The Indian Orchard Citizens Council (IOCC) received a COVID-19 Emergency Grant from the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice in 2020. The grant was for a collaborative project among several grassroots organizations to meet the financial and survival needs of residents of the lower Pioneer Valley (Springfield, Holyoke, West Springfield) who are suffering the consequences of the pandemic.

We deeply appreciate their collaborative efforts and were particularly impressed by their “use” neighborhood point people (NPPs). Relational organizing is a powerful.

Zaida Govan, IOCC president, is telling us about a bit more about the Indian Orchard Citizens Council (IOCC): “It is a neighborhood group that was founded in 1976 to ensure that residents of Indian Orchard had a place to voice their concerns and ensure a good quality of life. In 2021 we have grown into a group of neighbors and businesses in Indian Orchard committed to the well being of all of our neighbors by beautifying our streets with flower baskets purchased by local businesses. In 2020 we distributed small grants to struggling  businesses due to COVID with the support of Eastman Foundation. 

We have also partnered with Neighbor to Neighbor to ensure the Lower Valley Mutual Aid fund assists neighbors from all over Hampden County by acting as their fiscal sponsor. We look forward to our 5th annual IOCC Food Truck Festival in October where our neighbors come out and meet each other, enjoy good food from local food trucks and enjoy local entertainment. We are a growing collaboration of residents, businesses and other foundations working towards social justice.”