On December 3, 1999, six firefighters from the Worcester Massachusetts fire department, known as the Worcester 6, lost their lives in an intense warehouse blaze. Actor/comedian Denis Leary lost his first cousin Jeremiah Lucey and childhood friend Lt. Thomas Spencer in that fire. Moved by this tragedy, he created the The Leary Firefighters Foundation in the spring of 2000 to make sure fire personnel had the best training and equipment possible. Since then, with the help of other foundations and corporate partners, it has provided over $10 million for the brethren of the Worcester 6. While the Jeremiah Lucey Grant Program initially served paid departments in New York, Massachusetts, and Detroit, it has recently extended its scope of funding to both paid and volunteer departments in other areas of the country.
Three Areas of Support
This program is unique in that it rewards proactive problem solvers. When submitting a request for funding, they want to know what action steps the department has already taken and how specifically the foundation can be part of the solution. The three areas of support are as follows:
- Training - professional development for fire departments. Together with Mission-Centered Solutions, Inc, they have also pioneered a leadership training program which departments can apply to through the grant process in order to host or participate in.
- Equipment - a priority is to provide departments with the best, safest equipment possible for the protection of firefighters and the communities they serve.
- Technology - This grant works a bit differently than the two above, with a different deadline. Through their partnership with Nest, a smoke alarm manufacturer, two fire departments have been awarded $25,000 for new technology and equipment. To qualify for this grant, local departments must be nominated by community members. The five departments with the most nominations are invited to submit a formal application, and the two winners are selected from among them. The nomination period is now closed—in 2017 the window was from April 6 until May 12. Check back in late winter. Suggested social media posts are provided to help rally your community for those nominations.
Applying for the Jeremiah Lucey Grant Program
Eligible applicants are paid and volunteer fire departments. Letters of inquiry are due on August 15, 2017. Refer to the information page to make sure to include all required elements. The foundation will then invite selected departments to submit formal applications.
Watch an inspiring video about previous Nest grant winners Fall River, MA and Phoenix, AZ.
The best case scenario is to win both federal and foundation grants. For those that will be applying for the 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grant, here are some specific tips from Washington's The Ferguson Group to put your best application forward: https://blog.ecivis.com/afg-2017-tips-for-success