New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund Delivers $775,000 to Cultivate Equitable Policies in Massachusetts
December 14, 2022
Gifts will be awarded to leading research organizations, institutions and policy advocates
BOSTON — Today, the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund (NCF) — a funding and support resource for Black, Latino and Indigenous entrepreneurs, innovators, and nonprofits — announced the allocation of $775,000 to three new partners working to dismantle systemic racism, the Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, Health Equity Compact; and a joint investment with United Way in the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.
These grants will help advance the work of each organization in identifying harmful policies that need reform, increasing socio-economic wellbeing, and developing pipelines to long-term wealth-building opportunities for Black and Brown communities across the Commonwealth.
“This investment in Massachusetts’ legislative experts, researchers, and educators will allow us to reshape practices impacting every aspect of Black and Brown lives across our state,” said Dr. Makeeba McCreary, president of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund. “Not only do we look forward to future collaborations with these amazing organizations, but we are proud to connect industry experts with the resources they need to create systemic change. Ultimately, our goal for these – and all of our – investments is to serve as a funding model that shifts the trajectory of equity toward Black and Brown communities across the nation.”
The Boston University Center for Antiracist Research will receive a $600,000 grant from United Way and NCF to develop a racial (RPT) policy tracker in Massachusetts, as part of a collaboration that will focus on youth justice throughout three phases: 1) The Center’s own political and policy research and analysis of racist neighborhood- and school-based policies that pipeline young people into the criminal legal system; 2) utilizing the Center’s national Racial Policy Tracker blueprint and methodology to define the collection of analysis of data for policies that will be implemented in the launch of the Massachusetts RPT; 3) a public release of the Massachusetts RPT, along with potential deliverables such as model legislation and policy reports for stakeholders and state-level policymakers to engage.
“The Center is pleased to accept this generous grant and be in partnership with United Way and NCF,’’ said Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, founder and director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. “With this funding, the Massachusetts Racial Policy Tracker can analyze and challenge racially disparate policies that impact the young people in our most vulnerable communities.’’
“United Way is committed to being a force for economic justice in our region, grounding our work in equity and a vision of prosperity across race and ethnicity,’’ said Bob Giannino, President and CEO at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “This partnership with the New Commonwealth Fund and the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research presents a unique opportunity to engage with communities and analyze data to confront racist policies and develop recommendations that advance youth justice across Massachusetts.’’
To advance higher education and job development opportunities in the STEM field, The New Commonwealth Social Justice and Equity Fund is granting $150,000 to the Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology, a Minority Serving Institution that serves a student body with 74% students of color and 45% first-generation college students. The grant will help to support the creation of Benjamin Franklin Institute for Technology’s early exposure programming for high school students intended to build awareness of career opportunities in the life sciences and encourage future enrollment -along with NCF-supported scholarships- and curriculum design for BFIT’s new Biotechnology degree program. The funding will also bolster the development of an industrial design pathway at BFIT in collaboration with Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design, the nation’s first historically Black college or university ever to be reopened.
“We are grateful to The New Commonwealth Fund for this funding that will create a pathway to opportunity for our students in the life science industry, which begins with awareness of and encouragement towards STEM-based careers in high school and continues through to our well-prepared alumni securing good jobs and enjoying fulfilling careers in the rapidly changing workforce,” said Dr. Aisha Francis, president and CEO of Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology.
The Health Equity Compact will also receive $25,000 in funding to advance the coalition’s efforts to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable health outcomes, resources, and services in Massachusetts. The gift will support the coalition — which includes more than 50 Black and Latinx leaders such as Mass League of Community Health Centers’ President & CEO Michael Curry, and Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Juan Lopera, as well as The New Commonwealth’s Fund own McCreary — as it pushes for health equity reform through policy changes in governance, measurement, workforce, healthcare payment and deliver reform, coverage and access, and the social determinants of health. The coalition is currently drafting legislative language for an “omnibus” health equity reform bill that will be filed this upcoming session.
“COVID-19 has confirmed two very important facts. The first is that disparities and the inequities in healthcare and health outcomes are the critical issues of our time, as communities of color suffer longer and die at higher rates for almost every disease. Second, we can do something about it if we act with a sense of urgency and bring people with lived experiences to the table,” said Michael Curry, CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and co-founder of the Health Equity Compact. “The New Commonwealth Fund’s investment will support Commonwealth residents’ participation in the Compact’s regional health equity forums, aimed at building this growing movement for transformational change.”
The grants are the latest in a series of investments by NCF to accelerate access to equitable and safe health care, advance justice reform, bolster youth development and cultural enrichment, and economic empowerment. To date, NCF has committed nearly $8M to its nonprofit partners, including a recent allocation of an additional $3 million to 54 members in its inaugural cohort of nonprofit partners. NCF has also embarked on a five-year-long partnership with Mass General Brigham to advance maternal health equity and support practitioners. Since launching in 2020, NCF has supported approximately 81 entrepreneurs, innovators, and nonprofit leaders.
About The New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund
The New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund (NCF) is a funding and support resource for Black, Latino, and Indigenous entrepreneurs, innovators, and non-profits. Together we are addressing systemic racism and racial inequality while fostering inclusion, representation, opportunity and prosperity for Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities in Massachusetts. Visit for more information. Follow the conversation on our website, LinkedIn page and on Twitter @NCFMass. Launched in 2020 by a coalition of Black and Brown executives from Massachusetts, amid the dueling crises of the Covid-19 pandemic and police brutality, and other racially charged incidents across the country. Additional details on the New Commonwealth Fund Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund grant recipients list.
About the Center of Antiracist Research at Boston University
The Center for Antiracist Research (CAR) at Boston University is where academic research meets antiracist action. Directed by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, we convene researchers and practitioners from various disciplines to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice. CAR fosters exhaustive racial research, research-based policy innovation, data-driven educational and advocacy campaigns, and narrative-change initiatives. We are working toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all. For more information, visit bu.edu/antiracism-center and follow us on Instagram @antiracismctr.
About The Health Equity Compact
The Health Equity Compact brings together over 50 Black and Latinx leaders across a diverse set of Massachusetts health organizations, including hospitals, health centers, payers, academic institutions and public health who share lived experience, professional expertise and the common purpose of advancing health equity in Massachusetts. The Compact seeks to right structural inequities and transform the health system via breakthrough policy and practice change. The Compact advocates for shared responsibility and collective action to build a more equitable and healthy future for all.