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MCS Early Childhood Grants First Recipient of Chatham Fund Award

By: Tim Wood

Monomoy Community Services will receive the first grant awarded by the newly established Chatham Fund.

The agency will use the $3,500 to restore an early childhood scholarship program that lost its funding last year.

“Last year, we lost funding for an early childhood scholarship (The Roger Pollock Scholarship),” said MCS Executive Director, Theresa Malone, “and although we did have some benefactors come forward, it wasn’t enough to create an endowment. Now, along with private contributions, the Chatham Fund award will serve to resurrect this much needed resource.”

The Pollock scholarship program was established 15 years ago and provided financial assistance to Chatham families to help cover the rising cost of childcare and nursery school. More than 180 families benefited from the scholarship, most receiving modest awards of $1,500 to $2,000.

Last year a bank took over the estate of the woman who funded the program and dropped the annual $20,000 donation. Malone said a few private donors stepped forward and contributed about $10,000; the Chatham Fund award will be added to that amount, and she anticipates about $5,000 being available for scholarships for the next two years.

Malone said she received a call recently from Chris Rhinesmith, who chairs the Chatham Fund’s advisory committee, notifying her that the group wanted to make its first award to MCS.

“We’re feeling quite lucky,” she said, adding that the Chatham 300 Committee, which provided the Chatham Fund with two sizeable donations recently, has also pledged money to MCS, although the amount won’t be known until the tercentennial group closes its financial books.

The Chatham Fund, administered by the Cape Cod Foundation, was established by a group of residents to set up a permanent endowment to benefit the community. It received a gift of $35,000 from the Chatham 300 group to distribute as annual $3,500 grants over the next decade, as well as another $40,000 donation towards the Chatham Fund endowment, which now stands at about $200,000 in pledges and gifts. The Fund will seek to continue to grow through planned gifts and bequests rather than annual appeals.

The MCS grants is an opportunity to have an immediate impact on the community as the Chatham Fund works toward creating a sustainable endowment, according to a press release. When the goal is reached, the Fund will award local grants annually in perpetuity.

The Chatham Fund is committed to working cooperative with local nonprofits with similar missions to address the needs of the community, said Rhinesmith.

“It’s important that we aren’t viewed as a competitor to other local non-profits,” he said. “We are here to support, not to compete. We bring another approach to community fund raising that we believe will yield a perpetual pool of assets moving forward, to address the needs of Chatham’s residents from generation to generation.”

The benefit of the grant, Malone said, is that the money will go right to the families who need it, not to MCS. She anticipates providing the early childhood grants to Chatham families as a first priority, especially those in emergency situations. An announcement on the availability of grant applications will be made prior to the start of school vacation the week of February 17.

“It’s a pretty quick turnaround,” she said of the process.

Gifts to the Chatham Fund can be designated for either endowment or grantmaking. For more information contact the Chatham Fund at the Cape Cod Foundation at 508-790-3040 or info@capecodfoundation.org.

“Last year, we lost funding for an early childhood scholarship and although we did have some benefactors come forward, it wasn’t enough to create an endowment. Now, along with private contributions, the Chatham Fund award will serve to resurrect this much needed resource.”
— Monomoy Community Services Executive Director, Theresa Malone

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