As we look forward to our next grant cycle, the Foundation Trust is pleased to share an overview of its charitable giving and other activities in 2020. During the past year, we awarded more than 20 grants, small gifts and scholarships to New England nonprofits, city-run programs, individuals, and national organizations, including participation in local emergency food assistance initiatives facing exponential demand due to the pandemic.
The majority of our grants in 2020 were awarded to programs from ten Greater Boston communities, including our three priority catchment areas for the past year: Stoneham, Everett, and Chelsea. Awards were made to programs aligned with the Foundation Trust’s four priority tracks:
- Overcoming trauma and adversity,
- Empowering high-risk youth and vulnerable communities,
- Restoring dignity and quality of care for adults living with chronic conditions, and
- Advancing inclusivity in the arts.
The Foundation Trust was also intensively involved in 2020 in the development of specialized educational resources for consumers and providers designed to help trauma-exposed children and their families, adults with histories of complex trauma, and seniors with chronic conditions cope with isolation anxiety, and other stressors magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. These materials were translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French and disseminated worldwide through the Foundation Trust's resource website: www.complextrauma.org. Our resources were viewed or downloaded 167,877 times in 2020 by individuals from 163 countries worldwide.
“This unusual year has impacted every individual and every organization we have had the pleasure of working with. It has been incredibly heartening to see how our partners have adapted and shifted to meet the needs of their communities in new and creative ways,” says Lauren Liecau, Manager of the Foundation Trust.
“Letters of Inquiry for last year's grants and small gifts closed in early March, just before the pandemic really started to change life as we knew it. Many of the programs were put on hold or were just unable to proceed as planned. As such, our grant work in 2020 looked different than we had anticipated, but with an enhanced focus on active collaborations with our grantees, we were still able to seek out partners who were able to continue to provide services in tune with their missions and our priority tracks. The organizations we have partnered with this year are doing incredible work in the face of unparalleled adversity.”
A number of recipients from the inaugural grant cycle in 2019 received renewals in 2020 for continuation of their programming.
- The Amesbury Council on Aging also received funds to expand their technology loan program. “There is a need now more than ever to find different ways to connect with each other. Isolation is very detrimental to one’s health,” explained Doreen Arnfield, Director of the Amesbury Council on Aging. The Foundation Trust sponsored ten tablets that can be lent to seniors and that are accompanied by programming to teach and engage community members that have been particularly vulnerable to isolation during the pandemic. “Our seniors are enjoying the ability to learn more about technology and to connect with others,” continues Arnfield. “It is especially helpful in these challenging times.”
- Follow Your Art Community Studios in Melrose will again be hosting a Foundation Trust Emerging Artist Fellow after a successful first year. Rebecca Flores-Mantilla, the first Foundation Trust Emerging Artist, recently held a solo show exhibiting her work from the year. “The Foundation Trust is committed to supporting artistic and cultural initiatives that advance inclusivity, diversity, and the expression and unification of distinct voices and perspectives. Although theaters have been closed throughout the pandemic, we are glad that we could and can continue to support the immediate needs of some members of the artistic community through these fellowships with FYACS,” says Liecau.
- A renewed grant to the Malden YMCA Food Security Program will help meet the increased demand at the Eliot Family Resource Center in Everett. This is in addition to an emergency grant that was made in Spring 2020 to support the Mystic Community Market, a food pantry that has faced a dramatic increase in community need since the onset of the pandemic. “We're thrilled to continue our partnership with Foundation Trust to serve the Everett community,” said Lindsay Smythe, Director of Fund Development for the Malden YMCA
- Portal to Hope has continued to support teens impacted by domestic violence through Erin's Project in Lynn and Everett, supported by the Foundation Trust. "Despite the issues that have impacted our opportunities to visit schools and be onsite to conduct outreach and training activities, our partnership with The Foundation Trust has already helped to serve seventy-one youth impacted by family violence," commented Deb Fallon, Founder of Portal to Hope. The Foundation Trust's in-house trauma experts are also conducting workshops with Portal to Hope's Youth Leadership Program.
- The Revere Community School has remained committed to meeting the needs of their English language learners during the pandemic through a shift to virtual classes, sponsored by the Foundation Trust. Fatou Drammeh, Manager of the Revere Community School shared that, “everyone is affected by this crisis but our student, immigrant population is hit harder. We appreciate the Foundation Trust’s continued support of the work of the Community School.”
- Two students at Mary of the Annunciation School in Melrose received scholarships to allow them to continue their parochial education.
The Foundation Trust also made contributions to several new partners, who went above and beyond to serve their communities this year.
- An award to the Boys and Girls Club of Stoneham and Wakefield allowed the Clubs to provide their annual Thanksgiving dinner, albeit in a different way than usual. Approximately 1,100 traditional Thanksgiving meals were provided to families in need in the week before the holiday. John Brinkman, Boys and Girls Clubs COO, noted that “we really appreciate the support of the Foundation Trust on keeping this tradition alive for families in our communities, many of which need the assistance now more than ever.”
- A grant to Bread of Life will provide 2000 backpacks filled with food and personal hygiene items to Everett students in need over the course of the 2020-2021 school year. “We are truly grateful for The Foundation Trust’s commitment to ensure children are well nourished through their generous sponsorship of this much needed program for Everett students,” said Gabriella Snyder-Stelmack, Executive Director at Bread of Life.
- An award to Chelsea Community Connections will expand an initiative to provide gift cards to undocumented immigrants and underserved families to cover basic needs such as personal hygiene or household products. The award will provide cards to up to 200 families. Cara Cogliano, Chelsea Community Connections Program Director, commented “this could not have come at a better time. I am so grateful for this grant award; it will help us reach more families, most of whom are immigrants, and help meet basic needs beyond food.”
- The Foundation Trust has entered an active partnership with Rehearsal for Life to create new content for the Urban Improv program around the topic of Loss. Leveraging in-house expertise, the Foundation Trust contributed to the new curriculum and supported the development of virtual materials during the pandemic. As Kristen Sherman, Managing Director of Rehearsal for Life said, “this unprecedented moment in time has allowed Rehearsal for Life to start thinking in new ways about digital content and expanded impact.”
Small Gift Recipients
- American Indian College Fund
- Boys and Girls Club of Fall River
- Girls, Inc.
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Roxbury Presbyterian Church Social Impact Center
- Sisters of St. Benedict
- Sisters of St. Francis
- The Trevor Project
Expanded Resources on Complex Trauma
In 2020, the Foundation Trust focused on the development of a number of new resources to advance the understanding of complex trauma, in line with the foundation’s Track 1 activities. While the grant activities focus on New England, these psychoeducational materials have both national and international reach. Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, Foundation Trust Executive Director explained that “in developing and sharing these resources so broadly, we hope the information reaches the people who need it the most. We aim to teach people about what complex trauma is, how it affects people, and about approaches to healing.”
Recognizing the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mental health and wellness, particularly for individuals with a history of prior trauma, Drs. Spinazzola and Pressley developed a resource guide for adults and a resource guide for youth and their caregivers, which are available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. “Clinically we were seeing this added burden of the pandemic really taking a toll on individuals with a history of complex trauma. These resources were created to help people find hope and a sense of control in uncertain times,” shared Dr. Jana Pressley, one of the resources’ co-authors.
A webinar presenting these coping strategies for adults and youth was held as part of the new Foundation Trust Speaker Series with the Melrose Human Rights Commission in December. Foundation Trust staff and Council on Aging partners also discussed similar recommendations in this video for seniors coping with isolation.
Additionally in 2020, new Core Topics were added to complextrauma.org, the Foundation Trust-sponsored repository for resources on complex trauma.
The Complexity of Racial Trauma: This timely and important new section explores the connections between trauma and systemic racism, and discusses ways forward.
- Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Insidious Impact of Psychological Maltreatment – This new section addresses the accumulation of emotional wounds from psychological maltreatment such as emotional abuse and neglect.
2021 Grant Cycle
Are you interested in joining our growing list of partners? The Foundation Trust is accepting partnership grant proposals from eligible programs until May 7, 2021. Complete details are available at www.foundationtrust.org/apply.