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The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Grants by Racial Justice

An Assessment of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts’ Grantmaking Portfolio

Using a Racial Justice Lens

Annual Assessment 2000-2015

(as of 9.18.15)

In 2009 the Applied Research Center and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity published the Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment, Appendix 3: Assessing Our Grantmaking for Its Racial Justice Potential.  Using that tool to assess The Health Foundation’s (THF) grantmaking (from 2000-September 2015) with regard to “racial justice,” these key findings resulted:

THF has funded 8:18 (44%) of the applications received from “organizations of color;”

This ratio increased from 38% in 2014 because 2 new “organizations of color” were funded. (LAHA and WPS).

THF has funded 40:82 (49%) of the applications received from “organizations located in & serving  communities of color;”

This ratio increased from 45% in 2014 because 6 new “organizations located in & serving communities of color” were funded. (CMWIB, MassEdCO, REC, St. John’s, Twin Cities CDC, W4W).

THF has funded 46:92 (50%) of its grants to “organizations of color” and “organizations located in & serving communities of color.”  The grants to these 46 organizations total $22 M (71%) of THF’s total grantmaking of $31 M.

This ratio increased slightly from 48% in 2014.


It is important to note that the population of Worcester County is 80% white and that THF has intentionally sought to place funds throughout the region, including for example a Synergy Initiative project in Winchendon which is more than 90% white.  Thus, the decision to fund communities throughout the region also impacts the results of this assessment. 

It is also important to recall that in developing the Foundation’s avenues for grantmaking (i.e., Activation Fund and Synergy Initiative), the Board determined that THF’s grants should be of a substantive size (as compared to the $10-15,000 grants being made by most donors including the Greater Worcester Community Foundation) in order for THF to add the most value or impact in the region.  That decision was made with the understanding that small, grassroots organizations would likely not have the capacity to manage $50,000+ grants, and that grassroots organizations should therefore be encouraged to work with larger organizations in seeking grants from THF. This approach has been maintained by the Board throughout the Foundation’s 15-year history of grantmaking.