The Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund (TNSF) committee recently awarded grants to twelve organizations in Somerville. TNSF collects donations from university employees throughout the year and then awards grants to community-based, charitable organizations that serve Tufts’ host communities (Somerville, Medford, Grafton and Boston’s Chinatown) and that actively engage Tufts volunteers in their work.
A committee comprised of Tufts administrators, faculty and staff meets annually to review proposals and select grant recipients. In 2012 there was a total of $20,380 available to distribute through TNSF. The committee received 49 proposals representing more than $74,000 in requests and selected 32 programs and projects for awards. Members of the TNSF committee base their decisions on a desire to address the most pressing needs in the communities and to encourage expanded involvement of Tufts volunteers.
The Somerville grant recipients for 2012 are:
- Community Action Agency of Somerville — $500 for cab vouchers for emergency transportation for low-income Somerville residents.
- Eagle Eye Institute, Inc. — $500 to enhance their environmental youth leadership program series at the Healey Boys and Girls Club and at the Mystic Learning Center.
- East Somerville Community School — $400 for refreshments at their Welcome Back Day, to mark the opening of the new school building.
- El Sistema Somerville — $400 for musical instrument accessories.
- Groundwork Somerville — $500 for translation services and childcare at community meetings that will engage community members of color and low-income residents in the redevelopment of a state park near Assembly Square.
- Mystic Learning Center, Inc. — $500 for the purchase of five new chairs at the center for the youth who participate in the afterschool and evening programs.
- RESPOND, Inc. — $500 for short term money in gift card form for victims to buy food, clothing, medication, and baby needs.
- Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services — $500 for additional meals for their Meals on Wheels program.
- Somerville High School — $400 to purchase a Vernier LabQuest standalone interface used to collect sensor data that will replace outdated equipment in a classroom.
- Somerville Homeless Coalition — $500 to develop a food rescue network that prevents the waste of excess food by connecting those with surplus (grocery stores, farmers markets, local growers, restaurants) with those in need (food pantries, shelters and residence homes) by way of volunteer transporters.
- Somerville Public Library — $500 to expand programs involving computer training and job/interview training for Somerville residents.
- The Welcome Project — $500 to support the training of 15 bilingual Somerville high school students to learn professional language interpretation skills.
“Each year, the range of grant requests from community agencies is more diverse and more telling, meaning that the committee faces an increasingly more difficult decision. This year’s grant proposals were thoughtful and compelling. We wish we could fund all of them,” said Barbara Rubel, director of Community Relations. “We hope the employee contributions to TNSF demonstrate how vital our host communities are to the university and we want to thank the Tufts volunteers, faculty, and staff who made this possible.”
TNSF is a giving option of the annual Tufts Community Appeal (TCA), in which the university encourages its employees to contribute to charitable organizations at the regional, national and international levels. The TCA unites faculty and staff across all campuses of the university, and demonstrates the support the Tufts community for local and global efforts. It reflects the university community’s belief that individual action can make a difference in the world.