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Emergency Fund

Emergency Fund

Essex County Community Foundation Emergency Grants offer assistance on a one-time basis to nonprofit organizations located within Essex County, MA. These selective, modest grants are based on critical need.

Program Priorities

The Emergency Fund assists nonprofits with a short-term urgent funding need created by an unforeseen event(s) that has or will significantly interrupt essential services. Examples of unforeseen events include natural disasters, but are not limited to, (e.g. fire, flood, tornado, storm damage, loss of utilities) and emergency needs (e.g. phase-out costs associated with closing a program due to a sudden loss of funding, equipment failure, civil disturbance).


Requests may be submitted at any time by Massachusetts 501(c)3 agencies located in and serving Essex County citizens. ECCF does not discriminate. We support organizations that use all reasonable efforts to recruit, hire, train, promote and serve persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, except where such status is a bona fide qualification for the service being provided and is related to the organization's mission.

Generally, Emergency Fund Grants are not awarded:

  • To 'bail out' agencies because of mismanagement or poor planning
  • For budget shortfalls
  • To assist individuals
  • For costs associated with programs or services provided to citizens outside of Essex County
  • For sectarian or religious purposes
  • For political purposes
  • To support ongoing program work
  • To pay expenses that should have anticipated by that group.

Selection Criteria

When reviewing Emergency Grant proposals we look for:

  • Organizations that have the capacity to respond to the existing emergency, and present a sensible recovery plan along with a sound financial plan.
  • Organizations and programs that meet a documented need of Essex County citizens.

Emergency Fund Grants can be awarded for up to $5,000. An agency may not receive Emergency Funds more than once in a five-year period.

Application Deadline

There are no deadlines for Emergency Assistance Grants. Requests can be made at any time.

Application Procedures

To initiate a request, an agency representative must contact ECCF's Associate VP for Grants & Services at 978-777-8876 or c.lavoieschuster@eccf.org, and provide an initial explanation of the emergency situation. If the situation is considered to potentially meet Emergency Fund criteria, the agency is invited to submit a proposal.  Please do not submit an application unless you are invited to apply.

Emergency Fund applications must include the materials outlined below. Additional information may be requested. If the emergency is due to a fire or other disaster which has destroyed all records and/or equipment for producing a proposal, an interview or site visit will be arranged.

Proposal Format

Proposals should be submitted in paper AND electronic format:

  • Electronic format - Electronic submission should include the cover page submitted as a word document, and the proposal narrative, budget and all attachments in one PDF file. Include in the name of the organization in this electronic file(s). Email proposals to c.lavoieschuster@eccf.org.


Download the Application. It should describe:

  • A brief history and mission of the organization.
  • The nature of the emergency, why the situation is an emergency and, if applicable, what services and how many clients, in what geographical area, are at risk of losing services.
  • The cause of the unanticipated or non-budgeted costs for which there are no other resources, what needs to be done to address the emergency and why these specific funds will only be needed once.
  • The past sources of the agency's resources and attempts to exhaust these and other options to cover the funding need and any other funders sought or already committed to addressing this emergency need. Include in-kind and voluntary contributions and collaborative assistance as well as financial support.
  • How ECCF funds will be used.
  • A Budget Narrative including an itemized expense and income budget for addressing the emergency. Please indicate the time period covered. Be sure to show how ECCF funds will be used.


  • Current year operating budget.
  • Board of Directors, including affiliations and email addresses.

Review Process

Requests are reviewed on an as needed basis by both the ECCF Associate VP for Grants & Services and the Chairperson of the Grants Management Committee. Their recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee for approval. Funds are disbursed upon the Executive Committee’s approval. The process usually takes one to two weeks from receipt of the application.

Reporting Requirements

A simple report describing how the funds were spent and how the agency was impacted as a result of the grant will be due one month after the funds have been expended or three months after the Emergency Grant is awarded, whichever is earlier. Access the Grant Report Form.


For more information or to discuss a proposal, please contact:

Carol Lavoie Schuster
Associate Vice President for Philanthropy
Essex County Community Foundation
175 Andover Street, Danvers MA 01923
Tel: 978-777-8876
Email: c.lavoieschuster@eccf.org