AROUND THE VALLEY
Lawrence General Hospital Awarded Cummings Foundation Grant
Lawrence General Hospital announced it has been awarded a $100,000 grant over the next three years through the Cummings Foundation’s $20 Million Grant Program. The grant will help the hospital fund its community efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death and one of the major underlying health conditions leading to higher risk of death from COVID-19.
The Foundation and its volunteers first identified 130 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners are first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that have previously received Cummings Foundation grants.
This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 40 different cities and towns, and most will receive their grants over two to five years.
The complete list of 130 grant winners is available here.
Baker-Polito Administration Initiates Transition to Step Two of Phase II
The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan will begin on Monday, June 22 allowing additional industries to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines.
Businesses and sectors set to begin operating in Step Two of Phase II are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards.
The following will be eligible to reopen in Step Two of Phase II on Monday, June 22:
• Indoor table service at restaurants
• Close-contact personal services (skin care, hair, makeup and more), with restrictions
• Retail dressing rooms, by appointment only
• Offices, at 50% capacity
Below, find a list of guidance and safety protocols issued by the Baker-Polito Administration:
• Guidance for Restaurants
• Guidance for Close-Contact Personal Services
• Guidance for Other Industries
• Guidance for Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed
Full list and safety protocols can be found here.
Step Two will not go into effect in Lawrence until June 29, according to an executive order issued on Friday by Mayor Dan Rivera and the City of Lawrence Board of Health. “This week’s state-wide data shows that Lawrence continues to be a hot spot for coronavirus, we cannot make the mistake of underestimating this virus,” said Rivera. “The fact remains that Lawrence is still behind the curve in terms of combating the virus. Continuing on this cautious, delayed reopening approach allows for more testing and another week for numbers to improve before we, as a community, move on to phase 2 part 2.”
UMass Lowell Volunteers Make, Deliver Face Coverings to Community Organizations
Community organizations throughout the Merrimack Valley are receiving donations of face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, thanks to a UMass Lowell volunteer initiative to make and distribute the personal protective equipment.
The Face Coverings for the Community Campaign has enlisted volunteers including UMass Lowell students, staff, alumni and others to produce the items. The effort has already provided close to 4,000 face masks for more than 15 community service organizations throughout the region, including the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell, Lowell Community Health Center, Lowell Senior Center and L’Arche Boston North in Haverhill.
Greater Lowell Community Foundation/Lowell High School Scholarship Program Awards More Than $557,000 to 277 Seniors
On June 15, 2020, as part of the 2020 Lowell High School Virtual Honor Awards Night more than $557,000 was awarded to 277 graduating seniors at Lowell High School.
From recent refugees arriving from war-torn countries to families who have lived in Lowell for generations, the scholarship recipients reflected the diversity of the city. Nearly half of this year’s 317 applicants will be the first in their family to attend college.
Through the foresight of these donors, and the Community Foundation’s stewardship of these funds, the scholarship endowment at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation now totals $6.8 million.
YWCA 37th Annual Tribute to Women Set to Go Virtual Live
The 37th Annual YWCA Tribute to Women awards luncheon held each year at he Andover Country Club has been reimagined as a virtual live stream event on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. Join via this link as the YWCA presents 22 outstanding women from the Merrimack Valley.
These women come from various backgrounds and serve their community on boards of directors, committees and advisory boards. State Rep. Tram Nguyen will be featured as the event Mistress of Ceremonies. All money raised from the evening will benefit the 26 YWCA programs serving more than 15,000 women, children and families throughout Merrimack Valley, New Hampshire and the North Shore.
Care Dimensions Celebrates Hospice Nursing Assistants
Care Dimensions, celebrates National Nursing Assistant Week (June 18-25) by recognizing its 165 hospice aides, including Jeanne Puffer of Andover — for the outstanding, compassionate care they provide patients at end of life.
“During this response to COVID-19, our hospice aides have gone above and beyond to continue to provide care to patients in their homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living communities. They have been on the front lines in the community, providing critical care and helping patients and families feel less alone and isolated,” said Care Dimensions President and CEO Patricia Ahern.
UMass Scaling Up Online Education With New Partner
The University of Massachusetts will partner with a California-based university system to scale up its online educational programs with the goal of serving more adult learners.
The partnership between UMass Online and Brandman University is expected to be finalized later this year. UMass officials said they are still working through its details.
The move comes amid the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and UMass officials said millions of adults in Massachusetts and across the country will need “flexible, high-quality and affordable online education alternatives” as they seek to recover from economic dislocation.
One Fund Lawrence Will Distribute 100% of Donations to Lawrence Residents
United Way has established the fund and will distribute 100% of donations to Lawrence community organizations. The organizations will then distribute donations directly to families who do not qualify for other types of assistance, such as unemployment. Families will receive a gift card they can use to purchase food and other supplies. Partners include The Center, Lawrence CommunityWorks, Groundwork Lawrence, ACT Lawrence and Greater Lawrence Community Action Council.
You can read more about the fund here.
Greater Lowell Community Foundation Continues Support of Local Nonprofits during COVID-19 Pandemic
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced that it has granted an additional $282,000 in emergency funds to community nonprofits since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This rapid response funding has been directed to nonprofits providing crucial assistance to the most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, low-income and homeless in Greater Lowell.
The following nine nonprofits receiving grants in the latest round of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund are:
• Alternative House: to alleviate stresses on victims of domestic violence due to COVID-19, especially those residing in confidential emergency shelters and in high-risk community-based households
• Budget Buddies Inc.: to provide emergency basic needs for low-income women and girls
• Catie’s Closet Inc.: to purchase and distribute toiletry items and feminine hygiene items at school-based emergency food sites
• Greater Lowell Health Alliance: to provide PPE for those working with underserved populations and assistance in coordination of food pantry delivery services
• Life Connection Center Inc.: to provide meals and other supports for people living in homelessness and poverty during COVID-19
• Lifelinks Inc.: to provide hazard pay for frontline staff, program nurses, and managers who provide direct, hands-on care to people with disabilities
• Lowell General Hospital: to support new staff position required for screening staff and visitors to the hospital to ensure safe protocols and PPE distribution
• Middlesex Community College Foundation Inc.: to address food insecurity and basic needs for community college students
• UTEC Inc.: to support youths working in UTEC Food Enterprises’ kitchen operations to prepare meals to be delivered to those in need in Greater Lowell.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Senior Makes Prom Dress to Reflect COVID-19, Commemorates Essential Workers
For a scholarship contest, Jillian Stallar, a recent graduate from Newburyport High School, constructed a duct tape prom dress to commemorate essential workers and heroes who have been serving the community during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As I was told my own senior prom would be canceled, I felt inspired to dive into my own type of quarantine project,” said Stallar. I wanted to create a prom dress that reflects the global situation and struggles we are currently in. This dress is not only a sort of memorial to the lost proms this year, but a monument to the essential workers and heroes which battle this pandemic every day.”
The outfit, which consist of a dress, tiara, sash and corsage, was meticulously planned, with each component serving as a symbolic representation of what we have all experienced in the midst of COVID-19.