In 2021, The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation paid a total of $1,192,150 in grants to nonprofit organizations at work in Lowell, Massachusetts, and pledged a total of $530,000 for payment in 2022. Some grants are listed below with the complete list available on the Foundation’s website. All grants follow the 1944 will of Theodore Edson Parker to support vulnerable and underserved Lowell residents.
Human services grants represented 64 percent of the foundation’s giving – a total of $736,000 to support vulnerable Lowellians. These grants respond to the continuing need to combat COVID-19 impacts. For example, a $100,000 grant to Community Teamwork helps residents ineligible for government aid for fuel/heating, food, and housing.
The Foundation’s Equity & Inclusion Initiative—now in its fifth year—is devoted to improving equity and inclusion within the Foundation, amongst its grantees, and in the larger Lowell community.
Grants to organizations led by people of color and those that benefit immigrant/refugee communities and communities of color accounted for more than 30 percent of the grants portfolio. Funded projects include:
- a large-scale start-up support grant to Fortaleza, a new Latinx education advocacy organization
- capital support grants to the Center for Hope and Healing and the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers to renovate their new buildings
- a capacity-building grant to a coalition of Lowell-based agencies (Lowell Votes, Coalition for a Better Acre, Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, Latinx Community Center for Empowerment, the Merrimack Valley Project, the Lowell Alliance as well as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights) for voter education efforts related to the City of Lowell’s conversion to a district-based municipal electoral system
- a grant for Afghan evacuee resettlement services to the International Institute of New England
Capital grants totaled $403,500, including a first-year $100,000 grant to Acre Family Day Care to purchase a permanent home in downtown Lowell to support family childcare businesses.
The Foundation is managed by its four trustees: Karen Carpenter (President), David W. Donahue, Jr. (Treasurer), Sophy Theam (Secretary), and Luis Pedroso (Trustee). The foundation’s former president, Newell Flather, passed away in 2021 after 40-years of service as chair; a commemorative news article can be found here. The Foundation also works with three Lowell-based advisors: Benjamin Opara, Maria Cunha, and Vladimir Saldana. Staffing is provided by GMA Foundations, a philanthropic advisory firm that helps private foundations and other donors increase their impact and efficiency.