The Baker-Polito Administration announced $3 million in grants to nine nonprofit organizations including ROCA in Chelsea through the inaugural round of the Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program, which invests in employment social enterprises that contribute to economic growth in low-income communities. The grants will help the organizations buy or renovate buildings to be used by the social enterprise, as well as buy equipment.
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joined Representative Thomas Walsh and Representative Sally Kerans at Northeast Arc’s ArcWorks in Peabody today to make the announcement.
“Our administration is pleased to support social enterprises working to provide individuals of all backgrounds with the skills and economic opportunities they need to be successful,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Congratulations to the organizations receiving funding through the inaugural round of our Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program to expand both their reach and impact.”
“While the social enterprises we’re funding today work with distinct communities in various regions of the Commonwealth, a common thread is their commitment to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest through gainful employment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We’re proud to amplify these organizations’ important work by providing funding for facility and equipment purchases that will allow them to serve and support even more individuals.”
In its inaugural round, the Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program is designed to support employment social enterprises that sell goods and services while providing supportive services for individuals who face significant barriers to employment. For the purposes of this program, an employment social enterprise is defined as a discrete or embedded business venture operated by a mission-driven nonprofit organization with programming focused on hiring and assisting people who face barriers to employment. The organization must offer paid employment opportunities to low-income individuals, with priority to socially and economically disadvantaged populations who experience complex needs and barriers to employment that require intensive interventions.
“I was glad to join state and local officials in Peabody to announce the inaugural round of Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program awards to nine impressive and impactful organizations,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “From providing on-the-job skills training for young people to ensuring meaningful job opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment, this funding will amplify the work of community-based organizations creating economic opportunities for the people of our Commonwealth.”
“Northeast Arc has been operating social enterprises for nearly 60 years,” said Northeast Arc CEO & President Jo Ann Simons. “Social enterprises have allowed people with disabilities and autism to earn a paycheck while refining skills that assist them in finding employment in the community. The capital grant program is allowing us to provide much needed upgrades to our building and provide more opportunities to the people we support.”
Awarded grants include Roca (Chelsea) – $309,000 Roca works to disrupt incarceration, poverty, and racism by engaging young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope, and drive change. The organization will use this grant to buy new trucks, caps, and equipment to expand its transitional employment work crews beyond pre-pandemic levels and support employment training and behavior change work with more than 350 young people across the Commonwealth