Cape Cod Foundation Reports A Year of Challenges, Growth

Filed Under: Non Profit News, Philanthropy

SOUTH YARMOUTH—The Cape Cod Foundation, amid a year of challenges brought on by the pandemic, reports a year of growth in 2020.  While its assets grew by more than $10 million, it also distributed more than $5.5 million in scholarships and grants to nonprofit organizations across Cape Cod.

President and CEO Kristin O’Malley said the pandemic spurred some of the growth; however, the community foundation, now entering its thirty second year, has been on a steady trajectory of growth, distributing more than $80 million in grants and scholarships since inception.

Cape Cod Foundation President and CEO Kristin O’Malley. The foundation administers more than  300 funds.

In March 2020, the foundation created a Strategic Emergency Response Fund to rapidly build and deploy resources for pandemic relief.  Over the year, it raised $1.5 million and distributed $1.2 million to 43 nonprofit organizations supporting residents in need throughout the region.

“Community Foundations across the country are a highly effective and strategic way to get resources where they are needed the most—especially during a crisis,” said O’Malley.  “We received funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, regional foundations, business partners, and individual donors because we have the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure to determine where resources will have the greatest impact and to identify populations that might not be getting access to the help they need.”

O’Malley said that it launched its “Respond, Rebuild & Reimagine” Matching Grant Challenge in December to try to generate an additional $1.5 million to respond to ongoing community needs related to the pandemic and to help build the capacity of key nonprofit organizations for long-term sustainability. To date, the foundation has raised $980,000 from the challenge, which will continue through the end of May.

In addition, O’Malley said many of its fundholders increased their own philanthropic activity in 2020 to support the community, which also contributed to the increases in the Foundation’s annual distribution. The foundation currently administers more than 300 funds.

While navigating the challenges of the pandemic, the Foundation also continued to administer its annual scholarship program, awarding $637,000 in scholarships to 133 students from Cape Cod and the Islands who are beginning or continuing their higher education or pursuing certificate programs.   Together, the foundation and its partnering organization, the Cape Cod Association, exceeded $1 million in scholarship support for the second consecutive year.

The Foundation also increased its staff by 30 percent with three critical hires in 2020: Caitlin Abber, Capacity Building and Strategic Partnerships Officer; Mary Beth Burwood, Scholarship Officer; and Helaine Goudreau, Program Officer.

“While this growth was part of our three-year strategic plan, the pandemic accelerated the need to build the capacity of our team in 2020,” O’Malley said. “Our team of nine professionals is in place and poised to advance the Foundation’s work in 2021.”

Looking ahead, O’Malley said, among the foundation’s other civic leadership initiatives, it will host several Community Forums with local experts throughout 2021 to share information about community needs, challenges, progress, programs, resources, and opportunities. The first will be a virtual forum about food security in late February.  The forums will be recorded to share with those who cannot attend.  More details are forthcoming; those interested can sign up for the Foundation’s digital newsletter at for updates.

“We will also continue to administer the Strategic Emergency Response Fund, re-open our Community Impact Grant Program, and unveil the next stage of our Capacity-Building Program to help key local nonprofit organizations reach the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity,” O’Malley added.

Anyone interested in creating a charitable fund, donating to an existing fund, or supporting the Foundation’s Strategic Leadership Initiatives can call Kristin O’Malley at 508.790.3040 or visit for more information.