NEW BEDFORD--The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts offers a unique vehicle for donors who are committed to a cause and want to support innovative and effective work by local nonprofit agencies who make an impact in that area.  It is called a Field of Interest Fund, and the Community Foundation announced two such funds completed grant cycles using its grantmaking expertise to promote, process, and review competitive proposals that move the needle for each fund’s chosen cause.

The Polaroid Fund, founded in 2008 in partnership with The Boston Foundation and Acushnet Foundation Fund, seeks to enhance the skills and education of the Greater New Bedford Workforce.  This year, the Polaroid Fund made grants totaling $100,000 to support workforce development programming, with an emphasis on English Speaker of Other Languages (ESOL) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) and General Education Development (GED) classes, and family literacy programs that integrate early literacy programming for children to three years old with ABE/ESOL and parenting classes.

Grantees included:

  • $18,250 to the Community Economic Development Center for neighborhood-based ESOL programming and literacy education to adult students in New Bedford’s North End.
  • The City of New Bedford Department of Community Services received $10,000 for its Shining Lights ESOL Program.
  • The Immigrants Assistance Center was awarded $18,250 to support its ESOL and Citizenship Preparation programming.
  • $6,000 to Junior Achievement of Southeastern Massachusetts for its JA ESOL programming at the Alfred J. Gomes School in New Bedford.
  • $15,000 to the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! For its Learning Studio: Early Literacy through the Arts Program.
  • United Interfaith Action received $7,500 for their advocacy work to increase job opportunities for those marginalized from the New Bedford labor market.
  • $10,000 to the SMILES Mentoring Program at People, Inc. for its mentoring and Adult ESL program at Parker Elementary School in New Bedford.
  • $15,000 to the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts for its LifeWork program.

Beginning in 2017, the Huidekoper Fund offered up to $4,000 in funding to local organizations focused on athletic activity and fitness for youth.  The Huidekoper Fund was created by a generous bequest of Peter G. and Mary B. Huidekoper and celebrates the rich heritage of youth athletics that is an essential part of an engaging and active life in Southeastern Massachusetts.  Grantees announced earlier this month, included:

 ·     The Boys and Girls Club of Fall River received $1,000 to support staff for its Triple Play program.

·     Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) was awarded $1,000 to help provide scholarships to youth for their Explore Your Environment program.

·     The RAPPP Program at Southcoast Health received $1,000 to support hiking and camping trips for at-risk and underserved New Bedford youth.

·     The Gleason Family YMCA received $1,000 for its collaboration with Wareham Public Schools to teach Third Graders to swim.

 About the Community Foundation

Our Community.  Your Foundation.  Since 1995, area residents have been turning to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts to make their philanthropic giving as effective as possible. The Community Foundation is a public charity serving thousands of people who share a common concern – improving the quality of life in Southeastern Massachusetts.  To date, the Community Foundation has distributed well over $25 million from nearly 200 funds to humanitarian, educational and cultural organizations in the region. More information about the Foundation can be found at www.cfsema.org.

-Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts