5 Dedicated Nonprofits Improving Lives In Massachusetts

Communities everywhere are enriched when their members come together to aid one another, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is no exception. The state draws strength from numerous nonprofits providing education, support, and vital resources where they're needed most. The organizations listed here, in no particular order, strive to make the state a better place for those who call it home.

Opening our list at #1 is The Greater Boston Food Bank, the largest hunger-relief organization in New England. From its distribution center in South Boston, this group sends more than sixty million pounds of food each year to local partner agencies that feed those in need. Delivery initiatives like the Brown Bag program for seniors, or School-based Pantries for young people, bring groceries directly to individuals at risk for hunger.

GBFB employs registered dietitians to ensure that its deliveries meet nutritional standards, and pairs its distribution programs with educational tools to support healthy eating. The group partners with health organizations to conduct research and provide supplemental nutrition for patients, and collaborates with other community groups to raise public awareness of food insecurity.

Our #2 is Heading Home, Boston's leading provider of emergency shelter and housing assistance for low-income individuals and families. The group offers accommodations to homeless clients while helping them to secure permanent residences, purchasing buildings for rehabilitation or renting apartments on behalf of their new occupants. The organization works with volunteer teams to turn properties into fully furnished homes ready for clients to move in.

In addition to assisting clients with finding permanent housing, Heading Home helps to connect them with social services, and offers assistance in building the skills necessary for self-sufficiency. The Economic Mobility Center provides financial education and career development services, offering free child care so families can more easily attend its workshops. The organization also provides much-needed resources for those enrolled in its programs, such as food, toiletries, and school supplies.

Entry #3 is Youth Enrichment Services, a nonprofit offering affordable sports-based youth programs for residents of the greater Boston area. Focusing on low- to moderate-income children and teens, the multi-tiered model begins in middle school with outdoor recreation activities like Operation SnowSports, which helps participants build confidence by tackling new experiences and building relationships with peers.

After introducing participants to adventure and sports activities, YES helps them deepen their abilities through multi-day outings, personalized coaching, and regional competition. The program also provides opportunities to develop leadership and workforce skills, and offers mentoring for college preparation and career planning. The Leadership Corps enables local teens to gain coaching and volunteering experience by assisting with YES activities.

At #4 we have Gould Farm, the nation's first residential therapeutic community for adults living with mental health conditions. Established in 1913 in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts, the program helps guests move toward recovery and independence, by enabling them to serve a meaningful role in a welcoming community. Residents cooperate on the farm's daily work, building relationships and confidence, and come together for a variety of recreational and social activities.

Guests receive support from experienced clinicians throughout their time at Gould Farm, and the program incorporates individual therapy sessions and recovery groups based on the needs of each client. The organization offers transitional residences for guests wanting additional support in returning to independent living, as well as an extended community program for long-term assistance. The Farm's Roadside Store and Cafe helps residents further develop their career skills through experiences in a challenging and fast-paced work environment.

We'll close with #5, MassRecycle, an organization promoting waste reduction by sharing pragmatic solutions and advocating for change. To educate the public about strategies for cutting down on garbage, the group shares informational materials and produces the MassRecycle Podcast, which features expert discussions on subjects like home composting and processing of discarded glass.

Through the Massachusetts Product Stewardship Council, the organization advocates for policies that incentivize manufacturers to design goods for environmentally friendly disposal, championing initiatives like a statewide mattress recycling program. The group's annual conference and trade show bring together industry professionals to exchange ideas about the future of sustainable waste management, and its Recycling Awards recognize outstanding achievements in the field.