Four Western Mass. Organizations Receive Grants From Mass. Medical Society

WALTHAM — Four organizations in Western Mass. are among the recipients of 13 grants totaling $246,500 recently awarded by the Mass. Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation to support medical care for the uninsured, services for the homeless, violence prevention, rape crisis counseling and education, international health studies, and financial grants to needy families. Three are receiving grants for the second time.


The foundation is a supporting organization of the Mass. Medical Society, the statewide professional association of physicians, and the MMS Alliance, the organization of physicians’ spouses committed to promoting good health among the citizens of Mass. Its mission is to support the charitable and educational activities of the Society and Alliance and address issues affecting the health, benefit, and welfare of the community.

The recipients, amounts, and purposes of the grants are as folows:

• Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Berkshires, Great Barrington, received $30,000 for a medical interpreter and outreach services to the uninsured in Southern Berkshire County. Opened in 2004, the agency’s mission is to provide free preventive health care services to the income-qualified uninsured of the Southern Berkshire region, with an all-volunteer professional staff. This is the second grant to the agency by the foundation; in 2003, VIM received $30,000 to help the agency with start-up costs.
• Food Bank of Western Mass., Hatfield, was awarded $15,000 for its Operation Frontline Program, a cooking and nutrition program for at-risk, low-income populations in Western Mass. The food bank works with 420 member agency programs, distributing about 6 million pounds of food to needy people in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. This is the agency’s second grant from the Foundation; in 2003 it was awarded $10,000 for its Youth Against Hunger Program.
• Jessie’s House, Northampton, received $9,000 to help support a licensed mental health professional for consultation with families entering the shelter system in Hampshire County. The agency provides shelter, meals, advocacy, case management, family life education, and referrals to homeless families in the county. In 2003, the agency received $10,000 from the foundation for parenting skills and child-development programs.
• Community Health Center, Franklin County, Turners Falls, received $7,500 to promote access to health care for underserved populations at risk of becoming homeless. The center’s mission is to provide comprehensive preventive and primary care services to all residents of Franklin County who need or desire such services without regard to income, insurance status, ability to pay, or past medical history.