Retirement, Volunteers, Layoffs, Property Rehab, Grants Available

March 27, 2018 — Long-time ED of Charles River Watershed Association to retire...United Way of Central Massachusetts launches volunteer management platform...Merger of nonprofit colleges leads to layoffs...Town of Weymouth seeks nonprofit to rehabilitate historic property... Nonprofits invited to apply for grants.

Long-Time ED of Charles River Watershed Association to Retire

Bob Zimmerman, who for the last 28 years served as executive director of the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), a nonprofit based in Weston that works to protect, preserve, and enhance the Charles River and its watershed, recently announced he will retire this summer.

During Zimmerman's tenure, CRWA initiated groundbreaking ecosystem analyses and land-planning studies, helped reform land and water regulation, developed restorative technologies, and won major battles to restore and protect the Charles and its parklands.

“The nature of people’s appreciation of the river has changed,” Zimmerman was recently quoted in The Boston Globe. “When I came to Boston, the Charles was still 'that Dirty Water.’ Nobody wanted to get near it. Now, everybody wants to get near it.”

For the year ending Sept. 30, 2016, CRWA reported $2.6 million in revenue, all of which came from contributions and grants, and $1.3 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

United Way of Central Massachusetts Launches Volunteer Management Platform

United Way of Central Massachusetts in Worcester announced that it has launched an online platform aimed at helping nonprofits in central Massachusetts to recruit volunteers.

The initiative was developed, in part, in advance of National Volunteer Week, set for April 15-21.

The volunteer application, called Hands On Connect, provides access to training and opportunities to collaborate with other organizations. It also enables volunteers to scan opportunities with nonprofits.

"My hope is that everyone will see this as another benefit that our United Way of Central Massachusetts brings to everyone in the community, and that everyone will use it," said Tim Garvin, president and CEO of United Way of Central Massachusetts.

Merger of Nonprofit Colleges Leads to Layoffs

The merger of Wheelock College in Boston with Boston University (BU) will result in the layoff of more than half of Wheelock's faculty and staff, BU announced last week.

Seventy-two Wheelock staff members and 39 full- and part-time faculty members will be laid off. BU said it has offered jobs to 87 Wheelock faculty and staff, which includes, all tenured faculty members. Since the merger announcement last October, BU said it has hired six Wheelock employees.

The merger, which becomes effective June 1, followed Wheelock’s determination that its declining financial position would not allow it to remain an independent, stand-alone institution and the best path forward was to forge a strategic partnership with another institution of higher education. The merger will combine Wheelock with BU’s School of Education.

“We have been anticipating this point even before the merger was announced,” said David Chard, Wheelock president. “Losing talented staff and faculty is very difficult, particularly in a tight-knit, mission-driven community like Wheelock.”

Weymouth Seeks Nonprofit to Rehabilitate Historic Property

The Town of Weymouth said it is seeking a nonprofit organization to rehabilitate a historic, three-story mansion for use as a cultural center or other public use.

The 115-year-old Emery family estate, modeled after George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Virginia, is currently undergoing a $1.7 million upgrade, according to a report in The Patriot Ledger. The town decided to make the property available to a nonprofit after researching similar situations elsewhere and concluding that communities have had success with nonprofits taking responsibility for historic properties and running venues and cultural centers.

Nick Bulens, the town’s administrative services coordinator, said the town could grant a 30-year lease, or possibly longer, to allow a nonprofit to earn a return on its investment, the paper noted.

Greater Worcester Community Foundation Accepting Applications

The Greater Worcester Community Foundation recently announced it is accepting applications from nonprofits serving the Worcester area for its Creative Spark Grant Program.

The foundation may fund up to 10 Spark projects, awarding grants ranging from $500 to $7,500.

The grants are intended to “spark” more connections with and expressions by diverse community voices. Funds will be used to support new efforts in amplifying these voices and presence within the creative sector. Proposals may include, but are not limited to, cultural events, exhibits or installations, and special performances or performance series.

A prospective applicant orientation will be held April 5 at 4:00 pm at the foundation 370 Main St., Ste. 650, Worcester

Mass. Nonprofits Invited to Apply for Capacity Building Grants

The Berkshire Bank Foundation recently announced a new grant program that will award nine grants of $5,000 each to Massachusetts nonprofits to help them build organizational capacity.

Project examples include but are not limited to the development of a communications strategy, improving program design, improving volunteer recruitment, improving corporate partnerships, technology enhancements, professional development, and conference attendance.

Grants will be awarded to one nonprofit located in or directly providing services in communities in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester, Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk Counties.

For more information, email to

Foundation for MetroWest Seeking Proposals to Address Hunger Relief

The Foundation for MetroWest, based Natick, recently issued a request for proposals from nonprofits to address hunger as a regional, systemic problem.

Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be awarded to support the purchase of food, cover general operations for nonprofits that work to eliminate hunger and provide food security to MetroWest residents, or for small capital and technology-based improvement projects. Last year, the founded granted 160,000 to agencies that range from food pantries and on-site feeding programs to food recovery organizations and farms that donate a significant portion of crops to hunger relief organizations.

Deadline to apply: May 4. Details