Special to the Gazette
The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced more than $15 million in grants to 67 organizations across the state through the Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Program (CERP), a competitive grant program that offers flexible operating grants to local collaborations for programming and projects that develop, strengthen, and invest in community economic priorities. The program aims to bring positive economic outcomes to communities that have been adversely impacted by the criminal justice system and poverty. Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) received a grant of $300,000.
The grant was awarded to the Bridge to Prosperity that is a collaboration between JPNDC and A Year and a Day Foundation, which aims to create pathways for success for 400 individuals in Boston’s justice-impacted communities. Recognizing the importance of wraparound services such as job placement and education in reducing recidivism, the program, informed by lived experiences, addresses critical needs and strengthens networks with ally organizations. Participants will benefit from CORI expungement clinics, workshops, training, and personalized coaching, with a goal of 98 individuals securing well-paying, upwardly mobile careers, especially in industries like construction.
“Our administration is committed to making Massachusetts a state where everyone has access to economic opportunity,” said Governor Maura Healey. “The Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Program is reshaping our communities by providing resources for programs that strengthen our communities through job training, small business support, housing stability, and more. We congratulate the awardees on this hard-earned achievement and thank the Legislature for their partnership to make this funding available.”
“The Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Program plays a vital role in supporting communities that face significant barriers to economic growth in Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “This funding will provide assistance to organizations that are doing critical work to improve public health, support small and diverse businesses, engage with young people, provide education and workforce opportunities and so much more. This program will help strengthen our bond with local leaders to safeguard the well-being of all residents.”
“In Massachusetts, we are building an equitable economy that benefits everyone,” said Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao. “This program serves as a crucial mechanism for our administration to strategically invest in the fundamentals that enable economic growth. In collaboration with local leaders, we’re aiming to enhance the livelihood of residents and businesses for years to come.”
This competitive grant program was developed to support communities with high rates of criminal justice system involvement and poverty. Project categories include community-based workforce development, small business development, housing stabilization, community health improvement, high school dropout prevention, and community organizing and leadership development.
Among these awarded projects, 37 are located in Gateway Cities. Of the 67 organizations, 33 self-identified as Minority Business Enterprises. Nearly half of the organizations funded have formerly incarcerated leadership or leadership that has been impacted by the criminal justice system.
Created in 2020, the Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Grant Program involved the establishment of a Community Empowerment Board to inform application processes and criteria. As prescribed by law, the seven-member Community Empowerment Board consists of individuals who belong to demographic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented and have historically been at social and economic disadvantages.