Community Grantmaking

Community building and generosity have remained core values of the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival since its inception in 1999.  Each year the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival provides $5,000 in grants to support projects that propagate the values of the festival. We have awarded over $60,000 in grants to support community building and projects in the arts, agriculture/food, renewable energy, wellness, and economic and racial justice since 2009.  We’ve also made several no-interest loans to support cooperatively run businesses. We recently donated $5,000 to support two regional farm relief efforts after 2023 flooding devastated crops and livelihoods.

Even with affordable admission, this is made possible due to a fully volunteer organizing committee, and over 150 volunteers the festival weekend!

In 2022 we provided grants to:

North Quabbin Food-A-Thon
Wendell Misfit Prom to benefit North Quabbin Citizen Advocacy
NELCWIT (New England Learning Center for Women in Transition)
Gateway City Arts
Foundation for Community Justice
The Dance Studio (Victoria Rose scholarship fund)
Franklin County Community Meals Program
Quabbin Food Connector
Athol/Orange YMCA (scholarships for elders)
Athol Bird and Nature Club

Although the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival was on hiatus for 2020 and 2021 during the COVID pandemic and for continued collective well being, the committee felt it more important than ever to maintain our grant-making to local organizations that propagate the arts, food and social justice, and community building.

In 2020/21 we made small grants totaling over $9,000 in to these local and worthy organizations and projects:  Nolumbeka Project, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, People’s Medicine Project, Valuing our Children, Launchspace, Franklin County Community Meals Program, Quabbin Harvest, North Quabbin Food A Thon, Shea Theater, The Friends of the Wendell Meetinghouse, 1794 Meetinghouse, People’s Fund of Franklin County, Compost Cooperative, Foundation for Community Justice, Holyoke Food and Equity Collective, and Arise for Social Justice.  In addition, the festival made a no-interest loan to the Cooperative Fund of New England for their emergency COVID relief fund to ensure the sustainability of food and worker cooperatives throughout the Northeast.

The grants from the 2019 festival, awarded in 2020, included a loan to the Cooperative Fund of New England’s COVID-19 emergency fund and grants to the North Quabbin Foodathon, Great Falls Books Through Bars, The Nolumbeka Project, Pioneer Valley Workers Center cooperative farm, People’s Medicine Project, the Shea Theater, and a pottery kiln and supplies for the LaunchSpace maker-space in Orange.

Additionally, several local groups assist with parking and receive a donation from the festival towards their good causes.

Festival history and philosophy of grant making: The festival has been a model for igniting local culture and economy since its inception. It is a celebration for all ages where attendees purchase directly from local artists, farmers, and food producers, thus keeping money in our region.

The Garlic and Arts Festival success and sustainability is made possible through a fully volunteer organizing committee who collectively contribute thousands of hours year round to bring the festival to fruition, plus 150 additional volunteers the weekend of the event. Each exhibitor also contributes 3-4 hours of time to help with an aspect of the festival, from press to set up, to feeding work crews, to sorting compost after the event.

A non-profit event under the fiscal umbrella of Seeds of Solidarity Education Center Inc, proceeds from the festival ensure that it continues from year to year. Thanks to the commitment of those who attend, vend, perform, and volunteer year after year, the festival can now also spread values of community building year round, and support other projects in the North Quabbin region.