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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Historic fund keeps supporting elderly in Queen City

April 15. 2018 12:06AM

For the amount of time I've spent in the Manchester area, I continue to be surprised at how much I don't know about its history. I grew up in Manchester and until my early 30s, I lived in the city. Although I moved to a town with a few more trees, I continue to work in Manchester. In addition to my professional career, I also work with several nonprofits and serve on numerous boards within the city.

Recently, I was introduced to the Mary and John Elliot Charitable Foundation. If you haven't heard of the foundation before, you will likely recognize the name, Elliot, and are probably most familiar with the Elliot Hospital in Manchester. The foundation was created to provide financial support to the various needs of the community and of the Elliot Health System.

I also learned that the Mary and John Elliot Charitable Foundation has a fund called the Pearl Manor Fund that has some very interesting history and is an amazing resource for nonprofits that serve the elderly in Manchester. It's a story I don't think many people are familiar with and one certainly worth sharing.

The history of the Pearl Manor Fund goes back to 1875 when a group of women founded the Manchester Women's Aid and Relief Society, which was focused on providing medical services to women in Manchester. The society was financially supported by donations from residents and businesses and eventually transitioned into providing services to the elderly. As the society evolved and expanded its services, it adopted the name, Pearl Manor.

As we fast forward to more recent times, Pearl Manor merged with Hillcrest Terrace, and the combined entity is now known as Birch Hill Terrace. The assets Pearl Manor had acquired over the years was turned into a fund by a probate court in 2005 and transferred to the Mary and John Elliott Charitable Foundation under the name, Pearl Manor Fund.

Today this $5 million dollar fund is used to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that specifically support services for the elderly in the Manchester area. Since 2005, the Pearl Manor Fund has awarded over $2.2 million to programs that support the elderly. Every year, the Pearl Manor Fund invites organizations to apply for the grants. Grants typically range from $10,000 to $50,000 and in 2017 alone, 10 nonprofits were awarded over $450,000.

The numbers are impressive, but what's most impressive to me is how this specific fund has been kept alive and never strayed from the main objective of providing support to the elderly. Last year, organizations such as Child and Family Services, Future in Sight, Granite United Way, Granite YMCA and New Hampshire Legal Assistance were recipients of grants from the Pearl Manor Fund.

The fund is managed and grants are awarded through the Pearl Manor Fund Advisory Committee, which consists of numerous local business and community leaders. They review the grant applications and award grants based on the most compelling programs and services that will positively impact the elderly.

One example I found interesting was a 2017 grant that was awarded to St. Joseph Community Services to support the increase in uncompensated food costs in the Meals on Wheels program, which provides meals to older, low-income adults. Without the grant, many of the people who depend on Meals on Wheels every day would have missed meals and gone hungry.

These types of programs are important for everyone in the community to understand, support and advocate for. Many nonprofits that provide services to the elderly may not be aware of the Pearl Manor Fund and could benefit greatly from the available grants.

It's also important to recognize the generosity and involvement of local business leaders, as well as those who do work on behalf of the Mary and John Elliot Charitable Foundation. I'm a big believer in businesses giving back in whatever way they can and supporting programs that better our community. The Pearl Manor Fund is a hidden gem in Manchester that we should all be proud of and thankful for.

If you're a nonprofit interested in learning more about the fund, additional information can be found at

Christopher Thompson ( is the vice president of business development at Talient Action Group in Manchester and writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

Business Health Manchester Christopher Thompson's Closing The Deal

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