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Baker-Polito Administration, MassDevelopment Award Transformative Development Initiative Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants to Support Gateway City Businesses

$510,000 to be distributed to 10 organizations for small business relief
March 25, 2021


Michael Verseckes (HED)

Kelsey Schiller (MassDevelopment)

BOSTON - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $510,000 in funding for 10 organizations to provide relief for small businesses in Gateway Cities during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Through MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants program, developed in response to needs faced by small businesses during the pandemic, $60,000 block grants will be awarded to fiscal agents in TDI districts in Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester (Main South), and $30,000 block grants will be awarded to fiscal agents in the areas of Attleboro, Barnstable, and Brockton served by TDI. Recipients can re-grant funds directly to small businesses to cover rent, payroll, or other business expenses, or create small-business stabilization programs specific to their city. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joined MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera and state and local officials to announce the funding today in a virtual event.

“Our administration recognizes the immense challenges COVID-19 has created for small businesses across the Commonwealth, and remains committed to providing the resources they need to navigate the pandemic,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We were proud to direct over $700 million to stand up a grant program for small businesses that is the largest of its kind in the country, and look forward to building on that support through the funding announced today to help ensure a strong recovery for businesses throughout our Gateway Cities.”

“Today, I was pleased to join our colleagues in state and local government to announce $510,000 in the second round of TDI Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are thankful to MassDevelopment for their continued partnership administering the Transformative Development Initiative, and for their hard work to adapt this resource to meet the new challenges created by the pandemic for Gateway Cities and the businesses that call them home.”

“MassDevelopment’s TDI Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants program is one of many ways that the Baker-Polito Administration has provided much-needed relief to the small-business community during the pandemic,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Additionally, the Commonwealth has awarded over $648 million to 14,351 businesses across Massachusetts through 11 rounds of grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. These types of cash infusions have allowed small businesses to meet the challenges of the past year and will strengthen their ability to recover in the months ahead.”

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative works with cross-sector partnerships in targeted commercial districts in Gateway Cities in order to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. During the program’s first five years, MassDevelopment has invested $18 million in TDI districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $78.7 million in public and private investments in the districts, and assisted an additional $84 million.

Created in 2017, TDI Local is a small-business grants program that supports local market development by fostering business, resident, and property-owner engagement, building community identity, and improving the public realm in TDI districts. In 2020, MassDevelopment redirected resources from the program budget to develop TDI Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants as a direct response to the emergency faced by Gateway City small businesses impacted by COVID-19-related closures or loss of business.

“The purpose of this program is simple: help our Gateway City small businesses keep the lights on during this challenging economic crisis,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “Over the past five years, MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) has worked on the ground in Gateway Cities to build relationships, increase investment, and accelerate economic growth. When COVID-19 hit, our staff was uniquely positioned to understand the needs of local businesses, help them identify and access available resources, and create targeted assistance like this to help them meet the challenges created by the pandemic.”

Today’s awards mark the second round of the TDI Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants program since the start of the pandemic. In April 2020, the agency awarded $545,000 in funding to 10 organizations; that funding assisted 192 small businesses, including 72 women-owned businesses and 94 minority-owned businesses, of which more than 180 are still operating.

MassDevelopment is currently accepting applications from organizations for a new competitive round of TDI Local; applications will be accepted until April 7, 2021.

“TDI has been instrumental in not only providing crucial stabilization grants to our businesses, but in providing the skills and support that will allow Fall River’s entrepreneurs to reach their full potential after the pandemic,” said Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan.  “As Mayor, I am grateful to TDI for recognizing the value in Fall River’s business community and investing in their survival and success.”

“MassDevelopment’s TDI Local funds have provided critical relief for small business owners struggling to survive the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.  With minimal regulation and a community administered allocation system, the grant funds have reached those most in need,” said Steve Teasdale, Executive Director, Main South CDC.  “Specifically, they have assisted those businesses that have not had access to regulated federal relief programs.   The flexibility of the TDI local grant funds has enabled them to be used broadly, whether for rent, vendor payments or payroll costs.  Hence, they have played a major role in allowing small businesses that are essential to our inner-city communities to survive.”

“Without help from the state and MassDevelopment’s TDI investments our small businesses would not have survived this national crisis!” said Laura Perez-Garcia, Owner of Voltage Fashion Boutique. “From all of us here at the Main South Business Association in Worcester, we thank you!”

TDI Local COVID-19 Emergency Grants program recipients:

Community Development for Attleboro, Inc. (Attleboro) – $30,000
The organization will re-grant funds directly to small businesses in or near the area of Attleboro served by TDI. Visit for more information.

Downtown Hyannis Community Development Corporation (Barnstable) – $30,000
The organization will re-grant funds directly to small businesses in or near the area of Barnstable served by TDI. Visit for more information.

Brockton Redevelopment Authority (Brockton) – $30,000 
The organization will re-grant funds directly to small businesses in or near the area of Brockton served by TDI. Visit for more information.

Chelsea Business Foundation (Chelsea) - $60,000 
The organization will re-grant a majority of the funds directly to small businesses in or near the Chelsea TDI district, and use remaining funds to provide technical assistance services to businesses focused on long-term business stability. Visit for more information.

Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce (Chicopee) – $60,000
The organization will re-grant funds directly to small businesses in or near the Chicopee TDI district. Visit for more information.

Bristol County Chamber Foundation (Fall River) – $60,000
The City of Fall River and local organizations including the Bristol County Chamber Foundation (1) will launch a “Get Connected Grant” program that will provide grants to help small businesses address COVID-19-related challenges and transition to e-commerce business models and (2) supported the existing United We Help Feed Fall River program that partnered with local restaurants that produced meals for local families in need during the November-December 2020 holiday season. Visit for more information.

Fitchburg State University & ReImagine North of Main (Fitchburg) – $60,000
The organizations aim to support local restaurants and recreation, entertainment, and arts-related businesses and facilitate pedestrian activity in downtown Fitchburg by purchasing and distributing gift cards from local businesses to area residents. The organizations will also provide marketing support to highlight business hours and offerings. Visit for more information.

Groundwork Lawrence (Lawrence) – $60,000
The organization will run a second round of its Grab ‘n Go meal program, which was created with the help of a 2020 TDI Local COVID-19 Emergency Grant, by contracting with select restaurants in the Lawrence TDI district to cater boxed meals for food-insecure families through partner nonprofits. Visit for more information.

Springfield Business Improvement District (Springfield) – $60,000
The organization will re-grant funds directly to small businesses in or near the Springfield TDI district. Visit for more information.

Main South Community Development Corporation (Worcester) – $60,000
The organization will re-grant funds directly to small businesses in or near the Worcester (Main South) TDI district. Visit for more information.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.