When the extent of the mid-July flood devastation on local farms in the Connecticut River Valley became evident, philanthropist Harold Grinspoon swiftly pledged $50,000 toward their relief. Joined by PeoplesBank, Chick and Audrey Taylor, and others, the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation has now distributed flood-relief checks to 50 farmers impacted by the floods.
“Farmers are such wonderful folks,” Grinspoon said. “I appreciate what they’ve always contributed to the life and health of our region, and want to do my small part in supporting them through this incredibly trying time. I’m pleased to add my efforts to those of other philanthropists and institutions that have also stepped forward. Together, we can help Massachusetts farmers get back on their feet.”
Matt Bannister, senior vice president at PeoplesBank, added that, “in times of great need, it is comforting to see neighbors come together with a strong sense of community to do the right thing. Our region stands on the shoulders of our local farming community, and to see them in such need is heartbreaking. We applaud the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation for doing so much, so quickly, to help so many. We’re proud to play even a small part in their efforts.”
Focusing on the nearly 300 farms in the Local Farmer Awards network, the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation requested and then responded to farmers describing their flood-related losses. On Aug. 1, checks of up to $3,000 from the Local Farmer Awards Emergency Flood Relief Fund were in the mail to farmers impacted by the floods. This relief is the first of other significant private and public funds that will be made available to farmers in the coming weeks.
“We are so thankful to be a part of this collaborative effort to help farmers during this extremely challenging time,” said Cari Carpenter, director of the Local Farmer Awards. “All of us involved with farmers at the Grinspoon Charitable Foundation believed that getting some money in their hands quickly would be helpful to them.”
Through the Local Farmer Awards, now in its ninth year, the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, with lead partners Big Y and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, plus 12 other community funders, has invested $1,286,000 to support 572 infrastructure projects related to planting, growing, harvesting, and processing. In early 2024, farmers in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties can look forward to invitations to apply for these annual awards of up to $2,500.