Proposed education funding bill could be ‘grand slam’ for New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD — The future looks promising for students in New Bedford Public Schools and the state after Thursday’s unveiling of an education funding reform bill which will go onto the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

“It’s reasonable to predict that New Bedford could see at least a 10% increase in aid, conservatively speaking, as soon as FY2021,” Andrew O’Leary, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said in a statement.

“That would be supplemented by significant charter school reimbursement changes (up to 75% of actual costs, with 100% of charter costs covered three years from now),” he said, noting it’s premature to pull out dollar figures from the bill.

The bill named the Student Opportunity Act would make a $1.5 billion new investment in state public education over the next seven years.

In a news release from his office, Sen. Mark Montigny said “The new formula should be a grand slam for New Bedford with significant increases in funding for chapter 70, low income students, English learners, special education, and charter schools, while resulting in major relief for New Bedford taxpayers who have been shouldering these burdens themselves for too long.”

Montigny noted that cities such as New Bedford have been “shortchanged” due to current formulas used to fund education.

“That is why I worked so hard to ensure that New Bedford received a substantial increase in this year’s fiscal budget above and beyond the formula allotment,” he said.

The foundation budget would be updated with estimates of school districts’ employee and retiree health care costs using data collected by the state’s Group Insurance Commission; increases in special education enrollment and cost assumptions; increases in funding for English learners differentiated by grade level; and would address the needs of districts educating high concentrations of students from low-income households, according to a fact sheet on the bill.

“What we are seeing is a reworking of the way schools are funded,” O’Leary said. “Therefore this is more than an aid increase discussion based around numbers. The big takeaway is that this is the most significant attempt to address the underfunded categories like healthcare, special education, and the additional cost of educating low income and English language learner students.”

Mayor Jon Mitchell called the bill “a promising step to help cities across the state, including New Bedford, to provide low-income students the education they deserve.”

Mitchell, in a statement, added he’s grateful that lawmakers have listened to those who, like himself, have advocated for increased state funding to level the playing field.

The bill would also increase foundation rates for guidance and psychological services, expand the special education circuit breaker to include transportation costs which would be phased in over four years and lift the annual cap on Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) spending for school construction and renovation.

It also includes a “21st Century Education Trust Fund” for districts and schools pursuing creative approaches to student learning and a Rural Schools Commission to investigate challenges facing rural and regional school districts with low and declining enrollment.

Districts like New Bedford which serve the largest percentage of low-income students in the state, according to a news release from Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral’s office, will receive an additional increment equal to 100% of their base foundation allotment.

That means nearly doubling the amount of funding attached to economically-disadvantaged students in New Bedford, the news release states.

“There are a lot of positive aspects of this bill, such as the push to fully fund the charter school reimbursement formula,” Cabral said. “But as this critical bill works its way through the Legislature and further analysis is conducted on its contents, I will continue to fight for important changes to how we fund charter schools as a state.”

He added he’s confident that the city will be a “clear winner” once the legislation is passed.

“Our City has a specific set of needs that must be met by the state and this bill provides a more-level playing field to properly educate our students,” Cabral said.

Original story here.

Gov. Baker approves FY20 budget and New Bedford scores big time

Posted Jul 31, 2019 at 12:54 PM

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker signed the FY20 budget Wednesday that includes significant funding for New Bedford, according to a press release from Senator Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford.)

Under this budget plan, New Bedford will receive $159,830,964 in Chapter 70 education funding. This is an increase of $14.5 million over last fiscal year and is $2.8 million more than what the House proposed in April. Montigny worked with Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues to ensure New Bedford would receive the highest funding possible.

Montigny also said that Governor Baker approved close to $1.2 million he helped secured in the FY20 budget for New Bedford to provide funding to increase local children’s access to arts, culture, and recreation; youth violence prevention; peer support and mental health services for police; workforce training; and opioid treatment programs.

“New Bedford’s economic resurgence and cultural renaissance has opened up tremendous resources and opportunities to experience the city’s unique plethora of arts, culture, and history,” Montigny said. “Our mission in this year’s budget is very simple: provide New Bedford kids with access to local arts, culture, and recreation regardless of socio-economic status. I cannot thank our local partners enough and look forward to another successful year.”

Youth development and access to arts, culture, and recreation is a major priority in Montigny’s allocations, continuing his years of legislative work to lead the local arts and cultural renaissance. The Senator renewed his Children’s Equality and Empowerment Fund to provide $500,000 in grants to local organizations seeking to provide innovative access to arts, culture, and recreation for area youth. He also allocated $80,000 to Dennison Memorial Community Center to provide programs for financially disadvantaged youth in New Bedford. Montigny also wrote a provision to ensure the South Coast Youth Court continues to operate through a $100,000 earmark. Montigny also delivered funding to the New Bedford Girl’s STEAM Design Academy, working alongside Representative Chris Hendricks (D-New Bedford).

Public health and safety priorities also ranked high in this year’s agenda. Montigny delivered $175,000 to the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center so primary care services can provide medication treatment for opioid use disorders. Montigny also ensured the Women’s Center can continue to expand access to its safe dates and domestic violence workshops at local schools. Finally, the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLEC) will receive $100,000 to continue to provide area law enforcement officers with much-needed peer support, mental health counseling, and residential treatment services following traumatic incidents.

BCC receives $200K for offshore wind training

Offshore wind training programs just got a boost in the SouthCoast. Vineyard Wind and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, on behalf of the Baker-Polito administration, announced six recipients of offshore wind workplace training grants at a news conference on Friday.

Recipients of the over $720,0000 in grants included Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, UMass Amherst, Adult Continuing Education- Martha’s Vineyard, and Pile Drivers and Divers Local 56 trade union.

“As we prepare for the construction and installation of offshore wind projects, these grants will help establish a network of critical training programs in the Commonwealth to support local workers as they build this new frontier for American energy,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement.

Speakers at the city’s Marine Commerce Terminal included politicians and representatives from MassCEC and Vineyard Wind, whose speeches all touched on their desire to make Massachusetts the epicenter of the offshore wind industry.

“This is an effort that started a while ago,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike, “and the entire focus of Mass CEC over the last 10 years in terms of offshore wind is to ensure that we make New Bedford, Fall River, Somerset, and the Cape and the islands really the focal point for the industry in the United States.”

New Bedford High School graduation rate climbs to new high

NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford High School’s 2018 four-year cohort graduation rate has increased to 76 percent, the highest in 12 years, based on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s recent reporting on statewide graduation rates.

The 2017 four-year cohort graduation rate was 72 percent; the low was 61.4 percent in 2010, according to a news release.

“The entire staff is focused on preparing every one of our students for graduation, ready for college and other opportunities,” said Headmaster Bernadette Coelho in a statement. “I’m proud of our hardworking students and staff; it is because of their determination and diligence that we continue to see larger and larger graduating classes. It can only happen if every student matters, and as I’ve said before, we know that with a plan, every student can and will succeed.”

The state tracks an “individual cohort,” or group of students from the initial entrance into ninth grade through to graduation. For New Bedford High, the cohort consisted of 217 students, according to DESE.

The 2018 four-year cohort graduation rate for Massachusetts public high schools was 87.8 percent, a slight decrease from 88.3 percent for the 2017 cohort, according to DESE.

NBHS English Language Learners had the highest increase from 30.6 percent in 2017 to 53.5 percent in 2018, according to the release.

“This remarkable progress is a direct correlation to the recent budget investments made in our students’ future,” Superintendent Thomas Anderson said in a statement. “This reflects the dedication to the overall teaching and learning process that is supported long before students enter high school. This progress is something that all staff can and should be proud of, from the Pre-K teachers to every staff member in the high school.”

Anderson also expressed his appreciation to the willingness of all staff to work with students to provide opportunities for them to be successful.

Voc-Tech investments pair needs of students, industry

Posted Mar 18, 2019 at 7:57 PM

BOSTON — Lawmakers, a former top Baker administration and city manager, and a one-time lieutenant governor joined advocates Monday to call for an increase in funding for vocational-technical education and passage of a bill to expand access to those programs.

The Alliance for Vocational Technical Education said that 20 percent of Massachusetts high school students are enrolled in a career and technical education (CTE) program, but that 3,200 students across the state are on waiting lists to get into such programs, which focus on career training.

Massachusetts Competitive Partnership CEO Jay Ash said the business leaders he talks to “all have the same thing to say” when he asks them about the future of their business and the state’s economy.

“It’s not about taxes, it’s not about regulations. It’s about workforce,” said Ash, the former state economic development secretary. “We are in a great period of time here in the commonwealth where we have more people working than ever before … and yet employers large and small throughout the commonwealth are saying the same thing: ‘We need more employees, we need more trained employees, we need more of the natural resource that is Massachusetts to fuel our business and support the economy as it continues to expand.’”

The alliance — which is made up of business groups, educational organizations, and civic groups — is pressing for increased Chapter 70 and Chapter 74 local aid for schools with CTE programs, and for the passage of HD 3279, a bill which the alliance said would support the expansion of CTE programs and direct the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to appoint a deputy commissioner for CTE.

“The goals align,” Ash said. “Businesses, desperate for employees, and students and parents who see vocational education as a way of moving themselves into higher-earning, better quality jobs that are as exciting as any around the commonwealth.”

Tim Murray, the former lieutenant governor and current CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the lobby day is “an opportunity to make the case to key decision makers about the urgent need to eliminate the waiting list across the state of students looking to attend our vocational-technical and agricultural schools.”

Murray also got to be the bearer of good news as he kicked off Monday morning’s advocacy day.

“Word has come from the administration that one of the items that the Alliance for Voc Tech Education has been advocating for, which is $1 million for funding to continue our planning and implementation grants for dual collaborations … that there’s a million dollars in funding planned for that in the upcoming year,” he told the assembled school administrators and advocates.

The $1 million in funding is expected to come via the federal Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, and DESE said the grants are intended to “support regional and local partnerships to expand existing and/or develop new CTE programs and initiatives that increase student access to CTE opportunities, primarily through more effective use and integration of existing capacity and resources.”

The grant funding will be used, advocates said, to expand partnerships between traditional high schools and vocational schools in an attempt to serve some of the kids currently waiting to get into a CTE program.

Sen. Eric Lesser, the Senate chair of the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee, said vocational education gives students a pathway to middle-class jobs in fields like precision manufacturing and carpentry.

He told the story of his grandfather, a tool and die maker who learned his trade in the U.S. Merchant Marine and was able to raise a family on the wage he earned. Lesser said there are thousands of jobs available right now in the fields of precision and high-tech manufacturing, and said funding vocational education is “one of the most cost-effective ways for us to create jobs right now, locally.”

“In Western Mass. in particular, we have seen an absolute renaissance in advanced manufacturing and precision machining … They’re all fueled by our CTE schools, by our vocational and our technical education,” he said.

Lesser ticked off a half-dozen companies in and around his district that have been making strides in advanced manufacturing — and that will need scores of highly-skilled and trained workers.

“The reason those companies have been based here, the reason why they are growing here is because we have a CTE and (vocational education) system that is the envy of the entire country,” he said. “We also know that when you have a good thing you often need more of it, and there is now a massive waitlist of thousands and thousands of students across Massachusetts … who are desperate to get into these programs.”

Gov. Baker offers 7-year, $1 billion education plan

Posted Jan 23, 2019 at 3:11 PM

BOSTON — A seven-year education funding reform plan Gov. Charlie Baker is filing Wednesday would increase K-12 school funding by more than $1 billion, phasing in new money to address special education, employee health care, and the costs of educating low-income students and English language learners.

The bulk of Baker’s proposal, which he is filing with his fiscal 2020 budget, addresses what’s known as the foundation budget, the minimum amount of state and municipal money a community must spend on its schools. The foundation budget is determined by a formula and varies based on district demographics.

The plan comes more than three years after a state Foundation Budget Review Commission, in September 2015, reported that the current formula underestimates the cost of education by $1 billion to $2 billion a year by inadequately accounting for four major cost drivers.

Baker is proposing increases in spending for each of those four areas — health care, special education, low-income students and English language learners.

His fiscal 2020 budget will include more than $200 million in new Chapter 70 state education aid. Education Secretary James Peyser said money will be targeted to communities that need it most, with 85 percent of the increase next year going to high-need districts.

‘Collaboration is the answer’: Alma’s expansion plans approved

Posted Jan 22, 2019 at 8:37 AM

MALDEN — Alma del Mar leader Will Gardner and New Bedford Superintendent Thomas Anderson sat side by side before the Board of the Elementary and Secondary Education Tuesday morning, awaiting a vote on their new collaboration revealed last week.

“Seeing the two school leaders sitting next to each other with this sort of tone and this sort of uniting mindset is going to be one of the finest visual memories I’m going to have in my time serving on this board,” said member Michael Moriarty of Holyoke.

The board approved two motions for Alma del Mar Charter School. First, the board granted Alma 450 additional seats for K-8, under a few conditions including a memorandum of understanding and necessary legislation, allowing the collaboration with the city to move forward.

Last Monday, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley recommended that Alma del Mar expand to a second site that the city owns but isn’t using; officials have said the site will be the former Kempton School, serving 450 students. Under this plan, the city is set to redistrict, including Alma’s second campus, where some students will be assigned instead of going through the typical lottery.

If that plan doesn’t work under the collaboration, then Alma would be granted 594 seats, half of its original request.

Member Mary Ann Stewart of Lexington voted no on both motions, while member Ed Doherty of Boston abstained from the first motion and voted no on the second.

Stewart said that the board heard from the Massachusetts Teachers Association at the meeting and received a letter from State Rep. Chris Hendricks in opposition. She also noted challenges with funding in K-12 education and the 2016 vote against expanding charter schools.

“We should not have any new approvals of charter schools,” she said.

Doherty, who served as president of the Boston Teachers Union for 20 years, according to the state education department website, told The Standard-Times that in general, he’s philosophically opposed to the expansion of charter schools. He noted his vote isn’t reflective positively or negatively on what the school does.

He said the amount of money that’s taken away from public schools for charter schools is a major educational problem, especially for students in low income communities.

After the votes passed, Gardner told The Standard-Times that Alma is “laser focused” on opening the new school, hopefully at the former Kempton School, in August to serve 200 new students in kindergarten, first, second and sixth grades.

“We’re hopeful about the agreement between Alma and the city and the commissioner,” Gardner said. “We have some serious work to do in the weeks ahead.”

Anderson told the board he believes that Alma del Mar leaders share a similar focus and the partnership opportunity clarifies that understanding. “My focus is to forge ahead as collaborative partners to serve the best interest of students,” he said.

The MOU needs to be taken care of within 45 days of the letter of intent being signed and it needs to be approved by Riley. Alma del Mar needs to submit a draft enrollment policy as soon as possible that reflects the negotiated integrated enrollment process with the city district and the proposed growth plan. That, too, will need Riley’s approval.

Under the conditions, Alma should promptly and effectively communicate with the education department regarding significant matters relevant to the suitability and readiness of the new campus.

“By agreeing to the establishment of a 450 student, neighborhood-based charter school, the city will have avoided the significantly higher costs of the alternate proposal of nearly 600 students in a choice-based school,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said in a statement. “It is a much fairer way to do charter schools – fairer to the city, fairer to taxpayers and fairer to students in our district schools. Until state law is fixed to account for the enormous expense of charter school expansion on local taxpayers, the New Bedford approach will lead to a better result for cities facing new charter applications.”

After two parents of Alma del Mar students spoke in favor of the school’s plans, a couple of education attorneys from the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, a subsidiary of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, said they provide direct representation to low income families in education matters and work closely with family and community members in New Bedford.

They said they were at the meeting to raise ongoing concerns about Alma’s current ability to serve high-needs students, which should be considered in discussions on expansions. They also acknowledged apparent high in-school and out-of-school suspension rates, particularly for students with disabilities.

Elizabeth Levitan, an attorney with the Youth Advocacy Foundation and Law Project, spoke on behalf of a group of attorneys and advocates from across the Commonwealth working to advocate for school discipline reform. Charter schools remain among the highest suspending schools in the state, she said. She encouraged the commissioner and the board to consider suspension rates on charter renewals and expansions, such as with Alma. She asked for a condition on the expansion of Alma on improvement of disciplinary practices to better serve students.

Parent Kristin Raffa has a 6-year-old daughter at Alma and a 9-year-old son at Pulaski Elementary, the same school she attended as a child.

“My daughter is that student that opponents would have you believe gets counseled out of the charter school programs,” she told the board. Her daughter has an extensive IEP, she said, has been embraced by Alma’s high-support model and is “thriving in her own unique little way.”

Gardner said the school is building a culture team around student support including a social emotional specialist, adding professional development around trauma-informed instruction, partnering with outside groups along with hiring a social worker to provide additional counseling.

Members of the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools were in the packed audience, including co-chair Ricardo Rosa. After the meeting, he noted that this type of partnership could be used as a model for other cities and towns. “That tells us where we’re going,” he said. He said most of the board comes from communities that are drastically different from New Bedford, which is “problematic” and they should visit the city.

Member Margaret McKenna, president emeritus of Lesley University, said, “Collaboration is the answer for kids, not fighting each other.”

Follow Aimee Chiavaroli on Twitter @AimeeC_SCT.

Original story here.

Opinion – Your View: Excellence in all schools requires reforms to funding and approach

Posted Jan 22, 2019 at 7:27 PM

In the not too distant future, nearly every kind of work that we do will be affected, in some cases dramatically, by technology and automation. While we will need new ways to think about higher education and workforce training as critical tools to meet this challenge, it actually all begins with the elementary and secondary public education system.

Across the country, those individuals with higher education and skill levels are doing better than ever, and those without are being left further behind. As automation begins to have a greater influence on nearly all of the workplaces of America, it will be far too easy for cities such as New Bedford to fall off the pace. This global change in the world of work can offer great opportunity for our citizens and we must be unflinching in taking full, and perhaps unexpected, advantage.

The recent partnership agreement between the city of New Bedford and the Alma Del Mar Public Charter School is just the kind of bold thinking needed to meet the challenges ahead.

But while such collaborations should be celebrated, alone they will not get us where we need to be. The fact is that the funding of public schools in the commonwealth does not meet the needs of ever-increasing disadvantaged populations, and these populations are notably concentrated in the cities and urban centers.

The Chapter 70 foundation formula was certainly groundbreaking 25 years ago, but the Foundation Budget Review Committee stated in their 2015 report that there have been gradual but ever increasing shortcomings in meeting the true costs of funding English language learners, those with special needs, transportation, health care and professional development for teachers, and the everyday classroom and facility needs of the school buildings where they spend their days. It is now at a point of true crisis, resulting in different schooling types (public, vocational, and charter) fighting each other for scarce dollars while cities struggle with tax increases just to meet the minimum state mandated investment thresholds.

All the while students, their families, and all taxpayers suffer.

The stresses are now too great on too many municipalities. Now is the time to fix the 1993 foundation formula, and there appears to be a tangible willingness of our elected leaders to do just that.

There is sponsored legislation (the Education PROMISE Act) in the State Senate and Governor Baker stated in his second inaugural address just weeks ago that such reforms would be included in his new budget. This is a generational opportunity and will not be easily accomplished.

Let us altogether support our own delegation, the governor, and all of the many stakeholders who will advocate on Beacon Hill in what will be serious debate on how best to achieve reform, while balancing all of the other needs of the commonwealth. And with increased resources, let us support measures that keep accountability at all levels, for all school types, at the highest national standards. Our representatives must have our support in fighting for the full funding of all local and regional district needs for cities such as New Bedford, as well as the full reimbursement of charter school relocations within the current cap set by the commonwealth.

However, our efforts cannot end with the reform of Chapter 70, since additional funding alone will not get us to where we need to be, and recent successes in our public schools remain desperately fragile. We must be champions of excellence and strive for a complete and comprehensive system of schools that can meet the needs of all students, their families, and the employers of the region.

Such a system will provide New Bedford with competitive advantage when parents, employers and developers are looking for communities to invest or locate. All school types (public, vocational, charter, parochial, and private) must be part of this system and all should work in a collaborative and purposeful construct with excellence as the mission for all. Achievements cannot come at the expense of any one of the different school types and we must come together to eliminate the feeling that one is taking from the other in achieving high results in performance.

We are writing with enthusiasm on this topic on behalf of The Regeneration Project of the New Bedford Economic Development Council — a collaborative platform that represents 37 community, institutional, and business leaders who are committed to shaping, advocating for, and tangibly advancing strategies for sustainable and shared growth for the City of New Bedford and the region.

We understand the interrelationship of a successful system of public schools with economic growth and in 2017 published a white paper on this issue, Raising the Bar: Better New Bedford Public Schools Will Lead to a Stronger Economy.

This issue has been at the forefront of our thinking again this past year as a foundational element expressed in our full report, Realizing the Potential, released at the MassINC annual gateway cities gathering held in New Bedford. We are fully committed to the need for significant improvement of all the schools in New Bedford and to the success of the more than 13,000 schoolchildren being educated in our city.

We all want the same successes. We must all be in this together.

Gerry Kavanaugh and Anthony Sapienza are the co-chairs of the Regeneration Project of the New Bedford Economic Development Council. Kavanaugh is president of LStar Investments and LStar Ventures. Sapienza is president of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.


Rick Kidder
President & CEO
SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce

Nicholas Christ
President and CEO
BayCoast Bank

Keith Hovan
President and CEO
SouthCoast Health System

Dr. Laura Douglas
President
Bristol Community College

Maureen Sylvia Armstrong
President, CEO and owner
Sylvia Group Insurance

Patrick Murray
President and CEO
Bristol County Savings Bank

David Slutz
Managing Director
Potentia Holdings

Elizabeth Isherwood
Chairman
Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation

Helena DaSilva Hughes
Executive Director
Immigrants’ Assistance Center

Christopher Rezendes
Founder and President
INEX Advisors

David Martin
President
Heat Transfer Products

Anne Broholm
CEO
AHEAD, LLC

Quentin Ricciardi
CEO
Acorn Management

Jeff Glassman
President
Darnit! Inc.

David Wechsler
President and CEO
Maritime International

Jennifer Downing
Executive Director
Leadership SouthCoast

Joseph Nauman
Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal (retired)
Acushnet Company

John Vasconcellos
President
Community Foundation of Southeastern Mass.

Bob Unger
Past Chairman, Leadership SouthCoast
Principal, Unger LeBlanc Strategic Communications

Rosemary Gill
Executive Director
Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

Adam Cove
CEO
Edson International

Scott Dubois
Co-Founder
Pidalia

James O’Brien
Superintendent
GNB Regional Vocational Technical High School

Sarah Athanas
Co-Founder
Groundwork!

Amanda McMullen
President and CEO
New Bedford Whaling Museum

Jim McKeag
Senior Fellow

MassDevelopment issues $132M bond for UMD project

MassDevelopment has issued a $132,185,000 tax-exempt bond to help build, furnish and equip a five-story, 306,900-square-foot residence hall at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The new facility, which will house approximately 1,210, mostly first-year students, will include a dining hall and space for student activities and academic support. The residence hall will replace an existing dormitory, built in the 1970s, which the university will demolish once the new facility is opened.

The bond was issued on behalf of Provident Commonwealth Education Resources II Inc., a public-private partnership, according to a news release.

PCER is a nonprofit corporation created by Provident Resources Group Inc., the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, and Greystar GEDR Development LLC. PCER will enter into a long-term ground lease with UMBA for the land on which the building will be located, and will finance, construct, own, and operate the dormitory. The university will participate in the management and operation of the dormitory through its participation on the Project Operations Committee and through its residential life programs. Once PCER’s ground lease expires, ownership will revert to UMBA for the benefit of UMD.

“Our students will benefit from these investments in quality living and learning facilities that will prepare them to succeed in a rapidly changing, highly competitive global economy,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson in a statement. “When combined with our first-rate faculty, these facilities will guarantee our students the private college educational experience and public university value they so deserve.”

Community Foundation awards nearly $700K in grants

By The Standard-Times
Posted Dec 17, 2018 at 2:09 PM
Updated Dec 17, 2018 at 5:58 PM

NEW BEDFORD — The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts announced Monday that 15 of its funds granted a total of $691,000 to dozens of local nonprofit organizations and public schools in a flurry of year-end awards.

Among the awardees were the Carlos Pacheco Elementary School and Irwin M. Jacobs Elementary School, which each received a grant of $48,000 to support enrichment and instructional resources from the Community Foundation’s Jacobs Family Donor Advised Fund, according to a news release.

Global Learning Charter Public School also received $80,000 to support curriculum development and technology needs. Awards also included $25,000 for the Buttonwood Park Zoo’s Nature Connection Education Center and the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra’s Learning In Concert program, which also received $25,000.

“The Community Foundation is proud to be the partner of choice for creating philanthropic impact in the SouthCoast region,” said Community Foundation President John Vasconcellos in a statement.

“From the support of deserving scholars in their pursuit of higher education to building the foundational elements of academic success for children at local elementary schools and youth-serving agencies, our work with engaged donors such as the Jacobs Family is bringing change to our community,” Vasconcellos said, “and these timely, year end grants also recognize the important work being done by several trusted and innovative nonprofit organizations in those areas that matter to the donor but also resonate for our community: arts and culture, the environment, economic opportunity, and health and human services.”

Joining the Jacobs Family Donor Advised Fund in making year-end grant awards from the Community Foundation was the Acushnet Foundation Fund, which granted over $85,000 to 10 SouthCoast nonprofits including $30,000 to public health initiatives, as well as the Henry H. Crapo Foundation Fund, which made over $90,000 in awards, including a $50,000 grant to the Buzzards Bay Coalition in support of their effort to help protect 150 acres of coastal farm land.

Other notable grants included an award of $10,000 to PACE Inc. from the Bank Five Foundation Fund to support the construction of a playground, and a total of $12,500 granted by the Lipsky-Whittaker Fund to Coastline Elderly Services Inc. and the Southcoast LGBTQ Network Inc. for programs that advance equality for, support and awareness of the LGBTQ community.

The MacLean Children’s Fund granted $12,000 to Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in support of its mentoring program, with yet other Community Foundation funds making grants to the Sippican Historical Society for a statue of Elizabeth Taber and to the Town of Marion to support property tax relief for residents in need, according to the release.

Original story here.