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$400,000 in community benefits to aid Roxbury organizations

October 12, 2017

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today presented $400,000 in community benefits for 12 organizations that serve the residents of Roxbury.

The community benefits were facilitated by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) as part of the Article 80 approval process for the Melnea Hotel and Residences project, located on the corner of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Washington Street in Roxbury.

"Development has the ability to empower our communities and make neighborhoods thriving places for people to live, work and connect," said Mayor Walsh. "Over the past several years, we have improved how we distribute community benefits in order to ensure that this funding can directly impact the lives of our residents. I am pleased to be able to award $400,000  to these twelve deserving organizations and I look forward to continuing to build on our mission to use development as a tool to lift up our neighborhoods."

"I would like to thank the Boston Planning & Development Agency for their commitment to supporting youth and families living in the Roxbury neighborhood," said Alexandra Oliver-Davila, Executive Director of Sociedad Latina. "With this award, 500 youth from Sociedad Latina will be connected to robust work readiness training, academic support, and internships throughout the city. It is essential that young people in Roxbury are given early work experiences and career opportunities to better prepare them for a successful future."

The following organizations received funding:

Boston Education, Skills, and Training Corp. (BEST Corp.) - $75,000

To serve Boston residents for a career in the hospitality industry, with an emphasis on residents of Roxbury, where BEST's new Dudley Square location is situated. 

Boston Jobs Coalition - $30,000

To launch a campaign to have developers, contractors, and subcontractors voluntarily agree to the standards established by the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee as they relate to the recently revised Boston Residency Jobs Policy.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Inc. - $20,000

Funding will go toward the Life After The Club (LATC) program, a workforce-development/life-skills initiative which ensures all teens have goals for their post-Boys & Girls Club lives.

Building Pathways, Inc. - $60,000

To leverage existing revenues to support the Building Pathways Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program, whose mission is to create opportunities for low-income, low-skilled Boston area residents; particularly women, people of color, and young adults in underserved communities, to help them access and prepare for apprenticeships in the building trades. 

MissionSAFE - $24,000

To provide 20 weeks of paid internships, career exploration and job readiness training for 15 high- and proven-risk young people in Roxbury.

Mothers for Justice and Equality, Inc. - $25,000

To offer the Mothers for Justice and Equality (MJE) Workforce Readiness Training to men and women residing in Roxbury and seeking employment.

Smarter in the City, Inc. - $15,000

To implement two programs that will provide cohort members with the technology, resources and education they need to transform their ideas into a functional product

Sociedad Latina, Inc. - $45,000

To support youth stipends, skill building training, and other benefits for 125 youth gaining hands-on work experience in internships and learning through regular work readiness trainings, coaching, academic support, and community projects with Sociedad Latina's Pathways to Success program.

Somali Development Center, Inc. - $26,000

To support the organization's Citizenship for New African-Americans program, which includes an integrated combination of ESOL and citizenship education and support for filing and following up on applications.

The Possible Project, Inc. - $20,000

To support teacher salaries and other programming expenses at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Dudley Square. The program currently has 47 students and enrollment continues to grow.

Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, Inc. - $20,000

To support the Jobs Rebuild Boston project and provide an employment gateway for 60 under- and unemployed adults living in Roxbury. Programming will include baseline job readiness, digital-focused, and other employment skills needed to secure a living wage and, potentially for career advancement opportunities.

YouthBuild Boston, Inc. - $40,000

To support the organization's Building Trades Exploration Program (BTE), a unique Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEaM) program.

The BPDA, along with the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD), notified organizations and publicized, using both the BPDA and OWD websites and social media accounts, the availability of Community Benefits from the Project.

Over the past several years, the BPDA has updated its guidelines for releasing community benefits from a developer to a community organization in order to ensure that development is creating thriving eighborhoods for people to live, work and connect. When community benefits are not outlined in a developer's cooperation agreement, the BPDA now launches an open process for organizations to apply for grants. Community organizations must prove that the award will be used to support a program or provide a service that directly serves the local neighborhood in order to be eligible for funding. This process was first piloted in 2015, and has since been used to award community benefits to organizations in Allston/Brighton, South Boston and Fenway.  Prior to receiving funds, organizations are required to submit a budget and plan for how the money will be used in a way that produces a measurable impact. All awards are subject to BPDA Board authorization and chosen recipients are required to enter into a grant agreement with the BPDA.

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