Danvers, MA – Summertime just got a little sweeter for nearly 6,500 youth in Greater Lawrence.
The Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund (GLSF), a fund of the Essex County Community Foundation, recently announced that it will give $302,050 to support programming that enriches out-of-school time for youth ages 2-22 in Andover, North Andover, Lawrence and Methuen.
“Year after year, The Betty Beland Greater Lawrence Summer Fund ensures that kids and young adults in the Greater Lawrence area have a fun and productive summer,” said Carol Lavoie Schuster, ECCF’s assistant manager of grants and services. “We are so proud of this fund, the collective impact of donors who support the program; and of the programming that has made such a positive impact on the community.”
Since its inception in 1990, GLSF – founded by Betty Beland, former administrator of the Stevens Foundation in North Andover – has raised and distributed over $4 million to summer programs in Greater Lawrence. Its goal is to make a significant, positive impact on out-of-school time for area youth by supporting quality educational programming; discouraging unhealthy youth behaviors by providing safe, summer alternatives; and reducing summer learning loss, which has been shown to widen the achievement gap between low-income youth and their more affluent peers.
This year, 43 programs – from youth theater camps to outdoor adventures, and everything in between – are being funded through GLSF. The all-volunteer grant committee looks for organizations that serve low-income and urban youth; provide young people with opportunities for growth and new experiences; and encourage interaction among youth and staff from different ethnic and racial backgrounds.
“The Committee also wants to maximize the impact of philanthropic dollars,” added Lavoie Schuster. “Donors should know that their gifts are making a real difference.”
Thanks to GLSF, fulltime residents of St. Ann’s Home and School in Methuen will have the opportunity to spend a week on Cape Cod. The Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence will be able to offer an affordable, 8-week summer program for Lawrence youth to explore learning and enrichment activities. Kids at risk and children with special needs will participate in a program that allows them to take care of and ride horses, work in the garden and pick fresh vegetables at Windrush Farm in North Andover. But this is only a fraction of the programming that the GLSF and ECCF are able to help Greater Lawrence nonprofits provide to area youth.
“There are so many worthy programs,” said Lavoie Schuster. “They all do great work and we’re thrilled to help so many of them provide these much-needed services to youth in Greater Lawrence."
For a full listing of GLSF-funded programs, visit www.eccf.org/glsf-recent-grants.