Arbella’s Social Justice Initiative
Our country and communities across New England have been forced to confront the injustices of racism, specifically pertaining to income inequality, educational gaps, joblessness, homelessness, and hunger. Given Arbella’s culture and commitment to supporting our communities, we believe in the importance of taking an active part in the efforts to make our communities more open, fair, and supportive of all people. The Arbella Insurance Foundation—which has always supported justice and equity through our charitable partners in New England—has responded by significantly expanding its assistance to organizations that support social justice causes. We are pleased to report these very positive initial results.
In February, 2021, Arbella’s Board of Directors approved a $5 million donation to the Arbella Insurance Foundation to be distributed over the next five years. This investment is in addition to its current annual giving of approximately $2 million per year. The Foundation will manage the initiative’s funding in addition to its ongoing support of many other nonprofits throughout the region. So far, the new funds have already supported more than 40 eligible organizations, and has plans to aid many more.
Converting Vacant Hotel Space into Permanent Homes
The pandemic made clear what Father Bill’s & MainSpring has long known: homelessness is largely a healthcare issue. Loss of employment due to poor health can become a viscous cycle. Once social safety nets are exhausted, poverty and homelessness are often the result. Last year, Father Bills and MainSpring was inspired to find new, innovative solutions to homelessness.
One such solution is the conversion of The Rodeway Inn in Brockton to 69 units of permanent housing for homeless people. The goal of the project is to attempt to cut Brockton’s individual emergency shelter population in half. Grant support will also help fund onsite case management and wraparound services provided to all tenants to help ensure stability and self-sufficiency. The success of this exciting model shows that it can be replicated in underutilized hotels throughout the country.
Training More Health Care Workers
Quincy College works diligently to improve access to post-secondary education and job placement for low-income, at-risk, and underrepresented groups. Their Health Care Heroes Fund supports the educational and non-educational needs of students in their health-related programs, targeting "difficult to fill" positions, including home health aides, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomy technicians, and skilled nurses.
The Foundation’s investment is strengthening the college’s capacity to recruit, train, and place students in clinical internships and careers. The grant pays for tuition assistance, daycare funding, books, supplies, transportation, and more – costs that are often a barrier to participation for many students.
Closing Poverty Gaps with Free English Classes
As a result of the pandemic, many workers became jobless and students of the Asian American Civic Associations’ FirstSTEP Transitional English classes were among some of the hardest hit. Many could no longer afford English classes, and struggled with housing and food. With the support of the Foundation, the AACA re-imagined their offerings to serve the needs of their community.
The Foundation’s grant makes it possible for the AACA to provide English classes free of charge, so their 300+ students can continue to break down language barriers, gain meaningful employment, and end the cycles of poverty in their families.
Improving Access to Language Skills Training and Job Opportunities
English as a second language courses are among Rian Immigrant Center’s rich variety of immigrant support services. Volunteer teachers and mentors coach students on reading, writing, speaking, listening, and other career skills critical to employability.
During the pandemic, Rian found that when they provided their English classes online, a higher number of immigrants were served. The Foundation grant provides funding to continue and even increase Rian’s course offerings, as well as provide students with online access via laptops and internet services – drastically improving their ability to fully participate in American society.
Stay tuned for regular updates on the powerful impact of Arbella’s Social Justice Initiative. We’ll periodically share updates about additional organizations and programs that are making a difference.