Published in the Lowell Sun, Thursday, April 23, 2020
Lowell Sun Wednesday, 1 April 2020
By Elizabeth Dobbins
edobbins@ lowellsun. com
As the coronavirus pandemic impacts the paychecks of many in the Greater Lowell area — and rent and mortgage payments come due — officials are asking how to keep people housed.
“ Making rent in the coming months is going to be a big concern,” said Lowell City Councilor John Drinkwater.
Last week, Drinkwater made a motion asking the City Council to support a Statehouse bill placing a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the current emergency. Councilors unanimously voted in favor.
“ I think it’s a good motion and a very timely motion,” said Councilor William Samaras.
The bill proposed by state Rep. Mike Connolly, D- Cambridge, and state Rep. Kevin Honan, DBrighton, was referred to a committee on housing on Monday. The bill accompanies a mid-March court order, which suspended most eviction proceedings in the state until April 21.
“ In many ways it’s the same proposal,” said Democratic state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D- Acton, who is supportive of the bill. “ It was filed before the courts took action.”
Mike Weinhold is the supervisory attorney for Northeast Legal Aid, a nonprofit that represents low- income clients in Lowell and other areas. He said even with the new court order, navigating the eviction process still poses challenges for tenants, who very rarely have legal representation.
For example, he said the courts are notifying tenants of eviction proceedings and, in initial communications, provide court dates that do not reflect the stay on evictions, resulting in inaccurate dates.
“ They’re going to think they’re going to have to go to court in the middle of the outbreak,” he said.
With the courts almost entirely closed to in- person proceedings, he said it’s harder for people to connect with legal aid. Usually “ lawyers for the day” are set up at a table in the court to offer services to those who qualify.
Eldridge said the legislation also addresses the issue of foreclosures, providing some relief for people who own their own properties, including landlords who may not be collecting as much rent to pay mortgages.
“ Certainly we need to take action there,” he said.
Not all are fans of the proposal. On March 19, Executive Director of MassLandlords. net Doug Quattrochi wrote a 10- point rebuttal. He argued against the stringency of the penalties landlords could face and instead called for an extension of the court order if necessary and establishment of an emergency basic income.
President of the Greater Lowell Landlord Association Dick MacDonald said last week that he isn’t sure what actions are needed.
Many people, including landlords with other jobs, are out of work, he said. The federal Department of Labor reported 147,995 nonseasonally adjusted advance unemployment claims in Massachusetts for the week ending on March 21, a nearly 20 fold increase over the previous week.
“ It would be helpful if tenants were able to get some funds to help pay their rent,” MacDonald said.
He said the situation will be challenging for both landlords and tenants.
“ What would be helpful is if this thing would be over with,” he said.
Eldridge said he is sympathetic to the challenges facing smaller property owners, but larger property owners likely have the capital to forgo full collection of rent. Financial assistance to residents from the state or federal government could help, he said.
Lowell Mayor John Leahy, who supported Drinkwater’s motion, said banks could alleviate some of the strain if mortgage holders were able to extend their mortgage and delay payments in the wake of the crisis.
Still, eventually, everyone needs to pay their mortgage or rent, he said.
“ Fair is fair,” Leahy said. “ Everybody has to take a little bit of responsibility on this.”
Drinkwater said he believes the eviction issue isn’t just about housing, but also supporting small businesses, many of which owe rent during this period even as revenues plummet.
The pandemic also raises challenges for homeless shelters where people are often living in close quarters, he said. The city can work with institutions to provide types of housing that limit the spread of COVID-19 better than the traditional shelter, like dorms, according to Drinkwater.
Organizers at Lowell nonprofit Community Teamwork Inc. — which provides a variety of services from meals to fuel and rental assistance — said they are already seeing the impact of this crisis on people contacting their office.
“ The impact is really profound for so many of our clients who are facing job loss and all those other impacts that we all know about,” said Connie Martin, division director of energy and community resources.
Martin said the agency has seen an uptick of people who need food and housing support. Last week, CTI received $ 1 million in additional funding from the state to provide short- term financial assistance for people at risk of becoming homeless.
“I think that’s going to be what allows us to keep people housed once the courts open ( and owe) that back rent,” Martin said. “ Landlords are going to look to being made whole.”
Though the CTI offices are closed, staff members are still available by email or phone, including at 978- 654- 5607 and C o v i d R e s p o n s e C T I @ c o m mteam. org, according to CTI Director of Development and Marketing Kathleen Plath.
“ We’re not going to capture every need, but we want people to know we are open,” Plath said. “ We’re open for business and we’re basically taking care of our client’s needs in a different format.”
Plath is also the owner of two restaurants: Cobblestones in Lowell and Moonstones in Chelmsford. When dine- in services around the state closed, she said she had to lay off over 75 employees.
“A lot of them we are sending them to resources like Community Teamwork,” she said. “ We set up our own emergency fund with what we had and what we’re able to provide just to help them out. And the first two people who asked us to help was to help with rent.”
As a business owner, she believes local government could help ease the burden on businesses through tax abatements. Like tenants who have lost their jobs, the business will not make up this lost revenue even after they reopen for dining- in, she said.
“As we know it’s a chain,” Plath said. “ It’s a cascading effect. It’s going to hurt everyone.”
At this time, information about COVID-19 is rapidly evolving as new details are confirmed and new questions emerge. In the event of an outbreak in your community, as a parent/caregiver, your first concern is about how to protect and take care of your children and family. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties. This resource will help you think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect your family—both physically and emotionally—and what you can do to help your family cope.
What You Should Know
- Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus; this means it is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
- COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that is mainly spread person-to-person. Currently, there is no available vaccine or curative treatment, so the best preventative strategy is to avoid exposure.
- So far, children appear to be much less affected by COVID-19, which was also seen after other coronavirus outbreaks.
- Children with pre-existing illnesses may have different risk, so you should discuss this with your child’s medical team.
- To reduce the spread of the virus, a variety of approaches will be used, including keeping those who are sick away from others and promoting healthy hygiene strategies. Additional recommendations for ways to contain the virus’s spread could include canceling of events that attract large numbers of people; closing schools, public transit or businesses; and required quarantine, which is the separation and restriction of movement of people who might have been exposed to the virus.
Preparing your Family for a Potential Infectious Disease Outbreak
- Being prepared is one of the best ways to lessen the impact of an infectious disease outbreak like COVID-19 on your family. Here are some steps that you can take to be better prepared:
Information & Communication
- Identify how you will keep up with the rapidly changing information on COVID-19.
- In rapidly changing health events and outbreaks such as COVID-19, there can be large amounts of incorrect or partially correct information that can add to your stress and confusion as a parent/caregiver. Identify a few trusted sources of health information.
The NCTSN relied on the CDC resources to create this document. Get the most up-to-date and accurate information at:
CDC: information on children and COVID 2019: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html and https://healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/ 2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx
Plan how you want to discuss COVID-19 with your family. Be sure to include:
- What the current disease outbreak is
- How it is contracted
- What are the possible dangers
- Protective steps being taken in the community/nation/global community
- Protective steps everyone in the family can take
- Hold your family discussion in a comfortable place and encourage family members to ask questions. Consider having a separate discussion with young children in order to use language they can understand and to address specific fears or misconceptions they may have.
- Create a list of community resources that will be helpful during an outbreak. Make sure you know their emergency telephone numbers, websites, and official social media accounts. These may include: your family’s schools, doctors, public health authorities, social services, community mental health center, and crisis hotlines.
- Develop a plan for maintaining contact with friends and family members via telephone and internet in the event that isolation or quarantine is recommended.
- Check in with your children’s school about potential homeschool and distance learning opportunities that may be offered during a school closure. Also, if your child receives additional services at school, ask how these will be handled during a closure (e.g., meals, therapeutic services).
Reducing Your Family’s Risk: Hygiene, Medical Care & Supplies
Have all family members practice preventive behaviors including:
- Regularly washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water (length of the A-B-C song) or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when sick.
- Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or with the bend/crook of the arm when coughing or sneezing.
Keep basic health supplies on hand (e.g., soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, and a thermometer).
Make sure you have a supply of medications taken regularly.
If your child takes medication for a chronic condition, talk with your child’s medical provider about plans to get a supply at home that will last through any period of home isolation for your family.
Have your family work together to gather items that might be needed during an outbreak. These include drinking water, nonperishable food, and cash. Be sure to include activities, books, and games for children in case a lengthy time at home is recommended. Remember to include batteries in your item list if those are needed for certain activities and games.
Coping with the Stress of an Infectious Disease Outbreak like COVID-19
Even if your family is prepared, an outbreak can be very stressful. To help your family cope with this stress, following these recommendations can help:
Information & Communication
- Keep updated about what is happening with the outbreak and additional recommendations by getting information from credible media outlets, local public health authorities, and updates from public health websites (e.g., CDC).
- Seek support and continued connections from friends and family by talking to them on the telephone, texting, or communicating through email or social media. Schools may have additional ways to stay in contact with educators and classmates.
- Although you need to stay informed, minimize exposure to media outlets or social media that might promote fear or panic. Be particularly aware of (and limit) how much media coverage or social media time your children are exposed to about the outbreak.
- E-mail and texting may be the best ways to stay in contact with others during an outbreak, as the Internet may have the most sensational media coverage and may be spreading rumors. Check in regularly with your children about what they have viewed on the Internet and clarify any misinformation.
- Focus on supporting children by encouraging questions and helping them understand the current situation.
- Talk about their feelings and validate these Help them express their feelings through drawing or other activities
- Clarify misinformation or misunderstandings about how the virus is spread and that not every respiratory disease is COVID-19
- Provide comfort and a bit of extra patience
- Check back in with your children on a regular basis or when the situation changes
NOTE: During an outbreak, stigma and rejection can occur against individuals who live in affected communities, against health-care workers, and individuals with other illnesses.
Scheduling & Activities
- Even if your family is isolated or quarantined, realize this will be temporary.
- Keep your family’s schedule consistent when it comes to bedtimes, meals, and exercise.
- Make time to do things at home that have made you and your family feel better in other stressful situations, such as reading, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, exercising, or engaging in religious activities (prayer, participating in services on the Internet).
- Have children participate in distance learning opportunities that may be offered by their schools or other institutions/organizations.
- Recognize that feelings such as loneliness, boredom, fear of contracting disease, anxiety, stress, and panic are normal reactions to a stressful situation such as a disease outbreak.
- Help your family engage in fun and meaningful activities consistent with your family and cultural values.
Hygiene & Medical Care
- Find ways to encourage proper hygiene and health promoting behavior with your children (create drawings to remember family routines; sing a song for length needed to wash hands like the A-B-C or Happy Birthday song, twice). Include them in household jobs or activities so they feel a sense of accomplishment. Provide praise and encouragement for engaging in household jobs and good hygiene.
- Reassure your children that you will take them to the pediatrician and get medical care if needed. Explain, however, that not every cough or sneeze means that they or others have COVID-19.
Self Care & Coping
- Modify your daily activities to meet the current reality of the situation and focus on what you can accomplish.
- Shift expectations and priorities to focus more on what gives you meaning, purpose, or fulfillment.
- Give yourself small breaks from the stress of the situation.
- Attempt to control self-defeating statements and replace them with more helpful thoughts. Here’s a helpful checklist for identifying unhealthy thoughts and coping with them: https://arfamiliesfirst.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Cognitive-Distortions.pdf.
- Remember, you are a role model for your children. How you handle this stressful situation can affect how your children manage their worries.
- If your family has experienced a serious illness or the death of a loved one, find ways to support each other, including: Reach out to your friends and family, talking to them about the death of your loved one. Use telephone, email, or social media to communicate if necessary.
- Find ways to honor the death of your loved one. Some activities may be done as a family, while additional activities may done individually.
- Seek religious/spiritual help or professional counseling for support. This may be available online or by telephone during an outbreak.
Helping Children Cope
Your children may respond differently to an outbreak depending on their age. Below are some reactions according to age group and the best ways you can respond:
Age Group- Preschool:
- Fear of being alone, bad dreams
- Speech difficulties
- Loss of bladder/bowel control, constipation, bed-wetting
- Change in appetite
- Increased temper tantrums, whining, or clinging behaviors
- How to help
- Patience and tolerance
- Provide reassurance (verbal and physical)
- Encourage expression through play, reenactment, story-telling
- Allow short-term changes in sleep arrangements
- Plan calming, comforting activities before bedtime
- Maintain regular family routines
- Avoid media exposure
School-Age (ages 6-12):
- Irritability, whining, aggressive behavior
- Clinging, nightmares
- Sleep/appetite disturbance
- Physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches
- Withdrawal from peers, loss of interest
- Competition for parents’ attention
- Forgetfulness about chores and new information learned at school
- How to help
- Patience, tolerance, and reassurance
- Play sessions and staying in touch with friends through telephone and Internet
- Regular exercise and stretching
- Engage in educational activities (workbooks, educational games)
- Participate in structured household chores
- Set gentle but firm limits
- Discuss the current outbreak and encourage questions. Include what is being done in the family and community
- Encourage expression through play and conversation
- Help family create ideas for enhancing health promotion behaviors and maintaining family routines
- Limit media exposure, talking about what they have seen/heard including at school
- Address any stigma or discrimination occurring and clarify misinformation
Adolescent (ages 13-18):
- Physical symptoms (headaches, rashes, etc.)
- Sleep/appetite disturbance
- Agitation or decrease in energy, apathy
- Ignoring health promotion behaviors
- Isolating from peers and loved ones
- Concerns about stigma and injustices
- Avoiding/cutting school
- How to help
- Patience, tolerance, and reassurance
- Encourage continuation of routines
- Encourage discussion of outbreak experience with peers, family (but do not force)
- Stay in touch with friends through telephone, Internet, video games
- Participate in family routines, including chores, supporting younger siblings, and planning strategies to enhance health promotion behaviors
- Limit media exposure, talking about what they have seen/heard including at school
- Discuss and address stigma, prejudice and potential injustices occurring during
Seeking Additional Help
If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with the outbreak and want to seek outside help, there are ways to get that help. For example:
- Get support regarding your anxiety or stress by speaking to a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUS 66746.
- Contact your physician or your insurance company (if they have a consultation line) to ask health-related questions or to seek mental health support.
- Learn more ways to help your family. Additional resources can be accessed at: NCTSN.org www.healthychildren.org www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html
m e r r i m a c k v a l l e y m a g a z i n e March | April 2020
text and photos by Deborah A. Venuti
When Nathan Timm was 9 years old, he and his twin brother, Nick, were recommended to be matched with mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell (now Mill City Mentors). Their living situation at the time, according to Nate, was “not the best.” Originally from the Lowell-Dracut area, the boys lacked positive male role models. They often went without food or proper clothing. Nate was matched with a big brother named Tim, who saw the void at home and strove to fill in the gaps in his life. Tim helped provide clothes and food. He made sure the brothers had lunch money for school and introduced them to his own family. He spent time with them, took them places and encouraged them to be their best.
Eventually, the lives of the two brothers improved. A family friend took them into her home. With the support of Tim and his family, the boys completed high school and were accepted into colleges. Nate graduated from Fitchburg State University in 2014 with a degree in business management and is currently a systems analyst. Nick graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2015 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and Southern New Hampshire University in 2018 with an MBA.
Mill City Mentors (MCM) is a mentoring program of Community Teamwork in Lowell. Formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell, th e nonprofit organization was rebranded last year. It is designed to assist youths in 17 Greater Lowell communities: Ashby, Ayer, Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton , Lowell, Pelham , Pepperell, Shirley, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro and Westford.
MCM serves about 40 families a year and focuses on children and young adults ages 7 to 22. These individuals are at-risk, facing adversity and in need of support. They often have behavioral issues or are homeless. They can be referred to the program by families, support agencies, school principals or guidance counselors. Recently, MCM has begun moving from traditional referrals to site-based school programs. This change allows mentors to be accessible on-site once a week and to engage with more children of different ages and genders.
Ed Banks, the program coordinator for Mill City Mentors, joined the MCM team in May 2019. Ed connects youths with mentors, and also acts as mentor-match support. Mill City Mentors is partially funded and supported by Mass Mentoring Partnership and the United Way. In 2019, the Mass Mentoring Partnership gave MCM the opportunity to have an AmeriCorps ambassador of mentoring, Kyle Cregg, on-site. Cregg works with Banks and Bridget Quinn, the director of volunteer services, on marketing, rebranding and fundraising.
Nate, now 26, has been involved with the organization for,- 7 years and is a mentor himself. Nick is also involved with MCM and is a member of the charity golf fundraising committee. Rather than spending money on the individuals they are assisting, mentors are instead encouraged to give their time. Nate and Josh, the boy he is mentoring, go bowling, play at the arcades, take their dogs to the dog park, or just hang out at home and play video games. Nate often sees his longtime big brother, Tim, for breakfast. Josh’s mother sent mvm a photo of Tim, Nate and Josh , a legacy of support and empowerment.
Mentors are everyday people who want to have fun and make a difference in the life of a child or young adult.
For information on how to become a mentor or how to refer an individual from Greater Lowell, go to CommTeam.org/millcitymentors
or email Bridget Quinn at
page 20 m a r c h I a p r i l 2 0 2 0 m er r i m ac k v a l l e y m a g a z i n e
GLOUCESTER — Community Teamwork’s YouthBuild of Greater Lowell Program received a Skills Capital Grant in the amount of $182,572. This will allow YouthBuild’s Culinary Arts vocational program to purchase a catering van and expand the program by 50 percent and improve the quality of its program for at-risk youth who participate.
A successful Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant requires strong partnership with both area employers and the workforce development system. YouthBuild Lowell was strongly supported in its’ application for this grant by two of its Employer partners, Aramark, which operates kitchens and food services for UMass Lowell, Tewksbury Hospital, and the Lowell Public Schools; and Stones Hospitality Group, which operates Cobblestones and Moonstones restaurants. Additionally the MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Development Board and the MassHire Greater Lowell Career Center supported the application to continue to assist YouthBuild Lowell to expand and increase the quality of its youth occupational skills training program.
YouthBuild’s Program Manager, Siobhan Sheehan said, “YouthBuild Lowell is very appreciative of this grant award which supports our efforts to expand our programming, and helps us grow our social enterprise efforts through catering, in addition to our culinary occupational skills training program. We will serve more at-risk youth in a state of the art vocational kitchen with this equipment grant.”
The program is a 10-month vocational training program which offers education, training, work experience, and life skills training that maximize the likelihood that participants will be employed in the culinary industry. Students earn HiSet, OSHA 10, Allergen Awareness, the nationally recognized Hospitality/Culinary NRAEF Restaurant Ready credential, and Serv Safe Manager’s certification.
YouthBuild is one of the 54 educational institutions that Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced Tuesday as recipients of the Skills Capital Grants which totaled $14.6 million. The Skill Grants are used to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. Also in attendance at the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute (GMGI) were Education Secretary James Peyser, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.
The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that exhibit partnerships with local businesses, as well as support curriculum and credentials with industry demand to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state.
About YouthBuild of Greater Lowell
Community Teamwork’s YouthBuild program offers a path forward to independence and self-sufficiency to these at-risk youth by providing career pathways and alternative education for those who do not succeed in traditional educational settings. They can chose between two tracks: Construction and Culinary Arts. All of YouthBuild students are low-income and in need of a High School Equivalency (HiSet) and comprehensive support to address their barriers to employment. Mentoring and strong adult role models within the program are critical.
About the Skills Capital Grants awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet
The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which was created in 2015 to bring together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development to align education, economic development and workforce policies in order to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in every region of the Commonwealth.
Program and Event Contact:
Siobhan Sheehan, Program Director, YouthBuild
Julia Ripa, Communications and Marketing Manager
PICTURE CREDIT: Credit for the picture should be attributed to Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office.
Request for Proposals
Professional Audit Services
Community Teamwork, Inc. is requesting proposals from licensed Certified Public Accounting firms to audit its financial statements for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. Specifications with instructions for applicants for annual audit services are available upon request from: Phyllis Marion, Purchasing Coordinator, Community Teamwork, Inc. 155 Merrimack Street 2nd Floor, Lowell, MA 01852; firstname.lastname@example.org 978-654-5656
All required submissions must be received by March 31, 2020 by 4:00 PM. Community Teamwork, Inc. reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals not deemed in the best interest of Community Teamwork, Inc. This notice is provided for informational purposes only, applicants shall be subject in all respects to the terms and conditions contained in the actual request for proposals. CTI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Grants to seven organizations will lower barriers for accessing capital, enable substantial private and federal matching funds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
LOWELL — February 6, 2020 – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced grant awards to spur job creation and small business growth across the Commonwealth by lowering the barriers to capital access. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) President & CEO Larry Andrews joined Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue, Lowell Mayor John Leahy, Representative David Nangle, Representative Stephan Hay, Community Teamwork CEO Karen Frederick, and grant recipients to announce $550,000 in awards to seven organizations through the Community Development Capital and Microlending programs, a procurement of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).
“We have made it a priority to support small businesses and downtowns, which are central to the Commonwealth’s economy and its communities, and today’s awards will empower local organizations to provide entrepreneurs from underserved communities with access to capital,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “From low-interest loans to technical assistance, these awardees are giving local small businesses, especially women- and minority-owned enterprises, the support they need to be successful.”
“Supporting business competitiveness and equitable opportunity are two central tenants of the Commonwealth’s new economic development plan, and today’s capital and microlending awards support entities that are on the ground supporting small businesses in their communities,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration will continue to enhance access to capital, space and networks for women- and minority-owned businesses to help to unlock economic growth in all regions of the Commonwealth.”
The Community Development Capital and Microlending programs provide awardee organizations with funding to lend to small businesses that are outside of the scope of regular banks, or hard to reach because they are underserved communities. The awardees have shown the ability to garner significant matching funds from non-state entities such as the US Treasury CDFI, private foundations, USDA and SBA. Some of the awards include Technical Assistance to help the small businesses overcome deficiencies in accounting, marketing, licensing and other key aspects of business. Since FY2017, over 200 businesses have been served through the Community Development Capital and Microlending programs, with state investments of $1.5 million leveraging more than $17.2 million in matching funds from non-state entities.
“Expanding opportunity and growth to people and places that have not benefitted fully will have significant positive effects on families and communities, and today’s awards will go to directly towards achieving this goal of Partnerships for Growth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “In order to expand on progress made over the last few years, the administration will continue to increase outreach to small businesses and entrepreneurs in order to understand their needs and address their challenges.”
“Many of Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp.’s most effective partners are CDFIs located across the Commonwealth in which we share a common purpose of promoting economic revitalization and community development through investment and assistance,” said Larry Andrews, President and CEO of MGCC. “Supporting CDFIs through these matching grants bolsters the ability to reach the under-resourced and under-served with trusted and local leadership.”
Today’s event was held at Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI) in Lowell, the Community Action Agency of Greater Lowell that mobilizes resources for low-income people, providing opportunities for them to achieve stability, self-sufficiency and have an active voice and participation in the decisions that affect their lives. The award will support Community Teamwork’s Entrepreneurship Center’s efforts to provide business development services to entrepreneurs from ethnically and economically diverse groups within the Merrimack Valley with the training, tools, and resources needed to create, sustain, and grow viable small businesses.
“Congratulations to all the Community Development Capital awardees,” said Karen Frederick, CEO of Community Teamwork. “Community Teamwork and its Entrepreneurship Center is honored to be a recipient of this grant, among other highly qualified candidates. We are proud to serve our community in a Commonwealth where the administration, specifically the Governor’s Office, is committed to supporting small businesses and the technical service providers that work tirelessly to ensure that local entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.”
This grant will go a long way to ensure that small business owners in our communities are successful.
“The unmistakable impact that Community Teamwork has had on business ownership and entrepreneurship for people from all economic backgrounds for the City of Lowell has been exceptional,” said Lowell Mayor John Leahy. “With this grant, CTI’s Entrepreneurship Center will continue to stimulate economic growth and support small businesses here. On behalf of the City of Lowell, I congratulate Community Teamwork for the continued success that this grant award will reflect.”
“The Community Development Capital and Microlending programs have proven to be credible forces for economic development and have provided a gateway to success for business owners in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue. “The significant grant being awarded to Community Teamwork, Inc. will complement the excellent work that the organization does to support emerging businesses and extend the opportunities of entrepreneurship to people of all backgrounds, further strengthening the economic vitality of the City of Lowell.”
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation for awarding this significant grant to Community TeamWork,” said Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “These funds will allow CTI’s Entrepreneurship Center to build upon its decades-long experience in providing business development services to a diverse group of small businesses and entrepreneurs and to further contribute to the economic revitalization of the Greater Lowell area.”
“This grant to CTI through the community development capital program highlights the successful partnership local social service organizations have with the Baker-Polito administration and their economic development team,” said Representative David Nangle. “Initiatives like this provide critical assistance to small, advocacy-based agencies, and allows them to expand their staffing, outreach, and development efforts.”
In December 2019, following nine public engagements sessions and 17 deep-dive listening sessions, the Baker-Polito Administration officially released the economic development plan for the Commonwealth entitled Partnerships for Growth: A plan to enable the Commonwealth’s regions to build, connect and lead. This plan aligns the administration’s economic development programs, funding, and legislative efforts within four central pillars—Respond to the Housing Crisis, Build Vibrant Communities, Support Business Competitiveness, and Train a Skilled Workforce—to address challenges and foster opportunities over the next four years. By focusing on business competitiveness, Partnerships for Growth seeks to enable robust economic growth across communities, businesses, and sectors. Over the next four years, the Administration will increase outreach to small businesses and entrepreneurs, with a focus on helping businesses access the capital, space, technical assistance, and diverse workforce needed to grow.
Community Development Capital and Microlending Program Awards:
North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation – $150,000
Community Teamwork – $100,000
Franklin County CDC – $100,000
Coastal Community Capital – $50,000
Cooperative Fund of New England – $50,000
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation – $50,000
Quaboag Valley BDC – $50,000
Media Contactfor Baker-Polito Administration Announces Awards to Spur Job Creation and Small Business Growth
Ryan Boehm, Director of Communications
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.
3rd Annual Mayor’s Rock n’ Roll Holiday Fest for Youth Homelessness
State Sen. Ed Kennedy, front left, hangs out with his posse at the event he founded.
PUBLISHED: February 11, 2020 at 1:50 pm | UPDATED: February 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm
“As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.” — Bono
The city of Lowell was rockin’ ’n’ rolling at the third annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest for Homeless Youth Rock ’n’ Roll Fundraiser to benefit Community Teamwork Inc., on Dec. 12.
The fun fest was hosted by then-Mayor William Samaras in the Zorba Music Hall at the Olympia Restaurant in the Acre. Bill continued the fundraising effort started two years ago by former Mayor Ed Kennedy, now Lowell’s state senator.
More than 250 groupies gobbled up plenty of homemade Greek food and pastries while listening, dancing and singing along to the phenomenally talented artists, guitarists, singers and bands who sang their hearts out to help end homelessness. The rock stars included Love Train, the Zorba’s house band, Abbie Barrett, All D’s Boyz, Emily Desmond, Funrazrs, Mickey Kanan, Kelly Knapp, Peter Lavender, Jenna Markard, John Powhida, Silvertongue and Kevin Wall.
Youth homelessness is a persistent problem in Lowell. CTI estimates that more than 100 young people in Lowell each year experience homelessness for a variety of reasons.
This single event raised $30,000, and the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund offered a Challenge Grant to CTI, matched that amount to raise the total to $60,000, which will support transformation of CTI’s Youth Opportunity Center.
From left, Rich Sarmento of Hampton, with Sun Charities President Terry McCarthy and Leo Sheridan, both of
From left, Lee Gitschier, Ben Martello and Justin Robinson, all of Lowell
From left, state Rep. Tom Golden, Brian Poitras and City Councilor John Drinkwater, all of Lowell
From left, George Duncan, Jim O’Donnell and then-Mayor William Samaras, host of the party, all of Lowell
All D’s Boyz provides entertainment.
For more information, visit www.commteam.org/mayorsholidayfest.
Soul Sista: Rock ’n’ roll is always good for the soul! The Z-List dressed like a rock star, wearing a shining, silver, glittered miniskirt and black suede over-the-knee boots. Happy Presidents’ Day!Dacey Zouzas is founder and creative director of The Z-List, highlighting nonprofits, and host and producer of the “Dacey’s Divas” TV show, featuring “Women Making a Difference.” Follow @Mass_Women on Twitter.
Dacey Zouzas is Founder and Creative Director of The Z-List, highlighting non-profits, and TV Host and Producer of Dacey’s Divas TV Show, featuring “Women Making a Difference.” Follow @Mass_Women on Twitter.
$550,000 in grants announced at Community Teamwork headquarters
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito speaking at the Community Teamwork headquarters in Lowell
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2020 at 9:11 pm | UPDATED: February 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm
LOWELL – The Baker-Polito administration continues its support of small businesses throughout the commonwealth with Thursday’s announcement of $550,000 in community development capital and microlending grants.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced multiple recipients of the grants at the headquarters of the Community Teamwork Inc., a nonprofit organization on Merrimack Street. Polito was joined by Mayor John Leahy, City Manager Eileen Donoghue and Larry Andrews, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.
“What we’re celebrating today are the ideas that come from the community,” Polito said. “Think about the cultural diversity that makes up what Lowell’s history is and what you continue to be: a welcoming place for people with different backgrounds and cultures and dialects come to. They come with that diversity of thought, which is a real asset. When individuals come to this community, they have ideas that they want to bring forward.”
The biggest grant of the collective $550,000 total was awarded to the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation in the amount of $150,000.
Other grants ranged from $100,000 each to $50,000 each. They were awarded to groups including Community Teamwork’s Entrepreneurship Center, the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Franklin County Community Development Corporation.
Andrews described the grants as a means for organizations spread throughout the state to offer matching funds to small business owners in need. He added that the amount in each grant and the number of grants awarded each year depend on yearly appropriation from the administration.
“The federal government wants to be sure that the state is involved, but more importantly we want to make sure that these community development corporations and community development financial institutions are supported in other ways,” he explained. “It is up substantially this year. However, it’s still not enough so we’re trying to look at a trajectory that’ll actually go up. There should be more.”
Andrews noted that the receiving corporations address communities with various demographics and needs, referencing how for example the Franklin County Community Development Corporation has a commercial kitchen that offers microlending for people wanting to start restaurants and catering businesses.
“Every recipient has a great story,” he concluded. “If you look at why people come to Lowell, they’re looking to make a a better life for themselves. You just have to go down Merrimack Street and there’s a Spanish restaurant and a Cambodian restaurant, some of that is just the flavor of the international population. You look at Lowell and its educational institutions and its financial institutions. It truly is a renaissance city that can come back from a dormant past. What you’re gonna start seeing is that international flavor of Lowell and I think there will be more inclusion of businesses.”
Jon Winkler is a 25-year-old reporter covering government, education and human interest in Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend for the Nashoba Valley Voice. He previously covered education and local government in East Hampton and Southampton, New York. Jon is a New England original, born in Nashua and raised in Merrimack, New Hampshire.