These days more than ever, when a lot of money becomes available for community projects, people pay attention. Baystate has begun distributing $9.6 million to community organizations, and through community organizations in the form of new mini-grant programs in Mason Square and the North End. For those looking for the full story or more details, this might help. These funds represent an enormous opportunity. Now is the time to mobilize.
Baystate, by virtue of being a tax-exempt nonprofit hospital (increasingly rare), must by law make regular and substantial investments in the community (sort of like the Cummunity Reinvestment Act, which obligates banks to do the same). So when Baystate wanted to build a $259 million “hospital of the future,” it also had to get the Department of Public Health to approve a plan to spend $9.6 million on community projects. Serious money.
The plan is referred to as “Factor Nine” (a name I love) because it is at the end of a long document whose main purpose is to describe the new medical facility. Baystate proposed to spend the $9.6 mil over seven years and split it evenly between the North End and Mason Square, with a focus on public health priorities, including health access and health disparities. DPH approved the proposal in October 2007. Both neighborhoods have allocated substantial amounts to their own community mini-grant fund–up to $400K per year could be distributed by each neighborhood. Both emphasize accessibility (nontraditional applicants) and capacity-building.
In the North End, New North Citizens Council is the fiscal agent. On Feb. 2nd, the first round of mini-grants were announced, totalling $140K. Another round of proposals will be due late Spring, early Summer 2009. Here’s more info about the North End Campus Coalition and the RFP that was due in January.
In Mason Square, the Dunbar and Martin Luther King Community Centers are the fiscal agents. An RFP was issued on Feb. 23rd, and there was a technical assistance workshop earlier this week (March 4th). To apply, you must first qualify with a “target plan” and a training course. No deadlines for the target plan or full proposal (once you’ve qualified) are given, though a helpful article in the current issue of Point of View (the article is in the print edition only) says that grants will be made available this Spring. Documents are available on the Dunbar Community Center’s home page.
Please help make this more useful by leaving a comment–add new information, suggestions (these are both works in progress), or your perspectives on these initiatives.
UPDATE: At the 3/19/09 Coalition meeting, Rob Bailey and Milta Franco reported that in the first round of awards, there were 25 submissions, of which 9 were funded. They were hoping to issue the RFP again at the 3/19 meeting, but having reviewed the Mason Square documents, the CIF Committee decided to revise the RFP further before releasing it again.
UPDATE (5/21/09): No date for next North End community initiatives RFP