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July 9, 2020
Pushing for Better Pay; Free Legal, Consulting Support; In Memoriam

June 9, 2020 — Nonprofit leaders press for better compensation safeguards. Free legal support available for western Massachusetts nonprofits. Mass. nonprofits invited to apply for free consulting support. Deb Dillon Pearce remembered.

Nonprofit Leaders Press for Better Compensation Safeguards

Two organizations representing thousands of frontline nonprofit workers in Massachusetts during the last week issued appeals to the state legislature to improve compensation safeguards.

The Providers’ Council, based in Framingham, which represents 200 nonprofit organizations, last week submitted testimony in support of a bill that proposes assisting nonprofits to provide for COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

In addition, yesterday, Seven Hills Foundation & Affiliates, a Worcester-based nonprofit, integrated health and human services organization that operates 160 site in Massachusetts and Rhode Island employing 4,600 professionals, called on the governors of both to make permanent the enhanced funding for Human Services Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) that was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and is slated to end later this month.

Noting that many Providers' Council members self-insure for unemployment insurance (UI), Michael Weekes, Council president and CEO, said, “These human service agencies, which serve clients on behalf of the Commonwealth on purchase-of-service contracts, simply do not have revenue to be able to pay for the UI claims that occurred only due to the response required by a global pandemic. The funds to pay reasonable wages or support programming will need to be reallocated to pay claims.”

“The time is right to create a permanent living wage for our DSPs, thereby decreasing turnover, improving care and providing peace of mind to the individuals and families we are honored to support,” said David A. Jordan, president of Seven Hills Foundation & Affiliates. “We must acknowledge that it is not right to pay a substandard wage to people, including some with advanced degrees, who enable the individuals we serve to thrive.”

Free Legal Support Available for Western Massachusetts Nonprofits

The COVID Relief Coalition, recently formed by law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies to provide free legal support to help nonprofits and businesses in Greater Boston access emergency loans and other sources of relief in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, recently announced it has expanded to serve western Massachusetts.

Members of the law department of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and Western New England University School of Law’s Center for Social Justice, which recently joined the coalition, will provide legal guidance to help small businesses and nonprofits understand the requirements to receive and, if eligible, access loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Plan. as well as identify other potential sources of relief in the western part of the state, primarily in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties.

Organizations seeking assistance should click here.

Mass. Nonprofits Invited to Apply for Free Consulting Support

The Highland Street Foundation (HSF), in Newton, recently issued a request for proposals from Massachusetts nonprofits for free consulting aimed at positioning them for growth and sustainability.

HSF pairs consultants, through its Community Impact Consulting program, with nonprofits for six months to address issues such as fundraising/ development planning, strategic plan development, stakeholder engagement, strategic communications/public relations, marketing/branding, board development and governance, and accounting and financial planning.

To be eligible, organizations must be based in Massachusetts, be a 501(c)(3), and have an operating budget between $500,000 and $4 million. The consulting engagements will run from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.

Deadline to apply: June 18. Details.

Deb Dillon Pearce, 70, COO of Scleroderma Foundation

Deb Dillon Pearce

Deborah Dillon Pearce, a well-known figure in the Massachusetts nonprofit world, and most recently chief operating officer of the Scleroderma Foundation, a national nonprofit based in Danvers, died on May 27.

"Deb was much loved in the nonprofit world – by many within nonprofit organizations and the philanthropic community. This is a big loss to many," said Jack Armitage, who recently retired after serving as director of the foundation's New England chapter, based in Topsfield, for the last 10 years.

Prior to joining the foundation in 2016, Pearce served as director of development for Screening for Mental Health in Wellesley, and, previously, as vice president and director of nonprofit services at Cambridge Appleton Trust. Earlier, she was New England philanthropic market director for the Bank of America and state charitable manager for Fleet Bank.

Pearce served as the first female president of the Essex County Estate Planning Council and as a judge for the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. She also served on the boards of the Cape Ann Symphony, Gloucester Female Charitable Association, and Annisquam Village Church Sunday School.

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