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January 18, 2021
Peace Development Fund, MASS Design Group Awarded $1.8M

December 27, 2020 — The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation last week announced it awarded $1,850,000 to two Massachusetts nonprofits— the Peace Development Fund in Amherst and the MASS Design Group in Boston—to help “fortify infrastructure and reimagined programming in higher education, the arts, and culture.”

The grants were part of a package of $228 million awarded to 186 grantees nationwide that support the arts and humanities, bolster higher education, and shore up cultural organizations devastated by the economic fallout out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Nonprofits across the nation have been whipsawed by the interconnected crises of a global pandemic, a major economic downturn, and the alarming effects of racial injustice," the foundation said in a statement. "The foundation's grantmaking will help fortify infrastructure and reimagined programming in higher education, the arts, and culture."

The Peace Development Fund, a grant maker that works to advance economically and environmentally sustainable communities, was awarded a three-year, $1,330,000 grant to support a multipronged effort to center the knowledge and languages of marginalized communities on the Internet.

Established in 1981, the fund has provided more than $32 million in program services to organizations across the U.S. and internationally. During its 2019-2020 grantmaking cycle, it awarded $3 million for a broad range of purposes, including anti-war organizing, economic justice and development, media justice, women’s, indigenous, and human rights, international solidarity, and criminal justice.

MASS Design Group, which works to expand access to design that is “purposeful, healing, and hopeful,” was awarded a two-year, $500,000 grant to support the development of the Public Memory and Memorial Lab.

The organization promotes the notion of participatory design to foster truth-telling, commemoration, and healing. Among projects it has worked on include The National Memorial for Peace and Justice In Montgomery, Ala., the first national memorial to victims of lynching in the United States.

This year, MASS Design Group, building on its experience designing spaces and retrofitting existing buildings to promote infection control, formed a COVID-19 Design Response team, to respond to share strategies and rules of thumb to keep in mind when retrofitting different types of spaces for infection control.

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