Urban League of Springfield, Gr. Boston Food Bank Get Funds

June 21, 2020 — The Urban League of Springfield, which advocates for African Americans in Greater Springfield and promotes racial inclusion, and the Greater Boston Food Bank, which distributes food through 550 agencies in eastern Massachusetts, recently received $697,408 to support their work in the wake of nationwide demonstrations for racial justice and the coronavirus pandemic.

Urban League of Springfield Gets $500K to Support African American Community

The Urban League of Springfield, based in Springfield, recently received an unsolicited donation of $500,000 from the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The donation, reported by MassLive.com, will support the Black community through scholarships and upgrades to Camp Atwater, a residential summer camp in North Brookfield for boys and girls, 8 – 15 years old. The camp will offer virtual sessions this summer.

Henry M. Thomas, president of the Urban League of Springfield, was quoted saying the unsolicited funding represents an investment in the community.

“They contacted us and said they wanted to invest in organizations that are uplifting the community and improving equity and reducing racial tensions,” Thomas said.

He added, “If more companies weigh in and ask the simple questions—‘What can I do to help improve the circumstance of chronic inequities that negatively impact livelihood?'—MassMutual is demonstrating what can be done. In return we get a stronger and more vibrant community because you have corporations and nonprofits working together to make it happen.”

The news outlet reported that Roger Crandall, chairman, president and CEO of MassMutual, said "the company selected the Urban League of Springfield for its investments in education and economic development in the Black community."

The contribution comes in the wake of more than three weeks of nationwide protest, calling for equal justice for African Americans following the killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis.

The Urban League of Springfield is an affiliate of the national Urban League Movement, which is comprised of the National Urban League and 90 affiliates, serving 300 communities in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Greater Boston Food Bank Gets $197K to Provide Food and Other Essentials

Raytheon Technologies recently announced it donated $197,408 to the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), based in Boston, to help address a dramatic increased need for food assistance in eastern Massachusetts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The need for food assistance in Eastern Massachusetts reportedly has by 59% as a result of the pandemic, according to Feeding America, a national network of food banks.

Catherine D’Amato, president and CEO at GBFB, noted, “Prior to COVID-19, one in 13 people in Eastern Massachusetts struggled with hunger, including one in 11 children. Due to the pandemic, we have seen a dramatic increase in food insecurity with one in 8 people projected to experience hunger in 2020 and one in six children now projected to be living in a food insecure home in our region. We are very grateful to Raytheon Technologies for stepping up to help provide meals to people who struggle to put food on their tables.”

“The impact of COVID-19 on our communities has been swift and unprecedented,” said Greg Hayes, CEO of Raytheon Technologies. “The communities where our employees live and work are in need, and it’s our responsibility to support our friends and neighbors during this crisis.”

According to GBFB, before the COVID-19 crisis, Massachusetts was considered the most expensive state in the country in terms of the cost of a meal ($3.63). Eastern Massachusetts, GBFB’s service area, has the highest food costs in the state at $3.84 per meal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationally the price of groceries grew 2.6% in April 2020, the biggest increase from one month to the next since 1974, which will put more pressure on people who are already food insecure.

In addition, applications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, has risen 360% since the pandemic began, according to GBFB.