In 2021, the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest conducted a Needs Assessment of the Concord and Carlisle communities.
This effort involved:
- A thorough review and consolidation of community-related data from the local, regional, state, and federal databases;
- In-person and virtual interviews with more than 40 Community Chest stakeholders, community leaders, nonprofit leaders, and community members;
- An analysis of the grant making process to the Concord and Carlisle communities.
The Community Chest embarked on this initiative to ensure that it is positioned to effectively support our towns in the future and to continue our role as a community galvanizer.
Needs Assessment research examined areas affecting the Carlisle and Concord communities by both issue area and population. Themes uncovered by issue areas include: Mental Health, Food Insecurity, Transportation, Housing, and overall Affordability. We also uncovered specific needs based on population, specifically: Elders, Youth, Low Income, Refugees/Asylees, Chronically Disabled, and Community Members experiencing a short-term hurdle.
Several top themes emerged:
- Mental health services are significantly inadequate;
- Demand for direct services has increased;
- Shame is a significant barrier to accessing resources;
- Seniors have a lot of support yet need more;
- High cost of housing and living in Concord and Carlisle lead to challenges;
- Newcomers struggle to thrive in the community;
- Transportation is a challenge among people across multiple demographics.
The Needs Assessment uncovered vital information about the community’s needs and brought attention to both the successful areas of coverage along with gaps in that coverage. All this had led us to better inform our grantmaking process and share these findings with the community at large. The 2022 grant program will continue to support grants geared toward operational expenses for organizations supporting the needs in our community. We have also introduced the Cornerstone Initiative designed to encourage and support innovative solutions to the unmet needs uncovered in these findings.
The Needs Assessment was a step towards acknowledging where and how the Community Chest can support Concord and Carlisle to be communities where everyone can thrive.