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Mayor Walsh and Boston Main Streets announce innovation and impact grant winners


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Neighborhood Development

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Main Streets today announced seven awardees for the Boston Main Streets Foundation’s Innovation and Impact Grants. Winners received grants for a range of projects including public art projects, two branding initiatives, marketing support, a series of business fairs, and an innovative social media/local shopping initiative hybrid.

Grants were awarded both to Boston’s oldest Boston Main Streets district, Roslindale Village Main Streets (RVMS), as well as the newest, Mattapan Square Main Streets. RVMS submitted a winning $5,000 request for a project that engages residents to shop locally via a tailored ‘app’ they can use to log purchases and share with the community of users. Not only will the Local Shopping/Rozzie Bucks app aim to increase sales in the micro-local economy, it will also allow participants to earn “Rozzie Bucks” by committing their time in volunteer hours.

Mattapan Square Main Streets was awarded $3,000 for a series of local business fairs. Think Big!, will not only reach out to current business owners to give them more tools and understanding of how to improve and expand their business reach, but will also seek to empower new entrepreneurs to Think Big!, and then plan and execute their ideas.

“We’re funding a range of innovative projects through this initiative with the Boston Main Streets Foundation,” Mayor Walsh said. “This is a public-private partnership that really works; our Main Streets districts can enhance what makes them unique and support their business owners.”  

In 2013, the Boston Main Streets Foundation revised their mission to serve Boston’s 20 Boston Main Street districts by including direct funding of winning proposals that deliver new or enhanced programming, services or partnership opportunities. Innovation and Impact Grants provide up to $5,000 for winning proposals. Designed to give Boston Main Streets Districts a burst of funding for new projects, the program is already into its second funding round, and has a third scheduled for late spring.

Phase II winners of Innovation and Impact Grants also include:

  • Allston Village Main Streets: the BMSF grant provides the final piece of funding for a mural which will provide a welcoming gateway into the district. ($5,000)
  • Greater Grove Hall will create a logo and banners to market their district. ($5,000)
  • Upham’s Corner Main Street will combine public art and greening their district with new planters painted by local artists, and adopted by local merchants. ($5,000)
  • Hyde Park Main Streets are updating their banners and branding. ($5,000)
  • West Roxbury Main Streets will support its new Farmer’s Market, and help it expand with more vendors, better marketing and volunteer support. ($4,600)

“We sincerely congratulate these winners for their thoughtful proposals, and the hard work that they’re doing every day to improve their local Boston Main Streets District,” said Boston Main Streets Foundation President Joel Sklar. “I know that I speak for the rest of the Board when I say that I’m looking forward to seeing these innovative and impactful proposals become reality to the benefit of Boston's small businesses and neighborhoods.”

Established in 1995, Boston Main Streets is a program of the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), the City agency charged with expanding affordable home ownership opportunities, and directly supporting Boston’s neighborhood business districts.

“These grants can have a profound impact,” said Director Sheila Dillon. “Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a graduation of an ESL Business English Class that was funded in the first round. Business owners from Hyde Jackson and Egleston Square Main Streets collaborated to make their idea a reality, partnering with their local YMCA. It was a wonderful proposal, and one I’m sure will have far-reaching effects.”