November 17, 2017
 
United Way of Hampshire Co. Grants $810K to 16 Nonprofits

June 1, 2017 —United Way of Hampshire County, based in Northampton, this week announced that it has awarded $810,000 in grants to 16 area programs and organizations aimed at improving the financial stability of Hampshire County residents.

“Whether addressing the needs of our neighbors in crisis or those working to stay on their feet, we believe that all Hampshire County residents should have resources to turn to when facing economic challenges,” explained Jim Ayres, executive director of United Way of Hampshire County. “These include supports related to food, shelter, job-skills, permanent housing, language education, legal assistance, and financial literacy.

Awards were determined after a six-month process that involved listening to feedback from experts in the field; gathering and reviewing regional trend and economic data; and working to ensure that funds would address immediate needs and invest in long-term, strategic change.

“In making these decisions, our process looked at many issues, including the strength of individual applications, the geographic balance of our investment as well as the balance of programs and types of interventions,” said Ayres. “We want to ensure balance and diversity on many fronts.”

Receiving the grants were the following:
  • Amherst Survival Center, Amherst: $105,000
  • Casa Latina, Amherst and Northampton: $60,000
  • Center for New Americans, Amherst and Northampton: $45,000
  • CHD Supportive Housing Program, Northampton: $60,000
  • Community Action, Countywide: $45,000
  • Community Legal Aid, Countywide: $60,000
  • Craig’s Doors, Amherst: $45,000
  • Easthampton Community Center, Easthampton: $45,000
  • Foodbank of Western Massachusetts, Countywide: $22,500
  • Hilltown CDC, Hilltowns: $30,000
  • International Language Institute, Northampton: $30,000
  • It Takes a Village, Hilltowns: $15,000
  • Northampton Survival Center, Northampton: $105,000
  • Quaboag Hills Community Coalition, Ware: $7,500
  • ServiceNet Interfaith Shelter, Northampton: $90,000
  • Valley CDC, Easthampton and Northampton: $45,000
Grants for It Takes a Village and the Quaboag Hills Community Coalition were described as capacity building grants, while the others are considered core economic security grants.

According to the United Way, for many people in Hampshire County "economic hardship can result in having to make difficult choices. Whether to pay the rent or buy food, staying on public assistance or trying to access resources to get a better job and earn more income, sleeping on the street or in a shelter that accepts you and offers help, gaining skills that will result in one’s ability to sustain a solid economic footing."

Hampshire County, which is home to 2.4% of the state's population, has a median household income of $61,398, compared to $70,628 statewide, according to Data USA.

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