our local communities.

Presenter: Steve Pratt, Impact Catalysts
Date: January 11, 2017
Time: Noon to 2:00 pm
Location: The Sudbury Foundation/Grange Hall, 326 Concord Road, Sudbury, MA
Sponsor: Associated Grant Makers

To register, click here.

Posted November 30, 2016

 

Off to College: A Momentous Change for Mom & Dad

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

beckhamBeverly Beckham’s wonderful 2006 Boston Globe essay on sending a child off to college remains true and heartfelt today. The Globe reprints it around this time every year. If you’re a parent who has just dropped your Freshman off at school, pull out your hankie. It’s worth reading: http://bit.ly/2bsy8St

Posted on August 23, 2016

Brainstorming: Thinking about Kids

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Brainstorming

Early Learners

How investing in Preschool Beats the Stock Market, Hands Down. Nobel laureate James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development, makes a strong argument to support early education programs in his paper, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program.

11 Parenting Podcasts Worth Checking Out. Parenting: It’s the most important job of all and there’s no roadmap for how to do it best. Some good resources provided in this Washington Post article.

Read Aloud 15 Minutes. In an era of high-stakes testing and education reforms and revolutions, research has repeatedly proved that one simple parenting technique is among the most effective. Children who are read aloud to by parents get a head start in language and literacy skills and go to school better prepared.

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland.  While American youngsters learn how to read, Kindergarten students in Finland play. Notes one researcher: “There isn’t any solid evidence that shows that children who are taught to read in kindergarten have any long-term benefit from it.” Food for thought.

Run-down schools trigger low test scores. Common sense says it’s so. (We’ve been saying it for years.) Now Cornell social scientists show why it’s true.

Teens & Young Adults

The Value of Mentoring. Whether formal or informal — mentoring is a powerful tool to keep young people on the right track, particularly kids who are disconnected from their community

Today’s College Students May Be Emotionally Unprepared. Findings confirm what we all know is happening. A survey of more than 123,000 students at 153 colleges by the American College Health Association in 2013 found that more than half experienced overwhelming anxiety and about a third felt deep depression during the academic year, as reported in the New York Times. Here’s one program that’s helping high school teens cope: Students returning to school after a serious mental health issue get the care they need thru “BRYT

The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much. Interesting findings reported in the New York Times. It’s not due to cuts in public funding but an increase in enrollment and administrative personnel.

The Cost of An Overdose. Facing the opiod-heroin crisis in MetroWest. In 2015 emergency personnel statewide responded to 11,884 opioid-related incidents, up from 6,315 in 2013.

Posted on July 25, 2016

In Real Life, Who Do You Turn To?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

IRL_MENTOR_LI_Banner

Nine million kids in America are growing up without an answer to this question. They make everyday choices that lead up to life’s big decisions without enough guidance and support – the kind most of us count on. Every kid should have someone to turn to, a caring adult who provides a consistent, supportive and guiding hand to young people — a mentor.

At its most basic level, mentoring is successful in real life because it guarantees youth and teens that there is someone who cares about them and that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges. At a more complex level, there is a powerful mentoring effect that ultimately makes our community stronger.

Quality mentoring programs are proven to build relationships that help improve school attendance and academic achievement, promote responsible decision making, and provide skills to better navigate relationships at school, socially and at home. A report by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership found that young adults who were at risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were:

  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor.
  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.

MENTOR’s report found that one in three young people will grow up without a mentor. We need to close this mentoring gap.

January is National Mentoring Month, celebrating the benefits of quality youth mentoring across the country. The National Mentoring Month public awareness campaign, recognized by presidential and congressional proclamation, is led by MENTOR, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

National Mentoring Month also acknowledges all those who give generously of themselves by mentoring youth “informally” as tutors, coaches, teachers, volunteers and friends.

Won’t you join us in spreading the word about the value of mentoring? Our kids deserve it.

Posted January 6, 2015

Are We Thwarting Creativity in Kids?

Monday, December 7th, 2015

We recently came across this great 2006 Ted Talk by creativity expert Ink splat 150 x 150Sir Ken Robinson.

As Robinson describes it, we begin life full of creative potential, then we are “educated out” of our creative capacity. Much of this happens in school where the emphasis on being right limits our ability to think outside the box. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong,” Robinson says, “you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Worth listening to.

Posted December 7, 2015

Grant brings Lovin’ Spoonfuls to MW

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Eat Fresh Jane & Tina

A coalition of local funders – the MetroWest Health Foundation; the Sudbury Foundation; Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation; and the Foundation for MetroWest – are partnering to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to the pantries and tables of those most in need in our communities. Over the next three years, these four organizations have pledged more than a quarter of a million dollars to support the expansion of Lovin’ Spoonfulsa nonprofit dedicated to bridging the gap between abundance and need.

The three-year grant of nearly $275,000 will allow Lovin’ Spoonfuls to bring their proven food rescue model to food pantries and shelters in the MetroWest region.

“Each of the funders participating in this project has a long history of providing support for hunger programs in the region. This grant will further those efforts by working to make fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products available in a more organized and responsive way,” said Martin Cohen, president of the MetroWest Health Foundation.

In communities known for great affluence and beauty, it may come as a surprise to many that organizations like Lovin’ Spoonfuls are necessary. But suburban hunger is real, and it must be addressed. Together, we are working towards a future where neighbors in need have safe, supportive, and well-stocked places to go when consistently putting healthy food on the table becomes challenging.

While there are 700,000 food insecure residents in Massachusetts, and 20,000 MetroWest kids who rely on free or reduced school lunches,  there is no lack of food—in fact, there is abundance.

“Picture the Rose Bowl, fill it up with fresh produce and set it on fire. That’s the rate that we waste food in this country every day,” Lovin’ Spoonfuls Founder Ashley Stanley said last week at a Panel Talk: “Hunger in MetroWest, ” hosted by the Foundation for MetroWest. “And yet, local food pantries are struggling to stock their shelves. The divide between abundance and need is great, but we can change that.”

Efforts like those of Lovin’ Spoonfuls help bridge the divide by connecting people in need to the bounty of unused food that exists in our communities.

Food programs are ready to take in more fresh food. Joanne Barry, executive director of A Place to Turn in Natick said, “A Place to Turn is thrilled to hear that local foundations will be funding Lovin’ Spoonfuls in our area as they have a proven record of encouraging businesses and other food establishments to donate food that is currently going to waste. This new collaboration will absolutely result in more food delivered to organizations like ours that can then distribute it immediately to people in need in our community.”

Read the MetroWest Daily News article here.

Photo courtesy of A Place to Turn
Posted October 15, 2015