March 2016 Newsletter

March 2016 Newsletter

What’s up with Worcester’s Girls?

The Daniels’ Foundation’s strategic focus on girls, ages 11-15, began about a decade ago.  Each year we solicit grant requests for a three year program targeting this strategic area of interest, and fund one program $225,000 over three years.  It is partially because of our ongoing and strong commitment to girls that the agencies servicing girls in Worcester have become increasingly collaborative.  Investing in Girls Alliance (IIGA) is the result of this collaboration. Click here to find out more about IIGA.

The mission of the Investing in Girls Alliance is to improve services for middle school girls in central Massachusetts through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. The ultimate vision of the IIGA is that all girls grow up to be happy, healthy, and productive.

The three priority areas of IIGA are health (physical, mental, sexual), education and economic empowerment, and violence and safety. Physical, mental, and sexual health are core to girl’s well-being and good health provides the foundation for girls’ achievements throughout her lifetime. Education and economic empowerment gives girls the tools and opportunities they need to be in charge of their lives and actively engage in their families and communities. Violence and safety ensures the safety of girls where they grow, learn, work, and play and is essential to girls’ success.

Capital, with a Capital C

Each year the Foundation gives away more than $1 million. About ½ is given to causes and programs of all types – social welfare, health, education, workforce development, and more. Another 30% is given to support the girls, and another 20% to capital requests – bricks, mortar and durable equipment.

Back in the early days the Foundation gave a substantially higher percentage to capital efforts. Why? A couple of reasons, actually. First, our founders were major industrialists in the city, and as such they also sat on the boards of all the major institutions. That made them the primary target for capital giving, as they embraced their board responsibility to develop the city’s institutions.

The second reason, though, is interesting. Back at the beginning (1950’s) there were relatively few 501c(3) organizations. Certainly some existed, but much of the social welfare needs of the community were handled by the churches. It wasn’t until the era of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society (1970’s) that non-profit organizations began to accelerate their impact on communities. Today in the US there are 1.5 million not for profit organizations receiving donations totaling $358 billion dollars.

Worcester’s various institutions apply to the Daniels Foundation for Capital Grants, and we look at each one closely. No capital grant can be applied to program funds, and these are referred to the Advisory Committee for general support. All Capital Grants must be used to build buildings or purchase durable equipment. These are larger grants, usually $200-500,000, and we pay them off typically over three years. When we get full up we defer the payment start up with permission of the applicant, and once in recent years we had so many requests we announced a hiatus on applications! We typically have about ten capital grants at some stage of being paid, and we will be paying off our current book of Capital Grants until 2019.

G4 Joins the Board

Each year in December, at the annual meeting of the Foundation, the Nominating Committee proposes a slate of Directors and Officers of the Board for the upcoming year, which is then voted upon by the current Board of Directors. This portion of the annual meeting is the time when new Board members are proposed and voted onto the Board. This year, the Board of Directors voted to elect the following slate of officers to serve the Board in 2016:

President: Fred H. Daniels, II

Vice President: Meridith D. Wesby

Treasurer: Jonathan D. Blake

Secretary: David A. Nicholson

Clerk: James T. Morse

Assistant Clerk: Anne E. Wales

In addition, the Clarence line proposed a new G4 Board member to fill the twelfth seat on the Board. Wendy W. Andrews was nominated and voted onto the Board. Wendy lives in Greenfield, MA, looks forward to serving and has fond memories of annual meetings past:

“I am excited about coming aboard the Board of Directors of FHD for the mere fact that I want to help carry on the traditions of the founders and I love seeing what the money does for the community of Worcester. I’m proud to say that I am attached to the Daniels name and how the foundation has helped in so many ways for as long as we have! Having grown up in the Worcester area and worked in the downtown for nearly 20 years for the Wesby family business (I was the 6th generation and we were in business for 160 years), I understand the sense of family and the value of helping others. I am hoping to learn more about the agencies that we fund and how the monies are used to help. I know my mother Meridith has her hands in a majority of the agencies that we fund but I also know that she was instrumental in creating some of the programs that we fund and has been the FHD spokesperson as well. I have picked up on the IIGA( Investing in Girls Alliance) as one of my own interests to become involved with personally and also act as a liaison for the foundation.

“In terms of what I remember as a kid growing up and how the foundation worked… Well I knew it was a lot of work, given the amount of time that my mother spent preparing for meetings and/or going to meetings, but the one thing that I remember most was the shrimp cocktail at the Goddard Daniels House after the annual meetings… Plus I always loved that house so when I got married the first time, my reception was held there, very nice. It is an honor to be a member of the Board and I hope that I can be a valuable asset to the Board and look forward to helping keep Worcester Strong!”

Welcome aboard, Wendy. The Board of Directors looks forward to your contributions in 2016 and beyond.

G4 Fund Trains Peers to Teach Homeless Teens

The current G4 Fund team is comprised of 6 members from the 4th generation of the Fred Harris Daniels line: Laura Rutkiewicz, Barre Hardy, Ashley Gabrenas, Lindsay Blake Reardon, Sarah Drozowicz, and Amy Cook. Input and an invitation to join the G4 Fund team was solicited of all the G4’s and a survey of desired focuses for the Fund team was sent to all of the G4’s.The fourteen responses were compiled and the 2 top focuses of homelessness and education were decided upon.

Many agencies in the Worcester area were researched with the result of 20 RFPs sent out to 20 different agencies in July. Of those 20 eight submitted a proposal, but 4 were immediately eliminated because they were not in line with the requested mission. The group unanimously identified the Peer Leadership and Outreach Training proposal submitted by Luk, Inc. as the strongest submission.

At the September quarterly meeting of the Daniels foundation, the board of directors agreed to accept the G4s proposal to give Luk, Inc. $25,000 each year for 3 years for a total of $75,000 in all. This program is structured to train Peers to be street outreach workers. Being between the ages of 18 to 24 years old and having had homeless experiences, they are the perfect outreach workers who will be able to identify and gain the confidence of youths who are at risk and need to be connected with helpful services. Additionally, the peers will present an education piece focused on prevention of housing instability to 50 WPS students, ages 12 – 15. The aim is to prevent homelessness and to provide education and solutions for coping with traumatic and emotional situations. A progress report will be requested from Luk, Inc. on a semi-annual timetable.

A conference call of the G4 group was held on Wed., Jan. 20, 2016, and it was decided unanimously to continue to focus on homelessness and education for the next two cycles, since there is such an enormous need in the Worcester area. The group hopes to be able to work with some of the other agencies who submitted RFPs and were in line with the requests of the group. If any G4s would like to join the team, they are always welcome. We will catch you up quickly, and your input will be valued!

What Have We Done Now?

At the December 2015 meeting the Daniels Foundation voted to support Fab Lab at Quinsigamond Community College, helping QCC become the first community college in Massachusetts to join the Fab Lab network, as well as the only Massachusetts Fab Lab outside of the Boston area. Fab Labs, a vision born out of MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld, house technical equipment for digital fabrication using interconnected, open-source software.

The QCC Fab Lab is located inside QCC’s QuEST center that opened in January of 2016. The QuEST center is a 30,000 square foot, a STEM facility on the main Worcester campus, the construction of which was supported by a capital grant from the foundation as well as a $23 million state bond.

At the December, 2015, meeting, the board voted a $60,000 grant to support the purchase of core equipment for the Fab Lab. This equipment includes 3-D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC routers, CNC wire bending machines, and a precision milling machine. Get details here:

Wrap Up

That’s it for now! We hope to release a similar e-letter quarterly. Give Fred some feedback on this one by clicking here. What other information would you like? How can we engage you more effectively?

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