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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Regional Pilot Project Grant Awards to Support Economic Recovery

Total of $5 million in grants awarded to 37 municipalities and non-profits to assist with development of regional recovery strategies
For immediate release:
4/15/2021
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Massachusetts Office of Business Development
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Regional Pilot Project Grant Awards to Support Economic Recovery

Michael Verseckes, Director of Media and Public Relations

Regional Pilot Project Grants

BOSTONToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced 37 grants totaling $5 million were awarded to cities, towns, and non-profit entities through the Regional Pilot Project Grant Program.  This program was established to support recovery solutions based on the specific economic needs of individual regions of the Commonwealth and was designed to fund projects that uniquely address local concerns.  Applicants were asked to define a major issue associated with the economic recovery of a particular region and propose a solution.  Among the awarded proposals are projects to support regional supply chain resiliency and the creation of small business support networks, as well as support to market the distinguishing features and strengths of the Commonwealth on a regional basis.
 
“With the assistance of the Regional Pilot Project Grant Program, our administration looks forward to continuing to build on our progress toward economic recovery across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “These grants will empower recipients to leverage their own local expertise to tailor recovery strategies that support the unique needs of each region of Massachusetts.” 
 
“As we continue to navigate COVID-19 and work toward our recovery, our administration remains committed to supporting residents, businesses and municipalities in every region of our Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.  “We are pleased to announce $5 million in Regional Pilot Project Grants, helping 37 cities, towns and non-profit organizations develop and implement strategies to ensure a strong recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.”
 
The competitive program accepted applications from cities and towns, public entities, and non-profit organizations.  Awards were made according to several factors, including an ability to demonstrate a collaborative approach on strategies to support recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis.  Additionally, successful applications drew ties to one or more of the four pillars of the administration’s plan to spur economic recovery from the pandemic, Partnerships for Recovery: Get Massachusetts Back to Work, Support Small Businesses, Revitalize Downtowns, and Foster Innovation.
 
Grant award totals varied based on each applicant’s request, with awards limited to a maximum of $250,000.  The Regional Pilot Project Grant Program was funded through the Commonwealth’s fiscal year 2021 operating budget signed by Governor Baker in December 2020.
 
“Partnerships have been key to the success of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, and the Regional Pilot Project Grant Program is one more way for the state to support and encourage the kind of collaboration that will lead to economic recovery, resiliency, and growth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “In order to ensure an equitable and full recovery in every region of Massachusetts, our administration will continue to embrace locally-driven initiatives to address the challenges and unlock the opportunities that will usher in a ‘new normal’ that benefits all communities and residents.”
 
"Each of the grant projects in Metro West exemplify the benefits of public-private partnerships and the full range of collaboration to be found in the Commonwealth," said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. "These grant recipients have a demonstrated track record as leaders creating access to otherwise unavailable expertise. As we continue to go 'back to better,' it is so critical that businesses are able to raise their profile in the community and be involved in our region's full economic recovery."
 
“As we approach brighter days ahead, restoring the economic loss caused by COVID-19 is a main priority for us,” said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano. “The Massachusetts House has been proud to lead and support initiatives that put us on a path toward economic recovery. Through programs like these, and many of the initiatives included in our budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, we are providing our municipalities and nonprofits the opportunity to advance projects they know will help their local economies. I look forward to seeing the awardees develop their recovery strategies, and the positive impact they will have as we all work toward long-term recovery.”
 
Awardee List
 

Lead Applicant

Region

Communities Served

Award Amount

Project Description

495/Metro West Corridor Partnership, Inc.

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

36 communities served by 495MWP

$36,750

To develop a regional 495/MetroWest Supply Chain Directory, an online informational resource focused on enhancing information about business entities located within the region at several different points of a supply chain, aimed at supporting regional supply chain resiliency.

Amherst Business Improvement District

Western

Amherst, Pelham, Leverett

$175,000

To lease the largest and most prominent building in downtown Amherst and create a multi-faceted destination, economic, and job-enhancing anchor. The space will include live performance space, a market, artisans and incubator space, four artists in residence and teacher space, and a small bistro/café.

Arts Extension Institute

Western

Montague, Springfield, North Adams

$185,934

To create an “Online Regional ArtsHub,” an online portal for artists, arts and cultural organizations, and creative-economy businesses to find jobs, resources, customers, and collaboration opportunities.

Belchertown Community Alliance, Inc.

Western

Ware, Belchertown

$40,000

To develop a multimedia interactive mobile app that will support revitalization of economic growth through virtual and regional tourism in Belchertown and Ware.

Bridgewater State University

Southeast, Greater Boston

Bridgewater, Brockton

$110,000

To develop the “Bear’s Den” Business Plan Competition to help women, minorities, and ESL individuals create, finance, and build their own small business.

Bristol County Chamber Foundation

Southeast

New Bedford, Hyannis, Swansea, Fall River, Barnstable

$125,000

For "MarketShare" to expand the services and strengthen the operations of four organizations that actively assist small businesses grow their customer base and provide outlets for their goods and services in the South Coast and lower Cape region.

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Greater Boston

Cambridge, Somerville

$160,000

For the creation of a multifaceted “Cambridge-Somerville COVID Resilience & Recovery Urban Partnership” to raise public awareness about the urban resurgence of two commercial districts. This partnership will create a comprehensive marketing program that directly benefits those business sectors most impacted by the ongoing global pandemic.

Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce

Northeast

Manchester, Gloucester, Essex, Rockport

$180,000

To form "Cape Ann ComeBack," a collaborative and integrated business empowerment and marketing initiative for the Cape Ann region, to help the Cape Ann business community make a strong recovery from the severe economic impacts of the pandemic.

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC)

Central, Western

Worcester, Charlton, Rutland, Upton, Barre, North Brookfield

$53,530

To allow the CMRPC to centralize information and resources, be the aggregator connecting suppliers to buyers in the proposed framework; Partner with WPI’s Business Digitization Program to build resiliency in the buy-local market in Central Massachusetts.

City of Lowell

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

Lowell, Chelmsford

$150,000

A marketing campaign of the City of Lowell’s diverse business and art community to improve the region's image, tourism, economic development, and civic pride through social media and neighborhood activation and place-making.

City of Newton

Greater Boston

Newton, Needham

$133,380

To develop and implement a program to activate approximately five to eight vacant storefronts as pop-up retail and/or innovation centers.

City of Quincy

Greater Boston

Milton, Quincy

$116,000

Retain consultant services to assess about 30 businesses on current digital marketing and provide a plan and technical assistance to about 10 businesses on digital and social media.

Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Inc.

Western

Springfield, Holyoke

$175,000

To launch the “Western Massachusetts Anchor Collaborative," a group of business leaders that will promote investment and activities that build economic equity through initiatives that hire and promote residents from targeted neighborhoods in Holyoke and Springfield, creating business opportunities for local, diverse
vendors, aiding recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Essex County Community Foundation

Northeast

Gloucester, Ipswich, Lynn, Salem

$229,250

EssexCountyCreates/Virtual project: a centralized system that will distribute and promote the region’s digital creative content, expand digital audiences and patrons for artists, nonprofits, and cultural groups; enable gig and creative workers to monetize their work, and contribute to the recovery of the region’s creative economy.

Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce

Central, Western

Ashburnham, Barre, Gardner, Hubbardston, Templeton, Westminster, Winchendon

$73,910

To create the "Build with Us, Grow with Us" campaign to promote the advantages, affordability and ready assets of the region. The marketing effort is intended to attract businesses from outside our area, with a focus on the MetroWest and greater Worcester regions.

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce

Western

Easthampton, Northampton, Amherst

$80,026

To replicate and expand the Northampton's “413 Takeout” marketing campaign to other cities. The campaign is designed to help local restaurants get to the other side of the pandemic or at least to warmer days when outdoor dining will allow many of them to accommodate more customers.  Current focus is on promoting customer support by encouraging routine takeout orders.

Greenfield Community College

Western

Greenfield, Orange, Athol

$175,000

To create "Greater Franklin County Rural Innovation Accelerator," which will design and deliver programs/services for individuals and communities throughout Franklin County.

Hispanic-American Institute, Inc.

Northeast

Chelsea, Lynn, Salem, Haverhill, Springfield, Peabody, Revere, Lawrence, Taunton, Brockton

$175,000

Assemble a diverse team to provide one-on-one counseling, workshops, trainings, and have an online portal for minority businesses that seek to restore or start new businesses.

Lawrence Partnership, Inc.

Metro West, Merrimack Valley, Greater Boston

Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, Methuen, Haverhill,  Boston

$250,000

Help at-risk food-based businesses to increase their digital business capacity so that they survive the pandemic and are positioned for long-term success. Three-pronged approach consists of: subsidizing and connecting E-commerce solutions; creating pathways to affordable consultant support; and developing and delivering
webinars, resources, and technical assistance.

MA Innovation Network

Metro West, Merrimack Valley, Central

Hudson, Maynard, Stow

$130,000

To create "Assabet Valley Innovation Alliance (AVIA)" that would develop a sustainable, interdependent local network; foster an innovative way of thinking, especially in the youth population, and spark innovative and regional cross-sector activities.

Marshfield Chamber of Commerce

Southeast, Greater Boston

Marshfield, Scituate

$75,000

To start an “Open for Business” campaign via videos and social media to support struggling small businesses. Will include digitalization of the Marshfield and Scituate Chamber community guides, which will serve as a resource for community members to find and support local restaurants, retail shops, fitness facilities, and service organizations.

Middlesex 3 Coalition

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lowell, Lexington, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford

$100,000

For the creation of B2B videos to encourage spending locally; make short videos highlighting downtowns and region; update online resources to centralize employment resources.

Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce

Cape & Islands

Nantucket, Martha Vineyard

$175,000

Islands’ “Tap into Technology” project is a grant award program to provide eight grants of $7,500 on each island for a total of 16. The project will allow grantees to assess, select, and then fully leverage the right technology for their businesses to create safe and positive customer experiences.

Neponset River Regional Chamber

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

Canton, Norwood, Dedham, Westwood

$95,000

“Regional Restaurant Week” in May 2021 - A social media campaign highlights all participating restaurants on a dedicated Restaurant Week webpage; cross-promotional opportunities for non-restaurants in our downtowns will also be included.

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation

Central

Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster

$184,000

To provide support, capacity building, access to capital, and other services to the underserved minority community that has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including giving mini grants to businesses

Old Colony Planning Council

Southeast, Greater Boston

Avon, Halifax, West Bridgewater, Brockton

$71,220

To replicate the "Easton Outside" and "We are open for business" campaigns to other cities and towns to drive consumers to local restaurants, businesses, arts and recreational venues.

South Shore Chamber of Commerce

Greater Boston

Rockland, Scituate, Weymouth

$200,000

Create and promote a series of rotating excursions within the region for the summer and possibly into fall. Each will emphasize a specific theme of popular interest such as open space, recreation, history, housing, the arts, and food industry.

The MA LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Western

Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke

$200,000

Seek to replicate one-on-one business assistance model that has proven
successful in Boston by providing trainings,  consulting, mentorship, and  funding opportunities for
LGBTQ+ small businesses.

Town of Ashland

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

Ashland, Natick, Framingham

$250,000

To create a Business Marketing Technical Assistance Program that would pair marketing professionals with small business owners to help them with a range of branding, marketing, website, and social media assistance.

Town of Burlington

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

Burlington, Bedford

$198,000

For the creation of a regional workforce development program in life sciences and healthcare sectors that offers subsidized training for low to moderate income residents (25 participants @ $7,500 /per).

Town of Cohasset

Greater Boston

Cohasset, Hull

$85,000

To create a website and expand Cohasset’s e-gift card pilot project into Hull that would drive customers to both retail and restaurants between the two communities.

Town of Franklin

Metro West

Franklin, Wrentham

$188,000

To establish a regional Pop-up Shop Initiative: LAUNCH Franklin & LAUNCH Wrentham, by using vacant storefront to increase foot traffic in these areas, provide opportunities for small businesses to expand their reach, support small business growth

Town of Hamilton

Northeast

Hamilton, Wenham

$50,000

To launch an integrated marketing campaign focusing on promoting and revitalizing struggling Hamilton and Wenham businesses.

Town of Templeton

Central, Western

Templeton, Phillipston

$5,000

To create "Montachusett.TV," a regional web site that will support local businesses by providing an electronic marketplace and business catalog, enabling local vendors to recover lost sales from the pandemic and thrive in the long-term; will also collaborate with Multimedia Lab for area school students to learn media technologies hands-on, with the goal of establishing a high-tech Workforce Development program with the local Mount Wachusett Community College.

Town of Webster

Central

Webster, Dudley

$40,000

To create a Webster/Dudley Entrepreneur Support Micro-Grant program, providing micro grants (six to 10) to local entrepreneurs in Webster to support or begin a new business in both towns.

Town of Westford

Metro West, Merrimack Valley

Westford, Acton, Littleton, Maynard, Boxboro

$150,000

To expand the current "Childcare Subsidy Assistance" program to low- and moderate-income residents. Program was initially funded by a CDBG grant aimed at providing COVID-19 relief to the region. Provide direct financial relief to households struggling due to employment loss, reduction in hours, and health problems.

Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

Central

Worcester, Leicester

$180,000

To formalize a one-stop shop of incubator and accelerator ecosystem in Central MA, named "Massachusetts Startup Consortium.” The funding will go toward collaborative regional marketing efforts, incubator space and membership vouchers, programming, a new website, and compensation for the partner programs who do so much for our business community.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Regional Pilot Project Grant Awards to Support Economic Recovery

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.

Massachusetts Office of Business Development 

The Massachusetts Office of Business Development assists businesses relocating to Massachusetts as well as businesses wishing to expand their current operations, with specific attention being paid to jobs created, jobs retained, and capital invested. Our team provides a highly responsive, central point of contact that facilitates access to resources, expertise, and incentive programs.

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

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