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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
2000 - September 2013
(as of 9.20.13)

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 2013) with regard to “racial justice,” these key findings resulted:

  • THF has funded 6:16 (38%) of the applications received from organizations of color;

This number declined from 5:12 (42%) in 2012 because Worcester lost two organizations of color in 2013 (i.e., Henry Lee Willis Community Center and the MLK Business Empowerment Center) who would have received two grants from the Foundation that instead were made to organizations located in and serving communities of color.

  • THF has funded 34:72 (47%) of the applications received from organizations located in & serving  communities of color;

This ratio declined from 53% in 2012 because the number of applications increased.

  • THF has funded 39:82 (48%) of its grants to organizations of color and organizations located in & serving communities of color.  These 39 grants total $17.4 M (67%) of THF’s total grantmaking of $26.1 M.

These ratios were stable from 2012 to 2013.


It is important to note that Worcester County is 80% white and THF has intentionally sought to place funds throughout the region, including for example a Synergy Initiative project in Winchendon which approximates over 90% white.  

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, grass roots organizations would likely not have the capacity to manage $50,000+ grants, and that grass roots 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 13-year history of grantmaking.

Click on the following links to learn more:

Grants Awarded Based on Racial Justice Categories

Grant Amount Awarded Based on Racial Justice Categories

Applications Declined Based on Racial Justice Categories

Worcester County Census - 2012 Race Data