Tufts Awards Grants to 35 Non-Profits to Support Local Initiatives

Tufts Community Grant program provides support for local non-profits hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

Thirty-five local organizations in Tufts’ four host communities in Massachusetts have been awarded $35,000 in grants from the Tufts Community Grants (TCG) program. The grants, which are funded by donations from Tufts University faculty and staff, are awarded each year to community-based charitable organizations in Boston, Grafton, Medford and Somerville.

TCG is a giving option of the annual Tufts Community Appeal, an internal fundraising campaign for faculty and staff at Tufts University. Donors to the TCG program are members of the Tufts workforce who value and support the work of the university’s community partners and the welfare of Tufts’ host communities.  

Once a year, a volunteer board comprised of Tufts faculty and staff members meets to review proposals and select grant recipients.  Board members represent all of Tufts’ Massachusetts campuses and a variety of different disciplines and roles from across the university. Members of the TCG board look for applicants that offer important services and programming for residents of our host communities, and that are also engaged with Tufts volunteers.

“We received applications from more non-profits than ever this year. The need for support is high, especially after an unprecedented year weathering COVID-19,” said Leah Boudreau, community programs specialist with Tufts University’s office of Government and Community Relations. “It has been challenging and costly for organizations to develop programs to serve residents during COVID-19, and many proposals addressed programmatic and service changes that were brought about by the pandemic. These grants are just one way that Tufts continues to support our community partners as they respond in this new environment.”

This year, the committee received 75 proposals and selected 35 programs and projects to fund.

Funding from the 2021 Tufts Community Grants supports:


Asian Community Development Corporation – Community cleanup of Chinatown Backyard, an open space located next to the Chinatown Gate

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc. – Virtual YouthLead program, with focus on arts and mental health

Building Audacity – Purchase of fresh, culturally diverse produce for weekly distribution to food insecure families in Boston

Chinese Historical Society of New England – Free, single-day seminar about combating anti-Asian racism

Friday Night Supper Program, Inc. – Warm and Dry Feet Program, providing 100 pairs of boots and socks for homeless and low income individuals

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center Inc. – 5-7 tablet computers for elderly clients to expand access to virtual programming

Haley House – Purchase of commercial dishwasher for their soup kitchen

Josiah Quincy Upper School – Virtual community-building “paint night” event for public school teachers, nurses, counselors, social workers and operations staff

MassVOTE – Supplies and materials to contact residents without internet access and increase voter turnout in municipal elections

The Theater Offensive – Virtual performance equipment such as cameras and microphones for True Colors Troupe, drama group comprised of LGBTQ youth and straight allies, many of whom identify as BIPOC



Apple Tree Arts – Purchase of an outdoor projector for a youth theater arts summer program

Community Harvest – Seeds and garden materials to grow food, made available to food insecure households in the Grafton/Greater Worcester Area

Friends of Grafton Inc./Grafton Food Bank – Monthly gift card distribution to food insecure families in Grafton

Grafton Senior Center – Four months of free medical rides from Grafton to Worcester for seniors and disabled residents

Saint James Outreach/Saint James Church – Emergency relief funds available to Grafton residents in need of assistance with heating costs, food, school supplies and medical expenses, among other needs



ArtsMedford Inc. – "Arts After Dark," a virtual arts program taking the place of “MARV the Art Bus” during COVID-19 restrictions

Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility –"Medford Food Drive" to supply bagged groceries and necessities to Medford High School families

Congregational Church of West Medford – Large scale meal packing event serving 25,000 meals to food-insecure residents

English At Large – Beginner English classes offered to new English speakers living in Medford, including zoom subscriptions, apps, textbooks and other supplies

Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation – Multimedia intern and video equipment to produce content for their newly created YouTube channel

Medford Farmers Market – Funding for SNAP/EBT benefits available to eligible clients of the Medford Farmer's Market

Mystic River Watershed Association – Translation and interpretation of materials for "Trash Free Mystic" initiative, making them available in 4 different languages

Mystic Valley YMCA/Malden YMCA – Implementation of "Your Pantry" app used by clients of the Mystic Community Market

Strong Girls United Foundation –Student Athlete mentor program at the Brooks School, including training materials, team shirts, mentee kits

West Medford Community Center (WMCC) – Performers, speakers and workshops for WMCC'S Juneteenth Celebration



The Beautiful Stuff Project – “Mosaic Story Walk,” an outdoor art installation project to engage families in literacy and exercise

Breakthrough Greater Boston – “Summer Learning Kits” for Somerville and Boston youth enrolled in their summer program

CASPAR, Inc. –800 pairs of women's underwear, for distribution to shelter residents and homeless individuals

Hearty Meals for All – Monthly meal distribution efforts, including food, hygiene kits and packaging supplies

RESPOND, Inc. – “Palm cards" to spread awareness and access to resources about domestic violence

St. Patrick's Shelter, Catholic Charities – Two new couches for the shelter lounge, providing a comfortable space for shelter residents

Somerville Community Growing Center – Bilingual "Nature Kits" for children, including books, seeds, journals and gardening supplies

Somerville Family Learning Collaborative – Community closet of winter clothing for students with limited access to climate appropriate clothing

Somerville Food Security Coalition – Food and packing materials for their "Come to the Table" program, providing free to-go meals to residents in need

Somerville Homeless Coalition – All-terrain street outreach cart, and funding to obtain birth certificates,  IDs and phones for homeless individuals

Local non-profits continue to experience a greater demand for their services as the COVID-19 crisis persists. TCG is just one of the many ways in which the university continues to assist members of our host communities during this difficult time. 

In October 2020, Tufts and the Cities of Medford and Somerville announced an innovative COVID-19 pooled testing program to enable the school districts of both cities to administer tests to students, faculty and staff for a fraction of the cost of individual testing.  

During the early months of the pandemic, the university donated the use of freezer and cafeteria space on the Medford/Somerville campus to local hunger relief groups. 

The university also awarded emergency response grants to 30 local organizations in its four host communities to aid critical purchases, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation equipment, technology, emergency food distribution, and educational supplies. 

Questions regarding TCG can be directed to the office of Government and Community Relations at Tufts University by email at communityrelations@tufts.edu or by phone at 617-627-3780.

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