The strength of The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) lies in its network of nearly 600 agency partners serving the 190 cities and towns in its service area of Eastern Massachusetts. Without them, we would not be able to move healthy food out of our doors and into the hands of the thousands of people in need of food each day. This is in part why we have invested millions of dollars into refrigeration, trucks, shelving, storage and more to ensure our partners’ organizational health supports our mission to end hunger here.
In 2013, we introduced our Community Investment Grant Program, and in only 10 short years we have provided nearly $6 million to support the growth of our agency partners. These resources are part of an intentional strategy to help increase their capacity to serve more clients, distribute more food—including more perishable and healthy food—and to assist underserved communities where hunger-relief resources are either unavailable or unable to meet the need.
This funding program has grown annually from $20,000 in 2013 to $1 million in 2023, with grants made to partner agencies that serve all 190 cities and towns, and nine counties in Eastern Massachusetts over the past 10 years.
Community Investment grants also include transformational grants, which are 3-year commitments for larger projects to help serve high need communities, like the Mystic Community Market or The Full Plate Project. And this past holiday season GBFB also offered, for the first time, $2,000 in direct funding to all agency partners to use however they saw fit to help offset inflationary pressures.
Over the years, grant categories and priorities have evolved with the needs of our network. In 2021, we added service to communities of color as a grant priority. In 2022, we introduced organizational funding, which allowed agencies to apply for one-time funding for new operational costs. More recently, we added additional priorities to the grant-consideration process—service to communities disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, inclusion of client voice, and demonstration of community engagement.
We recently announced our 2023 Community Investment Grant recipients, 38 amazing agency partners will receive a total of nearly $1 million in much needed funding to help these local hunger-relief organizations continue to better serve the estimated 1 in 3 households that are still struggling with food insecurity in our region.
Together, we know we can end hunger here – and these investments into our community support that vision.