Mayor Walsh announces Boston selected for Cities of Service Award
February 11, 2015
Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that Boston has been selected as one of seven cities from across the nation to receive the $30,000 “Love Your Block” Award and dedicated City Hall AmeriCorps VISTAs to support neighborhood revitalization projects.
Through Love Your Block., the City of Boston will provide mini-grants to local neighborhood groups, block associations, and community-based organizations to carry out revitalization projects in target areas.
“I extend my gratitude to Cities of Service for selecting Boston for this opportunity,” said Mayor Walsh. “This grant opportunity will allow for us to make a strong and positive impact on local communities and help fuel sustainable solutions that will make a difference in the neighborhoods we all love.”
The award will provide support for up to three years for the planning and implementation of Love Your Block initiatives in low-income neighborhoods. Initially, Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester will be the main focus of this initiative, with the possibility for expansion. A six-month process will take place to engage key community stakeholders. The City Hall AmeriCorps VISTAs will (1) identify the health and safety needs of the community, (2) determine best practices and strategies for addressing these needs, and (3) impact metrics to measure the success of the initiative.
“The City of Boston’s plan to concentrate its time and funding in neighborhoods most in need, and to include residents in decision making, is exactly what Cities of Service is about – engaging citizens in elevating and addressing priorities to achieve concrete results together with local government. We are excited to have Mayor Walsh’s office as a partner in Love Your Block and future impact volunteering initiatives, and look forward to working with them,” said Myung J. Lee, executive director of Cities of Service.
To ensure broader participation, the City Hall AmeriCorps VISTAs will engage neighborhood groups, churches, community boards, city council, libraries, local officials, and others. Additionally, City Hall AmeriCorps VISTAs will further coordinate the planning process and stakeholder engagement, develop the infrastructure for the initiative, expand partnerships with local neighborhood associations and community-based organizations, ensuring the sustainability of the initiative.
The implementation portion of the grant will provide the resources necessary to carry out Love Your Block, including mini-grants to support volunteer activities and testing of the strategies developed during the planning process. As part of this process, the AmeriCorps VISTA members will help Mayor Walsh build capacity, engage community members, and develop plans to sustain and scale best practices.
ABOUT CITIES OF SERVICE
Cities of Service is a national nonprofit that supports mayors and city executives to design and implement high-impact volunteering initiatives that can apply to multiple issues from supporting youth and education to sustainability. It provides technical assistance, programmatic support, planning resources, and funding opportunities. Founded by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009, Cities of Service is a nonpartisan coalition which currently supports a coalition of 205 cities in the U.S. and UK whose mayors are committed to engaging citizen volunteers to solve local pressing challenges. Cities of Service helps coalition cities share solutions, best practices, and lessons learned, as well as spreads awareness about meaningful work happening in cities. Visit citiesofservice.org to get involved, and follow @citiesofservice on Twitter.