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Funders Day Out: New Bedford

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, Philanthropy Massachusetts, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts and the Island Foundation, presented Funders Day Out: New Bedford. With 20 participants representing 12 Funders (corporate, family and a community foundation, a state agency and other private foundations were represented), we heard from four Immigration-focused organizations, three arts and cultural institutions, and four youth-serving nonprofits.

The day began at the New Bedford Co+ Creative Center. Here we had an introduction from Denise Porché of the Island Foundation, followed by a landscape scan of the New Bedford region presented by John Vasconcellos of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. New Bedford is a gateway city where job opportunities are few and there is a large educational achievement gap when compared with non-gateway cities. While there are nonprofits meeting the needs of the people of New Bedford, there are few foundations located in the area.

Following the landscape scan, we heard from representatives from Immigrants’ Assistance Center, Community Economic Development Center, Immigration Law Education and Advocacy Project of Catholic Social Services, and Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores. These groups are tackling various issues faced by immigrants in their community and view each other as partners in meeting their community’s needs.

Participants then took a walking tour of arts and cultural organizations in New Bedford. The tour’s first stop was at the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, which provides access to the art in their downtown location and abroad in their artMOBILE. The group then traveled to the New Bedford Historical Society, an organization working to tell and celebrate the story of people of color in New Bedford, and finished the tour at Dream Out Loud, a nonprofit that provides free and affordable access to the arts to Southcoast residents.   

After lunch at Killburn Mill viewing A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World, the group traveled to Youth Opportunities Unlimited to hear about their partnership with local schools like Nativity Prep New Bedford, who also joined us, to help kids grow beyond the classroom. We then heard from the students at Our Sisters’ School at Community Boating Center about their experience with the organization.

Our final stop of the day was at the New Bedford Whaling Museum to debrief and reflect on the day’s activities and key takeaways from the experience. Because of the success of this event and the partnership between Island Foundation, Community Foundation of Southeastern MA and Philanthropy MA, we hope to build on our key takeaways and replicate this model in other regions of the state. Be on the lookout for future Funders Day Out events!




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