Grant Opportunities

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 225 funds including the Discretionary Fund, the Polaroid and Acushnet Foundation Funds, and our 65 Scholarship Funds. Please take a look at our Current Requests for Proposals for specific grant opportunities.

Acushnet Foundation Fund
Dartmouth Education Foundation Fund
Endowment for Southeastern Massachusetts
Hawthorn Medical Associates Charitable Fund
Lipsky-Whittaker Fund
New Bedford Education Foundation Fund
Old Rochester Tri-Town Education Foundation
Polaroid
Scholarship Funds
Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEAL)
Westport Education Foundation Fund
Other Advised Funds

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.

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 awarding a total of $20,000 in grants this year in its first cycle of funding. Four $5,000 grants will be awarded to organizations that demonstrate community need in several areas, including child abuse prevention and treatment; homelessness services; soup kitchens; veterans services; and victims of domestic violence. 

Established in 1970, Hawthorn Medical, the largest multi-specialty medical group practice in the New Bedford area, joined forces with the Steward Health Care System in 2012. 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 (March and September) 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. This year's appolication was due on March 31.

New Bedford Education Foundation Fund

NBEF grants provide financial support to Educators, the New Bedford School District and regional non-profit organizations that create exceptional and transforming educational opportunities for New Bedford Public School students. NBEF offers 4 Grant Programs that are detailed on their website. All grant funding awarded through the Foundation must benefit students in the New Bedford Public Schools and must align with NBEF's mission of furthering educational opportunities in the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and/or the disciplines of Arts and World Languages.

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, about $100,000 has been made available each year for programs addressing workforce development programs, with an emphasis on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), and General Education Development (GED) classes, as well as family literacy programs that integrate early literacy programming for children birth to three years old with ABE/ESOL and parenting courses.

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 and is the longest-running program fund of the Community Foundation. In the past, 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).

Scholarship Funds

With rising tuition costs, it is more and more difficult for students and their families to pay for a college education.  The Community Foundation's scholarships represent our donors' appreciable understanding of the role education plays in building a better community.   The Foundation is pleased to help fulfill donors' wishes as well as to increase the opportunities for students in Southeastern Massachusetts to pursue a higher education.  Some of the scholarship recipients are chosen by the fund's donors, some by schools, and others by the Community Foundation Scholarship Committee. Please visit our Scholarship Page for information about individual scholarships.

Westport Education Foundation Fund

The Foundation promotes and enhances educational excellence by providing independent funding that would not typically be covered by the school budget for worthy educational projects, enrichment programs, and other educational initiatives beyond the standard curriculum. For more information and an online grant application, visit the Westport Education Foundation website.

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 Lauren Maher Patrick or call 508-996-8253 extension 202.