Tufts University awards COVID-19 emergency response grants to local non-profits

Medford/Somerville, Mass. - The magnolia trees near the Tufts University sign at at the corner of Professors Row and College Avenue side of Tisch Library. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLEMass. (August 12, 2020)—Tufts University has awarded emergency response grants to 30 local organizations in its four host communities of Medford, Somerville, Boston and Grafton in an effort to help its neighbors impacted by COVID-19.

The $1,000 grants, totaling $30,000, are helping local non-profits with critical purchases, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation equipment, technology, emergency food distribution, and educational supplies.

“During these trying times, it’s more important than ever for us to support our neighbors and the non-profits that do such important work in our home communities,” said Rocco DiRico, director of the Office of Government and Community Relations at Tufts. “We always strive to be the best neighbor that we can be, so we’re pleased to be able to provide this essential support to local organizations that are assisting local residents with the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic.”

Funding for the Medford and Somerville portion of the program was made possible by a generous donation from Tufts alumni Michael Lainoff and Kathryn Kincaid, who are also the parents of a Tufts student. Lainoff and Kincaid, wanting to help fund COVID relief efforts, decided to donate to the fund to help small nonprofits in Medford and Somerville that were hit the hardest during the pandemic. 

Second Chances, a clothing donation program located in Somerville that received one of the grants, was able to meet 100% of client needs during their busiest month in history. “All were affected by COVID-19 in some way: job loss or furlough, decreased household income, limited access to services, isolation, increased risk of illness, and more,” said Andrea Shapiro, founder and CEO of Second Chances. “The clothing we were able to provide enabled people to stretch their limited household income further, and in some cases to return to work, school, and general activity in a safe manner.”

The grants are the most recent way in which the university has reached out to its host communities and local non-profits to assist them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, in partnership with local health-care providers and its host communities, Tufts made its residence halls available to house medical personnel, police and firefighters, and patients, including those recovering from COVID-19, to relieve the strain on local health care systems and to help front-line personnel isolate or quarantine after exposure to the virus or when needing to avoid returning home to vulnerable household members.

The university also made available one of its dining centers on the Medford/Somerville campus to a coalition of Massachusetts food rescue organizations that have been working overtime to collect and distribute food to a growing number of people in need during the pandemic.

The Boston grant recipients are:

Asian American Civic Association

Asian Community Development Corporation

Fenway Community Center

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center

Friday Night Supper Program


Mission Hill Neighborhood Services

Sociedad Latina


The Grafton grant recipient is:

Friends of Grafton Food Bank

The Medford grant recipients are:

Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation

Malden YMCA/Mystic Community Market

McGlynn Elementary PTG

Sanctuary UCC

Walnut Street Center

Wayside Youth & Family Support Network

West Medford Community Center

The Somerville grant recipients are:

Artisan’s Asylum

Asian Women for Health


Community Action Agency of Somerville

Groundwork Somerville

Hearty Meals for All

Mystic Learning Center

Second Chances

Somerville Education Foundation

Somerville Homeless Coalition

The Beautiful Stuff Project

The Elizabeth Peabody House

The Welcome Project


About Tufts University

Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

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