Achieving Today. Sustaining for the Future.
The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts

Grants Made in 2015

Grants Made in 2015$3,046,643
A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way - Implementation, Year 3$604,657
Café Reyes Catering$89,203
Career Center 2.0$84,800
Catering Options Social Enterprise$78,000
Collaborative Model for Integrating Resettled Refugees - Planning $170,722
Community Based Day Services$39,499
Expanding Capacity and Reach Initiative$29,114
Housing Stability Program$50,000
Improving Access to Health - Implementation, Year 3$20,000
On Our Way - Education for a Bright Tomorrow$73,700
Orchard High Density Growing Project$100,000
ReImagine North of Main - Pilot $350,000
St. John’s Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry Expansion$100,000
Storefront Renewal Project$85,000
Students for Higher: Rising Up for Autism$56,700
Wiser Men$375,000
Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry - Implementation, Year 3$286,968
Worcester Regional Food Hub - Planning $161,650
WorcesterHEARS - Planning $165,000
Title:A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way - Implementation, Year 3Amount:$604,657
Recipient:Worcester Housing Authority
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - A Better Life: Helping Families Find Their Way
ABL is moving into its third year of full implementation. In Year 3, the WHA will expand ABL to include 20 - 25 households from their state properties. This expansion comes as a result of the Massachusetts Welfare Reform legislation that was enacted in 2014 which contained a provision that allows the WHA to operate ABL in its state properties. ABL is also adding a job developer to work with all of the program participants to increase the employment rate overall.

In 2015, ABL will continue with the two cohorts of participants who were previously enrolled. One is the voluntary group that was started in 2013. Enrollment in this cohort ended in January 2014 and 12 participants remain from the original group of about 30. While some participants have graduated from the program, the decline in the number of participants is mainly due to a decline in participant interest. The second cohort which was started in 2014, is the group for whom participation in ABL was mandated by their lease; and for whom failure to participate could result in the loss of their housing. In this group which originally included 35 households, 30 remain. The five that were terminated from ABL were evicted due to lease violations that were unrelated to ABL.

The program continues to address five areas of need: educational, occupational, financial, personal, and healthcare. Preliminary outcomes indicate that ABL is effectively helping residents move to self-sufficiency.

Project Director: Mr. Raymond Mariano
Fiscal Agent: The Worcester Housing Authority
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Title:Café Reyes CateringAmount:$89,203
Recipient:Latin American Health Alliance
Grant Type: Activation Fund
This grant will allow The Latin American Health Alliance (LAHA) to expand the catering component of Cafe Reyes which provides an ongoing job training pipeline for the clients of the Hector Reyes House, a residential substance abuse recovery program for Latino males. LAHA recognizes the critical importance of job skills training and employment in maintaining sobriety and achieving economic self-sufficiency. All of the men at Hector Reyes House participate in this job training program. LAHA anticipates that the catering business will provide a minimum of 12 paying jobs annually and 30 additional training opportunities.

Project Director: Dr. Aaron Mendel
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Title:Career Center 2.0Amount:$84,800
Recipient:Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board
Grant Type: Activation Fund
The Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board operates three Workforce Central Career Centers (WCCC) in Worcester, Milford and Southbridge. This grant will reposition the WCCC as a resource that connects people to careers and helps businesses efficiently find the talent they need. WCCC will implement a demand-facing service model which prioritizes the employer’s need for service delivery as a way to create more employment opportunities for job seekers. This new model will involve a new service design and better data management system to allow WCCC to improve their services to employers and job-seekers.

Project Director: Mr. Jeffrey Turgeon
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Title:Catering Options Social EnterpriseAmount:$78,000
Recipient:Employment Options
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Employment Options (EO) serves individuals with serious and persistent mental illness using the Clubhouse Model. They also serve very low-income adults who require workforce development skills. This grant will increase the capacity of Catering Options, a social enterprise that trains and employs disadvantaged, unemployed residents recovering from mental illness in the culinary, food service and hospitality industries. Funds will be used to hire a Business Development Manager and renovate their existing kitchen to be able to support the additional business. EO anticipates recruiting 20 - 25 individuals from their service area for each class. Twelve of these individuals are expected to complete a work readiness course and ten will go on to take a six-week basic culinary training course. Those completing this course will then be placed at various local employers.

Project Director: Mr. Darrell Young
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Title:Collaborative Model for Integrating Resettled Refugees - Planning Amount:$170,722
Recipient:Ascentria Community Services
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Partnership for Refugee Wellness
Ascentria Care Alliance (ACA) is planning a Collaborative Model for the Integration of Resettled Refugees (CMIRR) who arrive in Worcester. More than 1,600 refugees were resettled in Worcester from 2009-2011. The refugee resettlement period that has been established and funded by the federal government covers eight months and is primarily focused on employment and economic stability, not on overall well-being and meaningful integration into the community.

ACA will convene key leaders from the refugee community and the various mutual assistance organizations to identify opportunities and obstacles for refugees and to propose strategies to optimize best practices for integration into the community. They will then pilot and evaluate a client-centered model for meaningful integration in Worcester. Some of the partner organizations that have agreed to participate in this effort include the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center; Family Continuity; the Worcester Public Schools; the Worcester Housing Authority; Community Legal Aid; Quinsigamond Community College; and Worcester Interfaith.

During this planning year, CMIRR will form a Steering Committee, conduct research, perform needs assessments and develop a model for the pilot project with appropriate evaluation tools. The goal is to develop a model for refugee integration with measurable outcomes that will reshape how services are delivered and empower refugees with the skills and resources necessary to successfully integrate into their new community.

Project Director: Ms. Angela Bovill
Fiscal Agent: Ascentria Care Alliance
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Title:Community Based Day ServicesAmount:$39,499
Recipient:GAAMHA, Inc.
Grant Type: Activation Fund
GAAMHA provides day services to individuals with developmental disabilities; residential and supportive housing services to individuals with substance use disorders; and transportation services. This grant will allow GAAMHA to renovate a space in Orange and enable them to provide community-based day services to individuals with cognitive/developmental disabilities and autism in this region. Funds will also be used for the acquisition of furnishings and materials and to pay the rent on the space for one year.

Project Director: Ms. Tracy Hutchinson
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Title:Expanding Capacity and Reach InitiativeAmount:$29,114
Recipient:Working For Worcester
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Working For Worcester (W4W) is a student-led, volunteer organization based at Holy Cross. W4W would like to start chapters of this organization at four other colleges/universities in the city. Their main activity is one day of infrastructure building each April that brings area college students together with residents, businesses, non-profits, civic leaders and religious organizations to renovate and build recreational spaces across the city in an effort to increase recreational opportunities for children and promote community wellness. Past projects have included new playgrounds, basketball courts and dance studios. W4W will use this funding to enhance their infrastructure and expand their partnerships with other colleges in Worcester.

Project Director: Mr. Brendan Healey
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Title:Housing Stability ProgramAmount:$50,000
Recipient:NewVue Communities
Grant Type: Activation Fund
NewVue Communities plans to establish the Housing Stability Program with this grant. The goal is to reduce evictions by providing services such as financial coaching, income support programs, health insurance access, etc. to vulnerable families that will reduce the likelihood that they will default on their rent. The program will help tenants avoid eviction and save landlords the costs associated with evictions and vacant apartments.  NewVue will begin working with tenants in their own properties and has a goal to reduce the number of families forced to leave their apartments from 20 to five during the grant period.

Project Director: Ms. Anne Mola
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Title:Improving Access to Health - Implementation, Year 3Amount:$20,000
Recipient:Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Improving Access to Health
The Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (EMKCHC) opened a satellite medical facility in Milford in March 2014. As of the end of September 2014, a total of 1,529 patients (3,366 visits) had been seen for primary care services. Of these, about 1000 represent new patients and 400 represent patients who had been going to EMKCHC in either Worcester or Framingham, and who moved to the Milford site because it was more convenient.

In this final year of funding, EMKCHC will continue to work collaboratively with various organizations in the Milford area to ensure that residents are aware of the satellite and the services it offers. EMKCHC is currently working out arrangements to have behavioral health services, including psychiatry, offered on-site and expects that to happen early in 2015. One new partnership that was developed in 2014 was with the Milford Public Schools to help children who are new to the school system get into care so their school enrollment is not delayed.

Staff at the Milford site includes 3.0 FTE medical providers (physicians and nurse practitioners), 1.2 FTE RNs, 3.0 medical assistants, a full time RN practice manager, a community health worker and a medical interpreter (tri-lingual).

Project Director: Ms. Leah P. Gallivan
Fiscal Agent: Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
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Title:On Our Way - Education for a Bright TomorrowAmount:$73,700
Grant Type: Activation Fund
This grant will allow MassEdCO to expand their On Our Way program to Fitchburg, Leominster and Southbridge, all areas that are dealing with rates of teen pregnancies that are significantly higher than the state average. On Our Way emphasizes a teen mother's education/career preparation and achievement while ensuring that her child's needs and her own parenting needs are being met. MassEdCO will employ its experience and skills in ensuring educational success, while collaborating with local social service providers for other necessary services. This program uses a case manager model to work with each young mother to help her complete high school and move on to post-secondary education.

Project Director: Ms. Pamela Boisvert
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Title:Orchard High Density Growing ProjectAmount:$100,000
Recipient:Community Harvest Project
Grant Type: Activation Fund
This funding will enable Community Harvest Project (CHP) to implement a high density fruit tree planting system and add other fruit trees to increase the amount of fresh fruit Community Harvest Project can donate to food programs serving low income families and individuals in Worcester County. By developing this high density apple growing system, CHP expects to be able to increase production of more varieties of apples and other fruits which are in demand and are often in short supply at food pantries. CHP anticipates that this new planting system would be fully productive in about three years, allowing CHP to donate 10,000 bushels of apples to hunger relief organizations in 2018. CHP also anticipates being able to sell some of the additional produce thereby improving their financial sustainability.

Project Director: Ms. Jodi Koeman
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Title:ReImagine North of Main - Pilot Amount:$350,000
Recipient:Montachusett Opportunity Council
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - ReImagine North of Main
The Montachusett Opportunity Council (MOC) and the City of Fitchburg have been coordinating a planning effort funded by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to assess the North of Main neighborhood of Fitchburg, an area currently plagued by poverty and vacant buildings. The goal of this pilot project is to transform the North of Main neighborhood into a vibrant community where people want to live, work and invest.

The three primary goals for this project are: to enable young children (ages 3-9) to succeed in school through improved vocabulary, pre-literacy and literacy development; to foster family self-sufficiency and social cohesion at the family and neighborhood level through integrated service delivery and policy change; and to Implement citywide policies to engage current stakeholders, including residents and landlords, and attract new investments.

The project will take a holistic approach to providing support to a group of 30 families in this neighborhood by having a family life coach work with the families on setting goals and to facilitate access to resources in the community to help them achieve their goals.

Project Director: Ms. Patricia A. Pistone
Fiscal Agent: Montachusett Opportunity Council
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Title:St. John’s Soup Kitchen & Food Pantry ExpansionAmount:$100,000
Recipient:St. John’s Church
Grant Type: Activation Fund
St. John's Food for the Poor Program will be constructing an addition to their current facility with this grant. The addition will provide increased storage space, including increased refrigeration capacity. This will allow St. John's to more than double the amount of perishable and non-perishable food that they can distribute. The food program currently serves about 500 individuals each day, five days a week.

Project Director: Mr. Frank Carroll
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Title:Storefront Renewal ProjectAmount:$85,000
Recipient:Worcester Community Housing Resources
Grant Type: Activation Fund
Worcester Community Housing Resources (WCHR) will renovate an empty storefront at 795 Main Street. WCHR will lease the space to the Urban Missioner Program of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts for three years to run a community outreach center providing community activities and services. The income from the space will help stabilize the finances of two rooming houses operated by WCHR. The new programming will serve residents of the rooming houses and other families housed in WCHR apartments, as well as the Main South neighborhood.

Project Director: Mr. Andy Howarth
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Title:Students for Higher: Rising Up for AutismAmount:$56,700
Grant Type: Activation Fund
HMEA will use this grant to increase the number of staff providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and respite care for children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA is evidence-based and has been shown to be the only therapy that improves behavioral and social challenges for children with autism. College students participating in the program will be exposed to relevant work experience that will help them secure a job in this field after graduation.

Project Director: Ms. Jolene Perry
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Title:Wiser MenAmount:$375,000
Recipient:Advocates, Inc.
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry (WISR)
In 2014 the Worcester County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) partnered with WISR and was successful in winning a $750,000 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for a Second Chance Act grant for the Sheriff's new Wiser Men program. In 2015, WISR will provide services to 75 men returning to the community from the Worcester County House of Correction. WISR expects to begin providing in-reach services in March 2015 and post-release services beginning 30 to 90 days later. WISR will work with the WCSO on Wiser Men through 2016.

In 2015 and 2016, The Health Foundation will provide $375,000 in matching funds required by the Second Chance Act grant. This was one of only seven grants awarded in the country and is the largest matching grant the Foundation has ever made.

Project Director: Ms. Rebecca Pellegrino
Fiscal Agent: Advocates, Inc.
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Title:Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry - Implementation, Year 3Amount:$286,968
Recipient:Advocates, Inc.
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry (WISR)
In its third year of implementation, WISR will continue providing comprehensive transitional and post-release services to former inmates returning to the Worcester area. WISR anticipates providing maintenance case management services to about 65 men and will also provide maintenance services for approximately 15 men who were in the WISR and Worcester County Sheriff's After Incarceration Support Services (AISS) program. They will continue to focus on advocacy for the sustainability of this program, working on two strategies to secure long-term funding: a state budget line item and social impact bonds. WISR will continue exploring both of these with the new administration in 2015.

Preliminary results after WISR's first year of implementation for the 48 men who had been in the community for one year showed that:
- Only 8 percent had been re-incarcerated vs. 34 percent for a comparison group of other DOC former prisoners;
- 100 percent of WISR participants had housing upon release;
- 60 percent were able to maintain continuous employment for at least six months; and
- 90 percent of participants referred to substance abuse treatment services has accessed the recommended services.

Of the 80 WISR participants currently actively engaged with WISR, 28 percent are working full-time, 23 percent have part-time jobs and 32 percent are continuing to meet with the job developer to secure employment. The other 16 percent are disabled or unable to work due to residential program restrictions.

Project Director: Ms. Diane E. Gould
Fiscal Agent: Advocates, Inc.
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Title:Worcester Regional Food Hub - Planning Amount:$161,650
Recipient:Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester Regional Food Hub
The Regional Environmental Council (REC) will partner with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce to explore the creation of a regional food hub in Worcester. A food hub offers a means to expand access to healthy foods by supporting local producers and consumers. While working together on the project, the Chamber will focus its energies on the business model development and REC will focus on addressing food insecurity for low income residents.

There are presently about 300 food hubs in 45 states that generally coordinate key logistical functions such as the aggregation and storage of product; processing, often including the production of value-added products; marketing; and distribution. Food hubs can help eliminate barriers that make it difficult for small producers to meet the requirements of institutional or retail consumers. They can also sell directly to consumers through retail outlets or mobile markets.

Co-Project Director: Mr. Steven D. Fischer, Regional Environmental Council
Co-Project Director: Ms. April Anderson Lamoureux, Economic Development Consultant, 
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
Fiscal Agent: Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
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Title:WorcesterHEARS - Planning Amount:$165,000
Recipient:Worcester Public Schools
Grant Type: Synergy Initiative - Worcester HEARS
The Worcester Public Schools (WPS) in collaboration with the Worcester Education Collaborative is planning to implement the WorcesterHEARS (Worcester's Healthy Environments and Resilience in Schools Initiative) to address the high rate of suspensions in Worcester schools. WorcesterHEARS will identify five schools, four elementary schools which feed into one middle school to pilot the Flexible Framework, an evidence-based model to help school districts develop a plan for integrating trauma-sensitive routines and individual supports into the school day. They will train the staff at these schools and monitor outcomes compared to a similar cohort of schools that is not implementing the model.

In the 2013-2014 school year, 9.8 percent of WPS students were suspended, including 5.7 percent of elementary school students and 17.5 percent of students in middle school. In the 2011-2012 school year, WPS had a suspension rate of 12 percent which is more than twice the state average. This translated into more than 35,000 hours of lost instruction time. In the primary grades this may mean missing instruction in the foundational subjects and not mastering critical learning skills. While in the upper grades this lost time increases the likelihood of dropping out.

WPS plans to include parents, the community health centers, the Worcester Police Dept., the Juvenile and Family Courts and the Massachusetts Dept. of Youth Services along with various other social service providers that serve the particular cluster of schools selected for the pilot.

Project Director: Dr. Marco C. Rodrigues
Fiscal Agent: Worcester Public Schools
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