December 13, 2019
Two Nonprofits Get $1M to Aid Education, Survivor Support

October 10, 2019 — Two Boston area nonprofits recently received grants to advance their work – one in Boston that creates educational and economic opportunity for underserved populations was awarded $700,000, while the other in Framingham that supports survivors of human trafficking received $330,027.

JFF Receives $700,000 to Promote Early College High Schools in Massachusetts

JFF, formerly known as Jobs for the Future, which seeks to advance education and career pathways leading for people struggling to succeed in today’s economy, recently announced that it received a $700,000 grant from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation to support the growing movement for early college high schools in Massachusetts.

The three-year grant will help accelerate the development of early college schools in Massachusetts, provide proof points to show their effectiveness, and improve educational and career outcomes for students. The initiative will promote early college efforts in Boston, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Salem, and the MetroWest region.

JFF will foster best practices for early college high schools by leading an inclusive learning community made up of eight community colleges and state colleges that are partnered with 13 high schools.

According to JFF, over the past 15 years, early college high schools across the country have been shown to increase high school graduation and college success rates. Early college high school provide students with an opportunity to earn a significant number of college credits within a career-focused pathway while still in high school. They reduce both the cost and the time it takes for students to earn postsecondary credentials and enter in-demand careers.

"Early college schools can be especially powerful for young people from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in higher education. This includes students of color, first-generation college students, English language learners, and students from low-income communities," JFF noted.

Ready.Inspire.Act. Gets $330K to Support Survivors of Human Trafficking

Ready.Inspire.Act. (RIA House), a Framingham nonprofit that provides a range of community-based services for women and all survivors of human trafficking, recently received a $330,027 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to support its ongoing work.

The grant will help RIA House provide a range of services, including therapy, peer support, and care coordination to survivors, while increasing awareness in the community to better identify and respond to survivors.

“RIA House’s service model is grounded in a trauma-informed approach; they understand the experience of survivors and meet them where they are," said U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (MA-5), who announced the grant. "With this infusion of resources, RIA House will be able to expand its existing services and reach more people in need of support. I’m so grateful for the work they do and that we can support them in this way.”

“RIA House is committed to standing with and supporting women as they recover and heal from sexual exploitation, trafficking and prostitution,” said RIA House Founder and Executive Director Heather Wightman. “We provide vital clinical and peer mentorship services, as well as groups and advocacy. We accompany women in the journey of their lives. With this DOJ grant, we will expand our peer mentorship services across the state.”

RIA House was established in 2014, and two years later opened its first office in the MetroWest area.

The organization employs a model of accompaniment, which uses a survivor-engaged, clinical team approach, with small caseloads and the capacity to provide mobile support across all levels of care. Its team members have extensive complex trauma training and receive ongoing clinical supervision.

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