The Community Foundation strives to ensure that our grant making effectively meets donors' charitable interests and addresses the community's changing needs. We view our grants as investments in the community that should be made wisely and fairly. The Community Foundation awards grants through 144 funds including the Discretionary Fund, the Polaroid and Acushnet Foundation Funds, the Women's Fund, the YES Fund, and our 55 Scholarship Funds. Please take a look at our Current Requests for Proposals for specific grant opportunities.

Acushnet Foundation Fund

The Acushnet Foundation has been quietly supporting a long list of charitable and nonprofit groups in Greater New Bedford for decades. It became a committee-advised fund of the Community Foundation in 2005. In addition its support of charitable organizations, the Acushnet Foundation teamed up with the Polaroid Fund in 2007 to offer additional funds for Early Literacy programs. The Acushnet Foundation Fund has awarded up to $25,000 each year for the past three years for family literacy projects that integrate early literacy programming for children from birth to three years old with ESOL and parenting courses.

Dartmouth Education Fund

The Dartmouth Education Foundation was founded as a Community Foundation fund in 2007 by a group of parents and citizens concerned with the consequences of decreased public funding on the quality of education in the town’s public schools. The Foundation was formed to ensure enhanced and enriched education opportunities for students in Dartmouth. The Foundation awards annual mini-grants for innovative programs and projects that would not otherwise be available in the town’s public schools. For more information about the Dartmouth Education Foundation (opens new window).

Endowment for Southeastern Massachusetts

This is a discretionary fund with potential to award grants for projects that improve and enhance the quality of life in Southeastern Massachusetts. The funds can be used for:

  • Seed grants (e.g., start-up money for new projects or programs)
  • Maintenance grants (e.g., ongoing core services, operating support)
  • Capacity building (e.g., technical assistance grants to help organizations become stronger, not program funding)
  • Emergency needs (e.g., community emergencies, unforeseen issues)
  • Change agent (e.g., working for systemic changes, prevention not just intervention.

The Community Foundation currently does not have any discretionary funds available.

Hawthorn Medical Associates Charitable Fund

The Hawthorn Medical Associates Charitable Fund is awards annual grants to help meet the region's basic needs. In October 2014, Hawthorn awarded five grants totaling $23,000 to regional programs serving women and children in need.

Established in 1970, Hawthorn Medical is the largest multi-specialty medical group practice in the New Bedford area and an affiliate of Partners Community Healthcare, Inc. The half-million charitable fund was created as an endowed fund of the Community Foundation.

Lipsky-Whittaker Fund

The Lipsky-Whittaker Fund of the Community Foundation awards semi-annual grants to support projects focused on either gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth or HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment. Founded by the John J. Lipsky Charitable Trust, the Fund believes strongly in making strategic investments for the well-being of the Greater New Bedford Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBT) community and in combating HIV/AIDS through prevention and education. Projects must be focused within the following geographic area: Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, Wareham, and Westport.

Old Rochester Tri-Town Education Foundation

This Education Foundation, also known as the Lighthouse Fund, was launched in 2007 to create a significant endowment from private donations and grants to enhance and enrich the educational experience of students in Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester public schools. The Lighthouse Fund awards annual mini-grants for innovative projects that would not otherwise be available in the towns’ public schools.

Polaroid Fund

In 2006, the Community Foundation began managing the New Bedford area grant program of the Polaroid Fund through a contract with The Boston Foundation. Starting in 2007, up to $100,000 has been made available each year for programs addressing workforce development programs, with an emphasis on advocacy and capacity building, as well as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), and General Education Development (GED) classes.

Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEAL)

SEEAL, whose mission is to support its partners' capacity to provide quality environmental education and stewardship in our region, was launched in 1997 as a program of the Community Foundation. Over the past two years, SEEAL has made grants under “Sustainable New Bedford,” a two-year project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, and its “Climate Change Challenge,” a one-year project funded by a private foundation. For more information visit SEEAL's website (opens new window).

The Women's Fund

The Women's Fund Action Awards are small bi-annual grants (maximum $5,000) to help an individual or group fulfill their potential. These awards fully reflect The Women’s Fund mission, which is to support and empower girls and women in Southeastern Massachusetts. Nominations for recipients of Action Awards come from local agencies and schools. Awards reflect the Fund's area of focus, education, health, violence prevention, civil and reproductive freedom, advocacy, leadership development, and economic independence. Visit the Women's Fund website(opens new window).

 Y.E.S. (Youth Entitled to Success) Fund

The Community Foundation makes discretionary grants from time to time from the YES Fund for drug abuse awareness, education and prevention programs focusing specifically on youth in the Greater New Bedford area.

Scholarship Funds

Please visit our scholarship page for more information.

Grants Made From Other Advised Funds

Donors may recommend that grants be made from the income of their fund for non-profit purposes. While tax law requires that CFSEMA not be bound by the donor's suggestion, the Distribution Committee is pleased to have the opportunity to consider grants to recommended beneficiaries whose needs are consistent with its distribution policies. For more information on grants from Donor Advised Funds, contact Craig Dutra at 508-996-8253 extension 201.