Nonprofit Insider

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Awards over $2.3 Million to more than 900 Organizations in 2017

Since 1980, more than $145 Million Awarded to Nonprofits Working to Build Healthy Communities in Conn., Maine, Mass., and N.H.

Wellesley, MA Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation today announced that it awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to more than 900 nonprofit organizations in over 300 communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire in 2017. Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has granted more than $145 million in funds throughout the four states.

The Foundation helps build healthy communities by supporting programs that provide access to fresh, healthy food; improve the health of communities impacted by health disparities; and support Harvard Pilgrim employees as they invest their time and talents across the region. 

In 2017, more than $1.57 million in grants was distributed to the Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund initiatives within the region, with funds supporting programs that grow, distribute and/or market fresh food for families and communities across the region. (See below for a summary of the Foundation’s 2017 major grant recipients.) 

Healthy Food Fund grants included:

  • $969,748 in third-year grants to 20 not-for-profit community food initiatives in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. 
  • $190,905 in the second round of Healthy Aging grants to 23 not-for-profit initiatives in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.  The funded programs helped older adults eat better and stay connected to their communities through community garden, cooking, and nutrition programs.
  • $260,250 to support five mobile farmers’ markets in Worcester and Lowell, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Lewiston/Auburn, Maine; and the seacoast of New Hampshire.

“Over the first two years of the Healthy Food Fund, our independent evaluation shows the amount of local produce distributed to low income families across the region has increased significantly,” said Karen Voci, President of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.  “We are thrilled to see that our small investments in very local organizations can measurably improve access to healthy food.”

In addition to the $1.57 million in Healthy Food and Healthy Aging grants, the Foundation also awarded $593,250 to 775 organizations in 213 communities through Harvard Pilgrim’s employee-directed Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant program. This program enables each Harvard Pilgrim Health Care employee to annually award a $500 grant, completely funded by the Foundation, to the charity of his or her choice. Since the inception of this community grant program in 2002, the Foundation has contributed more than $5.7 million to thousands of organizations in the region. Areas of support have included schools, food pantries, youth development organizations, and fundraising events.

In 2017, $39,550 was awarded to nonprofit partner organizations including Hands on Hartford, City Year, and Cradles to Crayons that support Harvard Pilgrim’s employee service in local communities. Harvard Pilgrim employee contributions, made through the company’s annual employee fund raising campaign, along with Foundation support, totaled $45,000 and were distributed to United Ways of New England and local nonprofits chosen by employees.  The Foundation and employees also contributed to various disaster relief efforts including: $14,500 to Hurricane Harvey, $9,400 to Puerto Rico Fund, and $8,200 to Hurricane Irma.

Through the Foundation’s Health Equity Roundtable program, an $8,000 grant was awarded to PFLAG Hartford to support a community discussion aimed at addressing transgender health care issues in Connecticut.

A summary of some of the Foundation’s 2017 major grant recipients is included below:


2017 Connecticut Grant Recipients:  Total $254,772

  • $50,000 -- New Haven Farms and New Haven Land Trust, Farm-Based Wellness, Cooking and Nutrition Program, incubator garden
  • $50,000 – Green Village Initiative (Bridgeport), Community Gardens Program
  • $44,697 – Brass City Harvest (Waterbury), Healthy Corner Store Initiative; Cooking and Nutrition Classes
  • $40,250 -- Hartford Food Systems, Mobile Farmers’ Market
  • $40,000 – CT Food Bank (East Haven), Farm-to-Pantry program
  • $2,000 – Hands on Hartford, Service Activities at Keney Park Sustainability Project, The Wish School, and Northwest Boys & Girls Club

​​2017 Maine Grant Recipients: Total $308,376

  • $60,000 – St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center (Lewiston/Auburn) and Cultivating Community, Good Food Bus Mobile Farmers’ Market
  • $50,000 – Cultivating Community (Portland), Expand CSA shares; cooking and nutrition classes
  • $50,000 –  Healthy Communities of the Capital Area (Southern Kennebec County), Expand gleaning and food processing through Restorative Community Harvest Program
  • $50,000 – Maine Farmland Trust (Biddeford, Portland, Saco, S. Portland, and Westbrook), SNAP incentives at Farmers’ markets, CSA programs, food hubs, co-ops
  • $50,000 – Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation (Greater Bath and Brunswick), Teen Agriculture Program; cooking and nutrition programming
  • $34,744 – Healthy Aging Grants (Statewide), Community gardens and cooking and nutrition classes for older adults
  • $5,000 – Maine Medical Center and Maine Health, Childhood Obesity Prevention Conference

2017 Massachusetts Grant Recipients: Total $818,000

  • $113,773 – Healthy Aging Grants (Statewide), Community gardens and cooking and nutrition classes for older adults
  • $100,000 -- Boys & Girls Clubs (Boston), Farm-to-Family program
  • $60,000 – Mill City Grows (Lowell), Mobile Farmers’ Market
  • $50,000 – Boston Area Gleaners (Waltham), Distribution and Delivery Program
  • $50,000 – Gardening the Community (Springfield), Expansion of Walnut St. garden; Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
  • $50,000 – Groundwork Lawrence, CSA program, youth-led urban agriculture program, cooking and nutrition classes
  • $50,000 – Grow Food Northampton, Food Access Northampton; Giving Garden
  • $50,000 – Growing Places (Leominster), Teaching Garden, Garden on the GO, cooking classes
  • $50,000 – Nourishing the North Shore (Newburyport, Amesbury, Salisbury, Rowley, Newbury, West Newbury), Garden and food delivery expansion initiatives, cooking and nutrition classes
  • $39,000 – Community Harvest Project (North Grafton), Volunteer Farming Initiative; Farm-to-Health Center program
  • $29,000 – Mass in Motion/Coastal Food Shed (New Bedford), Subsidized CSA program; cooking and nutrition training
  • $20,250 -- Regional Environmental Council (Worcester), Mobile Farmers’ Market
  • $15,000 -- City Year (Boston), Service Activities at Joseph Lee K-8 School and other community organizations in Dorchester
  • $5,000 – Urban Farming Institute of Boston (Roxbury), Conference
  • $5,000 -- Cradles to Crayons (Brighton), Ready-for-School backpack campaign

2017 New Hampshire Grant Recipients: $298,993

  • $80,000 – Seacoast Eat Local (Dover), Mobile Farmers’ Market
  • $50,000 – Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health, Inc. (Laconia), Pop-up Farmers’ Market; cooking demonstrations and community gardens
  • $42,388 – Healthy Aging Grants (Statewide), Community gardens and cooking and nutrition classes for older adults
  • $39,330 – Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN) (Berlin), Farmers’ Market Grow Healthy Initiative; Outdoor Teaching Kitchen
  • $30,000 – New Hampshire Food Bank (Manchester), North Country Fresh Food Project
  • $28,175 – Tamworth Community Nurse Association, Tamworth Farmers’ Market SNAP expansion
  • $15,000 – NH Center for Nonprofits (Concord), Nonprofit Impact Awards

About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2017, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to more than 900 nonprofit organizations in the region.  Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has awarded $145 million in funds and resources throughout the four states.  For more information, please visit

Posted on: January 25, 2018
Topics: Funding Awards

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