The Parker Foundation

LOWELL, MA — In the spring of 2022, The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation paid a total of $738,775 in grants to nonprofit organizations at work in Lowell, Massachusetts, and pledged a total of $100,000 for payment in the fall of 2022 or 2023. Some grants are listed below, with the complete list available on the Foundation’s website. All grants follow the 1944 will of Theodore Edson Parker to support vulnerable and underserved Lowell residents.

Health & Human services grants represented 32 percent of the foundation’s giving so far this year – a total of $240,000 to support vulnerable Lowellians. These grants respond to the continuing need to combat COVID-19 impacts. For example, a $75,000 grant to Mill City Grows will help it maintain and expand its garden-based programming to address increased food insecurity. A $40,000 grant to the Eliot Presbyterian Church will support its day program for those who are homeless.

The Foundation’s Equity & Inclusion Initiative—now in its sixth year—is devoted to improving equity and inclusion within the Foundation, amongst its grantees, and in the larger Lowell community.

Grants to organizations led by people of color and those that benefit immigrant/refugee communities and communities of color accounted for more than 30 percent of the grants portfolio. Funded projects include:

  • a first-year capacity-building grant to Free Soil Arts Collective, which aims to create opportunities for artists of color in the Greater Lowell area
  • a grant to the Center for Hope and Healing to support leadership programming for Black girls and young adults
  • a second-year capacity-building grant to Kids in Tech to sustain and expand afterschool computer technology clubs
  • a grant for citizenship services in Lowell and the surrounding area to Project Citizenship

A capital grant of $100,000 went to the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston to successfully purchase Western Avenue Studios & Lofts.

The Foundation is managed by its four trustees: Karen Carpenter (President), David W. Donahue, Jr. (Treasurer), Sophy Theam (Secretary), and Luis Pedroso (Trustee). The foundation’s former president, Newell Flather, passed away in 2021 after 40-years of service as chair; a commemorative news article can be found here. The Foundation also works with three Lowell-based advisors: Benjamin Opara, Maria Cunha, and Vladimir Saldana. Staffing is provided by GMA Foundations, a philanthropic advisory firm that helps private foundations and other donors increase their impact and efficiency.

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