In 1987, a group of prominent community leaders, including Irving Rogers, Jr., Judge E. Fenton, Jr., Rev. John Deegan, O.S.A., Betty Beland and Tom Caffrey, established the Greater Lawrence Community Foundation. Their vision was to support nonprofits who serve Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill, Amesbury, Salisbury and all of the Valley's communities. In 1995, with a new level of outreach, its name was changed to the Merrimack Valley Community Foundation. In 2004, the Foundation merged its $1.3 million in assets with Essex County Community Foundation and became the Merrimack Valley General Fund. The fund continues in the mission it was founded for: that people local to the valley would direct these philanthropic monies to local agencies and causes. Today the grants committee boasts members with deep roots in the community, a number of whom have been involved in the fund since its foundation days.
The Merrimack Valley General Fund (MVGF) provides grants to nonprofit organizations serving the Massachusetts (Eastern) Merrimack Valley communities of: Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill , Andover, North Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, West Newbury, Merrimac, Amesbury, Newburyport, Newbury and Salisbury. Because the Merrimack Valley Community Foundation started as the Greater Lawrence Community Foundation there is an emphasis on supporting agencies in the communities of Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, Methuen and Haverhill.
Since merging with ECCF, the Merrimack Valley General Fund has awarded over $500,000 to support nonprofit programs serving its communities.
2016 Merrimack Valley General Fund Grants Committee
Rick Blain North Andover
Peter Caruso Andover
Sheila Doherty Andover
William (Bill) Gillen Andover
Patricia Karl North Andover
Walkiria Manzueta Methuen
William (Bill) Masterson North Andover
Daniel Murphy North Andover
Marianne Paley Nadel Chestnut Hill
John Smolak North Andover