The Health Foundation Announces 2023 Synergy Initiative and Activation Fund Grant Opportunities

The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts announces the opening of its 2023 Synergy Initiative and Activation Fund grant opportunities to target community-identified health issues and support innovative approaches to addressing health issues in the region. The deadlines for submission of initial application materials are April 12 for the Activation Fund and July 12 for the Synergy Initiative.

The Synergy Initiative provides multiple years of funding (approximately $2 million in total funding over roughly five years) for collaborative projects that address complex health issues in Central Massachusetts with integrated, comprehensive strategies focused on systems change. The Synergy Initiative typically opens every four to five years, with the last round opening in 2019. The Activation Fund supports discrete, one-year projects in Central Massachusetts (typically between $60,000 and $120,000) aimed at helping to move an organization to its next level of capacity and effectiveness that can be sustained over time. The Activation Fund usually accepts applications annually. The Foundation does not name specific health issues or priority areas, instead looking to community-based organizations to define health issues and potential solutions. Funding guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions for each program may be found on the Foundation’s website at


A series of virtual and in-person information sessions outlining each program’s funding goals, eligibility criteria, and application processes will be held in February and March. To register for an upcoming session, please complete this Registration Form. Foundation staff is available to discuss project ideas and provide feedback. To schedule a consultation for the Synergy Initiative, please contact Dr. Kathy Mills, Vice President for Programs (; for the Activation Fund, please contact Jennie Blake, Senior Program Officer (


In 2023, the Foundation is also piloting several equity-related initiatives aimed at increasing access to the Foundation’s Activation Fund grant opportunity and helping smaller organizations build capacity. Each initiative will be evaluated to assess effectiveness and to inform future implementation.

  • For those with limited English proficiency, the Foundation is partnering with the Center for Health Impact to make interpretation and translation services available during virtual information sessions if requested in advance through the registration process.
  • For small organizations with limited grant development capacity and experience, the Foundation is partnering with Sharon S. McDonald, President of Effective Grants, LLC, to offer grantwriting technical assistance for up to five applicants. To learn more and apply for this technical assistant pilot, please complete the Technical Assistance Pilot Application Form by Friday, February 17.
  • Organizations with annual operating budgets less than $500,000 will be eligible to request up to 10% of direct project costs for unrestricted, supplemental support aimed at building capacity during the grant period.
North Central MA Session Flyer