BOSTON, Mass., April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Third Sector New England (TSNE) today awarded a series of grants to seven Massachusetts and Rhode Island-based networks to accelerate their commitments toward ending poverty in the region. The grants, made through TSNE's Inclusion Initiative program, will support the multi-sector networks in building a collaborative community of groups who will target their collective efforts at systemic issues that perpetuate economic inequality in the communities of color where they operate.
"The Inclusion Initiative grants are guided by the belief that when nonprofits, businesses, schools, civic organizations and government agencies work together and collaborate it enhances the potential for collective, lasting impact on the root causes of poverty," says Jonathan Spack, Executive Director, Third Sector New England.
Inclusion Initiative grants are awarded in two stages with the first group of seven networks receiving a $28,500 grant to plan their initiative and design their network. In the second round, up to five networks will be awarded a larger implementation grants. In the first round of grants, networks were selected on their plans to address the root causes of poverty in one or more of five main areas including education, healthcare, environmental justice, community and economic development, and youth development.
"It has been 50 years since we first declared the 'war on poverty' and income inequality and poverty has continued to be persistent especially in communities of color," says Ayeesha Lane, Program Manager, Inclusion Initiative. "These grants are targeted to help close the gap and to move the needle on creating more just social systems that support racial and economic equity."
Third Sector New England has awarded funding and provided technical assistance to networks of nonprofit for the past decade. This type of grant making -- multi-year funds to networks of groups -- presents what Third Sector New England believes to be a more effective alternative to the conventional way of making grants which are typically one-year awards to individual organizations working separately on similar issues.
"This grant will enhance our ability to continue reaching men of color in the barbershop setting and encouraging them to become active stakeholders in their own health," says Brenda Jenkins, contributor to the Barbershop Health Network in Worcester, Mass. "Communities of color disproportionately comprise poverty stricken areas and the work funded by grants such as the Inclusion Initiative are imperative to restoring equity to the pervasive income inequality, health disparities, and other social justice issues that impact the population we work with."
"This grant will give us the opportunity to engage youth from communities of color to comprehensively analyze the causes of poverty in our city," says Frank Ramirez, contributor to the Immigrant Youth Solidarity Initiative in Boston, Mass. "The network will be able to pinpoint concrete ways in which the different sectors in the city can act to ensure poor Bostonians have the resources they need to help themselves develop and contribute to the wealth of the community."
The following networks received grant funding:
The Barbershop Health Network - Worcester, Mass.
$28,500 to improve population health by employing community members to promote health resources in the community.
P.O.W.E.R. Network (People Owning Wider Economic Resources) - Central Falls, R.I.
$28,500 to incubate and provide ongoing support to a diversity of worker owned co-operative businesses.
Immigrant Youth Leadership and Solidarity Initiative - Boston, Mass.
$28,500 to cultivate immigrant youth leadership structures and activities that continually promotes immigrant youth leadership.
Standing Together to End Poverty and Undo Profiling (STEP UP Network) - Providence, R.I.
$28,500 to build a solid infrastructure led by communities most affected by racial profiling toward shifting the debate on racial profiling in Rhode Island.
Roxbury Food Justice Hub - Roxbury, Mass.
$28,500 to develop the Roxbury Food Justice Hub as both a physical space and a network of collaborative partners.
Mattapan United - Mattapan, Mass.
$28,500 to improve the quality of life in Mattapan for all residents, focusing on the structural issues that impact poverty.
Boston Tenant Coalition - Boston, Mass.
$28,500 to form community led democratic structures outside of the traditional authorities in Boston Public Housing.
About Third Sector New England
Since its founding in 1959, Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org) has focused on building the knowledge, power and effectiveness of nonprofits, so they can better help communities leverage resources, solve problems, identify opportunities – and thrive. We use innovative models and strategies in our work to support organizations committed to social change.
SOURCE Third Sector New England