Generosity aiding efforts on education, homeless youth

Boston Statehouse
Boston State House

Boston State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – A state university in Salem and a Greater Boston agency that provides care to homeless and at-risk youth were both on the receiving end of major grants on Tuesday.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $3 million grant to Salem State University to help create the Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium (DEFCon), a national network of regional public universities that traditionally serve underrepresented student populations.

“The Mellon Foundation’s landmark support comes at an opportune time — and for this, we are so grateful,” said Roopika Risam, a professor of English and higher education at Salem State University who will lead the DEFCon effort. “The way we understand our past, present, and future will be greatly influenced by who is doing the storytelling, and that increasingly comes down to who is prepared to use these digital tools effectively. While many private universities have digital humanities courses, recent research shows that less than a quarter of public universities offer these opportunities despite high interest on campus.”??

Bridge Over Troubled Waters on Tuesday announced it has received the largest donation in the Liberty Mutual Foundation’s history, a $2.5 million, five-year grant to help address the challenges and outcome-based solutions of youth experiencing homelessness.

According to Bridge Over Troubled Waters, the prevalence of homelessness among people between the ages of 14 and 24 is growing, and research shows that Black and African American youth have an 83 percent higher risk of becoming homeless while LGBTQ+ youth are 120 percent more likely to experience homelessness.

“We are so grateful to Liberty Mutual for its investment in our comprehensive approach to helping vulnerable young people experiencing homelessness,” said Elisabeth Jackson, CEO of Bridge Over Troubled Waters. “Liberty Mutual has been a decades-long partner in this work and we are extremely grateful for their continued leadership and commitment as we strengthen the agency, expand our programs and deepen the scope of our services.”

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