Block Party Grants to Foster Safe, Fun Summer Activities for Families in Boston
Today, Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston’s Community Engagement Cabinet announced applications are now open for block party grants to purchase food, party supplies, lawn games, and other items for summer block parties to make it easier and more affordable for neighborhoods to hold community gatherings. Residents and community groups who apply for the mini-grants can receive up to $750 for their gathering. Applicants should fill out this form with their contact information, date of the block party, and requested use of funds. Additionally, the City will again be offering block party kits this summer for community members to borrow and use at their gatherings. Today’s announcement builds on Mayor Michelle Wu’s commitment to fostering a fun, safe, and family-friendly summer in Boston.
“Boston is a City of neighborhoods, and summer block parties give our residents a chance to get to know one another and enjoy the beauty of our communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This year we’re trying to make it easier than ever to host a party by removing financial barriers. I encourage anyone interested to apply and help make this summer a safe, enjoyable season in Boston.”
“This grant program is such an exciting opportunity for community members to get financial assistance for the wonderful work they do each summer to create fun events to connect with their neighbors,” said Community Engagement Cabinet Chief Brianna Millor. “I want to encourage as many residents to apply for this funding opportunity to help them create joyful parties in their neighborhood.”
Residents must apply at least four weeks prior to their proposed event. To be eligible, all block parties seeking funding must be free and open to the public. Grant applications will be approved on a rolling basis through August 2023 to support block parties all summer.
Residents must also apply for a block party permit before submitting their grant application, as this can take 15 business days to approve. More information about applying for the block party permit and tips on how to host a block party can be found here. The Office of Civic Organizing will provide permitting support for interested residents.
"A major piece of effective community engagement and collaboration is providing our neighbors with financial tools to bring our communities together," said Gabriela Coletta, District 1 Boston City Councilor. "Thank you to Mayor Wu for securing these Block Party grants, which ensure our neighborhoods maintain their vibrancy and that resources are brought out of City Hall and into our streets."
Additionally, this year the City is again distributing block party kits for residents to borrow games and supplies for neighborhood events. New this year, residents can pick up a block party kit at their local BCYF community center. There are two different types of block party kits, with supplies including chalk, sports balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, water balloons, bubbles, a splash tower, and more. The link to request a block party kit can be found here. The block party kits were first launched as a pilot program last year with a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) and Office of Civic Organizing (OCO).
“The new block party grants build off of our work last year to encourage residents to come together and build community block by block,” said Amy Mahler, MONUM Applied Policy Fellow. “Thanks to the enthusiastic feedback we heard regarding our block party kit pilot program last season, we brought it back this summer while making it easier for residents to pick up the kits at their neighborhood BCYF community center.”
“Block parties really bring out the best of the city and are more important than ever as new neighbors move into our communities,” said Brian Gannon, who hosted a block party last year in his neighborhood of East Boston. “These events can bridge the gap between older residents, longtime residents and families and newcomers. A tight knit community that looks out for each other is essential for a rich vibrant community and dancing in the streets together, playing games, street chalk art and sharing food really brings us together.”
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CABINET
The Community Engagement cabinet leads the City of Boston’s work towards eliminating silos between Boston residents and City Hall. Their goal is to better connect neighborhood services, community engagement, and policy making. The Community Engagement Cabinet wants to improve how Boston includes community voices in its work. They are creating a new model for prioritizing constituents and neighborhood services in government affairs. The cabinet is made up of the Office of Neighborhood Services, the Office of Civic Organizing, SPARK Boston, and Boston 311. Their departments collaborate with City and community partners. By working together, we link policy, City services, and community engagement efforts across Boston.
Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) is the City of Boston’s largest youth and human service agency. BCYF operates 35 community centers in Boston that offer a variety of engaging and enriching programs for people of all ages created through community input and need. BCYF also oversees many citywide programs.