For the past six years, state funding support enabled the Community Mediation Center Grant Program to fulfill its responsibility to award operational grants to qualified community mediation centers. In the FY 2018 budget process, the state legislature again confirmed its commitment to community mediation by appropriating $750,000 to fund the Grant Program during FY 2018. Funded centers contributed extensively to lowering contentiousness in Massachusetts communities in FY 2018 despite the challenges posed by funding and court-referral volatility. Centers provided coverage across all Massachusetts counties and at most Court Divisions. Nearly 8,000 people received center assistance with their disputes through more than 4,000 intakes and 3,400 mediations, and disputes were resolved via mediation for 74% of mediating parties. Centers’ positive contributions redounded to the credit of the Program, furnishing evidence that the state’s $750,000 investment in the Program to continue the operation of community mediation centers was worthwhile and that administration of the Program was effective. Further corroboration of the Program’s value was provided by a financial analysis of centers’ FY 2018 achievements, which estimated that the return on the state’s investment amounted to $12.1 million in cost-savings and leveraged resources.
Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration. (2018, January). Massachusetts Community Mediation Center Grant Program: Fiscal Year 2018 report & evaluation. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy & Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston