ECCF’s Greater Lawrence Community Fund Announces Grant Deadline and Open Applications for the Patricia F. Karl Innovation Award

Born and raised in Lawrence, MA, Patricia F. Karl was deeply committed to helping youth and families in Greater Lawrence.

A former Lawrence public school teacher, Karl founded the Lawrence Family Development Charter School, one of the state’s first charter schools, now in its 24th year; YouthBuild-Lawrence, an education and job training program; and the Maria del Pilar Quintana Center, which provides language and citizenship classes for immigrants. She also served as trustee and board member of numerous nonprofit organizations supporting the people of Greater Lawrence, including ECCF and its Greater Lawrence Community Fund (GLCF), of which she was a founding member.

Karl passed away in 2018, but her legacy as an educator, community leader, advocate, and innovator lives on through her work. To recognize her contributions to the region, the GLCF is pleased to announce the inaugural Patricia F. Karl Innovation Award.

“Patricia was always thinking outside of the box,” said Bill Masterson, outgoing chair of the GLCF, which provides direct support to nonprofits attending to the basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, and education) of residents in Lawrence, Methuen, Andover, and North Andover. “She always tried to think a little bit differently and creatively when it came to problem-solving.”

This new two-year, $10,000 grant award serves to further increase the impact of GLCF grantmaking, which had typically consisted of a larger number of smaller awards until last year when the committee voted to give fewer, bigger, and more strategic grants. It will be awarded to an organization that “addresses a need in a creative way,” said incoming GLCF Chair Rick Blain.

The Patricia F. Karl Innovation Award will complement GLCF’s yearly grantmaking cycle, which this year includes a special focus on substance abuse prevention education for young people in Greater Lawrence.

“When we met as a committee, the issue of substance use disorder kept coming up, and what we discovered was that preventative education was lacking in the community,” said Blain. “We felt that this was an area where we might be able to help make a real difference.”

The grant deadline for the Greater Lawrence Community Fund and its Patricia F. Karl Innovation Award is Oct. 1. For more information on funding priorities, selection criteria and eligibility, please visit

To donate to the Greater Lawrence Community Fund, please visit

The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to inspire philanthropy that strengthens the communities of Essex County. We do this by managing charitable assets, strengthening and supporting nonprofits and engaging in strategic community leadership. Since 1998, ECCF and its family of more than 230 charitable funds have granted $85 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s nearly 800,000 residents. Learn more at