Press Release

Press Release Governor Charlie Baker, Local Officials Announce Essex County Community Foundation Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund

Columbia Gas contributes $10 million to provide support to community
For immediate release:
  • Governor Charlie Baker | Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Governor's Press Office
  • Essex County Community Foundation

Media Contact for Governor Charlie Baker, Local Officials Announce Essex County Community Foundation Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund

Crystal Bates, Essex County Community Foundation

Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund

LAWRENCEThe following is a press release distributed by the Essex County Community Foundation. Media Contact: Crystal Bates, Essex County Community Foundation,, 978.777.8876.

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker joined Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Andover and North Andover Town Managers Andrew Flanagan and Andrew Maylor, officials from Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), state agencies and nonprofit organizations to announce the establishment of a humanitarian relief fund to be named the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. The Fund will help serve the short and medium term needs of impacted residents, including housing, sustenance and support services.

“It is our top priority to provide Merrimack Valley residents affected by this tragedy with the proper assistance during this difficult time,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This fund will help us bridge the gap for families and businesses facing immediate needs for support services, ranging from sustenance to housing, and will be a vital tool for recovery in the coming weeks.”  

Today, they joined Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant to announce a $10 million contribution by Columbia Gas to the new Disaster Relief Fund being established to coordinate relief efforts and provide resources in the community.  

“After the gas crisis, we are in the process of rebuilding the greater Lawrence area, both mentally and physically,” said Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera. “I want to thank Columbia Gas for living up to their corporate responsibility with this $10M donation, and I will continue to advocate and fight alongside Town Managers Maylor and Flanagan, Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito to ensure that no resident affected by the gas crisis has to worry about cost as we work to repair our communities.” 

Over the weekend and leading up to Monday’s announcement, a panel of 21 state and local government officials and nonprofit leaders met to organize a system for how the needs of those affected can be most effectively met. Plans for the execution of the new Fund will be communicated by the end of the week. 

Participating state agencies and organizations will include the American Red Cross, MassHousing, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Children and Families, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council and Essex County Community Foundation.

Donations for the Sept. 13 fire victims are currently being made to the Lawrence Emergency Fund, a well-established ECCF fund opened in 2009 to respond to emergencies such as fires in the City of Lawrence, at

“ECCF was ready and able to respond to this tragedy right away with the already existing Lawrence Emergency Fund,” said Beth Francis, president and CEO of Essex County Community Foundation. “But it quickly became clear that the scope and magnitude of the Sept. 13 fires would require a wider purpose of support with a specific objective. The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will allow us all to work together to respond to the complex and fluid needs that will last for the weeks and months ahead for all those affected.”

Once the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund is formally activated, the donations will be combined. Both funds will support the work of meeting the needs of people affected in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. 

For more information, please call Essex County Community Foundation at 978.777.8876. 

About ECCF 

The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to strengthen the communities of Essex County. We do this by promoting philanthropy and managing charitable assets, making grants and engaging in strategic community leadership. Since 1998, ECCF and its family of more than 200 charitable funds have granted $60 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s nearly 800,000 residents. Learn more at


Media Contact for Governor Charlie Baker, Local Officials Announce Essex County Community Foundation Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund

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