Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3 Million in Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program Awards to Nine Nonprofits

New program invests in employment social enterprises that contribute to economic growth in low-income communities
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3 Million in Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program Awards to Nine Nonprofits

Kelsey Schiller, Director of Communications & Media Relations

PeabodyToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $3 million in grants to nine nonprofit organizations through the inaugural round of the Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program, which invests in employment social enterprises that contribute to economic growth in low-income communities. The grants will help the organizations buy or renovate buildings to be used by the social enterprise, as well as buy equipment.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joined Representative Thomas Walsh and Representative Sally Kerans at Northeast Arc’s ArcWorks in Peabody today to make the announcement.

“Our administration is pleased to support social enterprises working to provide individuals of all backgrounds with the skills and economic opportunities they need to be successful,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Congratulations to the organizations receiving funding through the inaugural round of our Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program to expand both their reach and impact.”

“While the social enterprises we’re funding today work with distinct communities in various regions of the Commonwealth, a common thread is their commitment to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest through gainful employment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We’re proud to amplify these organizations’ important work by providing funding for facility and equipment purchases that will allow them to serve and support even more individuals.”  

In its inaugural round, the Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program is designed to support employment social enterprises that sell goods and services while providing supportive services for individuals who face significant barriers to employment. For the purposes of this program, an employment social enterprise is defined as a discrete or embedded business venture operated by a mission-driven nonprofit organization with programming focused on hiring and assisting people who face barriers to employment. The organization must offer paid employment opportunities to low-income individuals, with priority to socially and economically disadvantaged populations who experience complex needs and barriers to employment that require intensive interventions.

“I was glad to join state and local officials in Peabody to announce the inaugural round of Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program awards to nine impressive and impactful organizations,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “From providing on-the-job skills training for young people to ensuring meaningful job opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment, this funding will amplify the work of community-based organizations creating economic opportunities for the people of our Commonwealth.”

“Northeast Arc has been operating social enterprises for nearly 60 years,” said Northeast Arc CEO & President Jo Ann Simons. “Social enterprises have allowed people with disabilities and autism to earn a paycheck while refining skills that assist them in finding employment in the community. The capital grant program is allowing us to provide much needed upgrades to our building and provide more opportunities to the people we support.”

Awarded Projects

Level Ground Mixed Martial Arts (Boston) – $60,000

Level Ground Mixed Martial Arts provides free and affordable martial arts, yoga, and general fitness services, as well as college access and career opportunities to Boston youth. The organization will use this grant to buy key equipment for its new 6,400-square-foot Fields Corner Training Center, expand services, and create four to six new jobs.

More Than Words (Boston) – $186,000

More Than Words operates a used bookselling social enterprise as a vehicle for job training and empowerment, and during the pandemic launched a used clothing business line as well. The organization will use this grant to upgrade and expand its fleet of book-sourcing trucks from four to five and buy needed equipment to adapt its sourcing operation to accommodate clothing.

College Bound Dorchester (Boston) – $40,000

College Bound Dorchester seeks to end systemic generational urban poverty and violence through education. The organization will use this grant to fund repairs, security upgrades, and equipment for its Log School building, where it provides all programing including its College Readiness Advisor (CRA)  Internship Social Enterprise Program, which helps gang-involved Boston residents become students and creates a pathway for them to become advisors and coaches to other gang-involved individuals.

Roca (Chelsea) – $309,000

Roca works to disrupt incarceration, poverty, and racism by engaging young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope, and drive change. The organization will use this grant to buy new trucks, caps, and equipment to expand its transitional employment work crews beyond pre-pandemic levels and support employment training and behavior change work with more than 350 young people across the Commonwealth.

GAAMHA, Inc. (Gardner) – $450,000

GAAMHA, Inc.’s mission is to provide meaningful support, training, treatment, avenues to employment, and personalized opportunities to individuals with disabilities and substance use disorders, and to offer quality transportation services to the people who live in the communities it serves. The organization owns a social enterprise corporation, Coleman Assembly & Packaging, that provides employment opportunities for people with traditional barriers to employment; it will use this grant to improve the Gardner facility, including replacing windows and a portion of the roof, updating sprinkler heads and restrooms, and repairing and paving the driveway and parking lot.

ServiceNet (Hatfield) – $595,000

ServiceNet will use this grant to renovate facilities at the agency’s Prospect Meadow Farm to provide a modern vocational training and commercial production facility for an innovative social enterprise employing 80 participants year-round with significant disabilities. Specifically, the grant will fund facility upgrades to transform and modernize an on-site 1970s residential property to commercial capacity, allowing for increased accessibility, improved lighting and plumbing, a commercial production kitchen and packaging center, a carpentry workshop, and training, meeting, and office spaces; the grant will also fund some commercial kitchen equipment and furnishings. This project will result in increased capacity through the creation of new workspaces, creating 10-12 new jobs for individuals with disabilities.

UTEC (Lowell) – $1 million

This grant will fund renovations to UTEC’s woodworking facility in downtown Lowell that will allow the organization to double the capacity of youth served in the program, including new heating and cooling systems, exterior renovations, a new roof, a new spray booth, and new lighting, flooring, and interior partitions. UTEC will also use this grant to build classroom space for socioemotional learning instruction and other education to complement the woodshop’s hands-on learning space. The expanded facility will allow UTEC to deliver on its mission by providing additional job training slots; space and capacity to expand the diversity of products made by UTEC youth; and resources for youth to attain higher-level industry skills aligned with the region’s advanced manufacturing workforce needs.

Building Audacity (Lynn) – $260,000

Building Audacity’s “On the Grow” project includes a 1,100-square foot hydroponics growing center in Lynn, where youth learn how to grow hydroponically and become agricultural entrepreneurs, and a mobile pantry that makes regularly scheduled stops in low-income neighborhoods in Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, Lowell, and Lawrence. The organization will use this grant to buy two trucks and additional grow towers to increase the amount of produce it can grow and distribute.

Northeast Arc (Peabody) – $100,000

Northeast Arc created the ArcWorks program in 2004 in response to a need expressed by families and caregivers for inclusive, structured opportunities in the arts for the individuals and communities it serves. This grant will fund the repair and renovation of the ArcWorks Community Art Center, home of the Northeast Arc’s art-based social enterprises, as well as the purchase of additional equipment to increase product lines and expand the number of underserved individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and/or Autism employed there.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3 Million in Social Enterprise Capital Grant Program Awards to Nine Nonprofits

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.

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