Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Governor Charlie Baker, Local Officials Annouce Essex County Community Foundation Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund Columbia Gas contributes $10 million to provide support to community

Lawrence – Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker joined Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Andover and North Andover Town Managers Andrew Flanagan and Andrew Maylor, officials from the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), state agencies and non-profit organizations to announce the establishment of a humanitarian relief fund to be named the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. The Fund will help serve the short and medium term needs of impacted residents, including housing, sustenance and support services.


“It is our top priority to provide Merrimack Valley residents affected by this tragedy with the proper assistance and support to meet their needs during this difficult time,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This fund will help us continue to work together with state agencies, local officials and non-profits to coordinate local recovery efforts underway as we determine both long and short-term solutions.”


Today, they joined Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant to announce a $10 million contribution by Columbia Gas to the new Disaster Relief Fund being established to coordinate relief efforts and provide resources in the community.


“ECCF was ready and able to respond to this tragedy right away with the already existing Lawrence Emergency Fund,” said Beth Francis, president and CEO of Essex County Community Foundation. “But it quickly became clear that the scope and magnitude of the Sept. 13 fires would require a wider purpose of support with a specific objective. The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will allow us all to work together to respond to the complex and fluid needs that will last for the weeks and months ahead for all those affected.”


Over the weekend and leading up to Monday’s announcement, a panel of 21 state and local government officials and nonprofit leaders met to organize a system for how the needs of those affected can be most effectively met. Plans for the execution of the new Fund will be communicated by the end of the week.


Participating state agencies and organizations will include the American Red Cross, MassHousing, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Children and Families, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council and the Essex County Community Foundation.


Donations for the Sept. 13 fire victims are currently being made to the Lawrence Emergency Fund, a well-established fund opened in 2009 to respond to emergencies such as fires in the City of Lawrence, at


Once the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund is formally activated, the donations will be combined. Both funds will support the work of meeting the needs of people affected in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.


For more information, please call Essex County Community Foundation at 978.777.8876.



About ECCF


The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to strengthen the communities of Essex County. We do this by promoting philanthropy and managing charitable assets, making grants and engaging in strategic community leadership. Since 1998, ECCF and its family of more than 200 charitable funds have granted $60 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s nearly 800,000 residents. Learn more at