NEWBURYPORT — A charitable foundation that grew from efforts by a handful of businessmen to revitalize the city’s economy in the 1960s will donate more than $4 million to local charities this holiday season before it dissolves at the end of December.

The NAID Charitable Foundation – which was created by the Newburyport Industrial Area Corporation, a group hatched by late Daily News editor William J. Plante Jr., former Mayor Byron J. Matthews and others – was established in 2005 to support nonprofits in Greater Newburyport.

After years of helping people in the region, the foundation is finally being dissolved, according to James C. Zampell, the foundation’s president.

“Ultimately, this foundation was created to help people in the Greater Newburyport area,” Zampell said in a statement. “For many years, the foundation has supported charities that address a range of needs, from health and human services to education, domestic violence, food insecurity, and more.

“We know that there is tremendous need in the community right now due to the pandemic and its effects. The trustees were unanimous in their support to give all the foundation’s funds to our trusted nonprofit partners where these dollars can be put to work immediately for the people of Newburyport and beyond,” he said.

The trustees of the NAID Foundation met and decided to grant donations to 22 nonprofits that have had long partnerships with the foundation, including $1 million to Anna Jaques Hospital, $750,000 to the Newburyport Education Foundation, $500,000 to Opportunity Works, $250,000 to The Pettengill House, and $200,000 to the Friends of the Newburyport Public Library.

NAID was founded in 1964 and created the industrial park in Newburyport to foster economic development, employment and municipal tax revenue. NAID raised $200,000 from local businesses to purchase portions of three farms to acquire the land where the industrial park now sits, according to a press release.

Since then, many employers made their home in Newburyport, helping NAID reach its goal of improving the city’s economic development and tax income.

Zampell said that over time, NAID sold off portions of the land it acquired to people who wanted to locate businesses in Newburyport. The initial $200,000 grew to $3.5 million by the time the industrial park was completed in 2005.

NAID closed out its corporation following the sale of the last parcel of just over 100 acres on Hale Street, about half of which was protected by environmental considerations. At that time, NAID created a foundation to hold its remaining funds to benefit local philanthropic activities.

It is these dollars, once raised to build an industrial park in Newburyport to foster the city’s development and sustainability, that are now being reinvested back into the community through the foundation’s grants, Zampell said.

NAID leaves an important legacy, Zampell said. Plante, an Essex County Newspapers executive publisher and Daily News editor who served as NAID chairman during much of its growth years, wrote a brief history of the corporation at the time it was dissolved.

He wrote, “More than 600 made and kept pledges to the original funding. More than a third of a century later the amount raised does not appear significant but in the realities of the mid-1960s it was so substantial as to make necessary its spread over two years ... It is arguable that much of the success of the restoration of downtown Newburyport was rooted in the resurgence of spirit that gave birth to NAID, attracting and uniting the leadership that stepped forward to fulfill President Kennedy’s axiom … that the rising tide lifted all the boats.”

In 2007, Zampell assumed the position of president for a term of one year. Fourteen years later, Zampell said he has witnessed firsthand the tremendous impact the foundation has had in Greater Newburyport.

“The NAID founders were visionary, Zampell said. “They were playing a long game that laid the groundwork for many years of economic growth in Newburyport. When the park was complete, they continued their support of the community through the foundation. Today, it’s time for the next chapter. Paying out the foundation’s funds to our nonprofit partners helps them help our community through this time and to plan for brighter days ahead.

“Now more than ever, it’s incumbent on all of us to carry NAID’s legacy forward and to ensure Newburyport is a great place to live and to work for generations to come,” he said.

All the records of NAID Inc. are in the archives of Newburyport Public Library and publicly available.

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