A Guide to the Boston Resiliency Fund: A Guest Blog Post by David S. Clancy and Jonathan M. Shine

In a rapid response to the ongoing Coronavirus emergency, Boston has established a “Resiliency Fund” which is making monetary grants to applicants.

On the day of its announcement (March 16), the Fund had $10 million in contributions.[1]  The initial press release predicted that the Fund’s operation will evolve over time, but this document summarizes the basic facts now, organized into two broad categories:  Information Regarding Applications, and Information Regarding Donations

Those interested in interacting with the Fund should seek more detail from the Fund’s website and/or from the Fund itself at brf@boston.gov.

  1. Information Regarding Applications

In an “About the Fund” section of the website, the Fund describes its current focus as addressing “immediate and basic needs” in providing:  (i) food; (ii) technology to Boston public school students; and (iii) support to “first responders; front line workers; and health-care workers.”[2]

For illustration, the Fund’s grantees to date include:  Greater Boston Food Bank to expand food access for “children, families and seniors”; the Boston Public Schools ($2 million to help purchase 20,000 Chromebooks); and Boston Health Care for the Homeless to “serve those who are vulnerable or have complex needs.”[3]

The Fund predicts that it will “operate” with “a six-month horizon” but that  “the majority of its grants will be disbursed in April and May.”

At least now, the Fund is not making grants to individuals and businesses, but solely to “nonprofit partners” which are located “in the city of Boston”. [4]  A website section called “How to Submit An Interest Form” states that such organizations should:

  • Have a “demonstrated ability to quickly and efficiently serve Boston’s most vulnerable residents.”
  • “Fit[] within one of our two current focus areas.”  Here the website refers solely to the food and health-care priorities, not to the educational technology priority – the latter’s status is therefore unclear but could presumably be clarified by an interested applicant.
  • Has the ability to “[a]djust[] or expand[] service to meet the needs of Bostonians during this crisis.”
  • “Has a plan in place to implement and deliver services safely (ensuring social distance, etc.)”
  • Has the “ability to sustain services over the next 6-8 weeks.”

That same website section links to the “State of Interest Form” itself, which entails a process of answering a series of questions online.  There is a PDF “preview” of those questions here.

An organization must submit its most recent Form 990 (IRS tax return) and W-9 (Request for Taxpaper ID), and answer multiple questions about its plan, including who it serves, what neighborhoods it serves, and why “it is the most effective AND safe way to provide this service.”

Another note concerning the form:  here too, the Fund describes “two” focus areas (food and healthcare), not mentioning educational technology.  This area warrants clarification by the Fund.

  • Information Regarding Grants

The Fund’s website also contains guidance concerning donations, here.  Two notes:

  1. The Fund discourages earmarking donations for specified purposes within the Fund’s stated priorities.[5]
  2. The Fund does, however, provide instructions for making in-kind donations of medical supplies, here. (“Common Questions” — “How can I donate supplies to the City of Boston in support of first responders and other healthcare workers”).


***

David S. Clancy

In his 20-plus year career at the law firm Skadden Arps (2004-2016 as a partner), Mr. Clancy handled a wide variety of civil lawsuits in both state and federal court, both individual actions and class actions. Cases have spanned an array of industries with widely varying subject matters including alleged breach of contract, alleged sales or other misrepresentations, and employment disputes (e.g., regarding alleged trade secrets or noncompetition agreements). Mr. Clancy has also provided extensive pro bono assistance to individuals and organizations, and in 2016 won the Boston Bar Association’s President’s Award for his representation of victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in their efforts to obtain appropriate compensation from the public fund established in the aftermath of that incident (the One Fund). A former three-term member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal, Mr. Clancy has written numerous articles on legal topics. Full bio.

Jonathan M. Shine

Over a 20 year legal career at Skadden Arps and BLA Schwartz, PC, Mr. Shine has represented clients in a diverse array of civil litigation in both state and federal courts and arbitrations before JAMS, AAA and FINRA. Such matters have spanned the fields of securities investigations and litigation (representation of mutual funds in governmental investigations, evaluation of threatened domestic and international litigation on behalf of potential plaintiffs, and sales practice arbitrations involving individual investors), intellectual property (copyright and trademark enforcement matters), employment (wage act, trade secret and non-competition matters), and general business to business contractual disputes. Through his experience as a litigator at both a larger firm and a litigation boutique, Mr. Shine can provide large firm experience and work product with small firm cost-effective attentiveness. Full bio.


[1]           https://www.boston.gov/news/boston-resiliency-fund-support-residents-most-impacted-coronavirus-pandemic

[2]           https://www.boston.gov/departments/treasury/boston-resiliency-fund (“About the Fund”)

[3]           https://www.boston.gov/departments/treasury/boston-resiliency-fund (“Grants Awarded to Date”)

[4]           https://www.boston.gov/departments/treasury/boston-resiliency-fund (“Common Questions” — “I am an individual or business which has been impacted by Covid-19.  Am I eligible for the Boston resiliency fund?”).

[5]           https://www.boston.gov/departments/treasury/boston-resiliency-fund (“Common Questions” — “Can I target my donation to a specific interest area?”).