First Round of Wynn Community Money sees 41 Projects Funded in Charlestown

By Seth Daniel

The Charlestown Community Impact Fund made the first-ever disbursal of funds late last week to 41 non-profits in the community, having to turn away 15 applications, and giving out $179,000 of the $1 million chunk of money now sitting in the Fund.

The money comes from a portion of the licensing fee paid by Wynn Boston Harbor several years ago to the state’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), specifically set aside for Charlestown non-profits. As the legal battle over the casino ensued, the money sat dormant in an MGC escrow account for a few years until the City finally came to peace with the casino and negotiated a Surrounding Community Agreement with Wynn. That unlocked the check and sent it to City Hall, where more than a year has been spent figuring our the details of the Committee and unveiling the process for which the Fund will operate moving forward.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina has been instrumental, with Mayor Martin Walsh and his administration, in setting up the workings of the Fund and, with State Rep. Dan Ryan and State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, deciding how much and when to give out the money.

This week, LaMattina said he was excited about how the process worked, but cautioned that a measured approach should be taken due to the fact that no new payments will come to the fund until June 2019 when the casino opens its doors. The Fund will be the beneficiary of about $2 million a year after that time.

“I thought in this first round we had to be fair to everyone,” he said. “We gave out about $180,000. The thin is that money has to last another two years because it’s $1 million. This was the first round, and we will have another round again this year in the fall. I’d encourage anyone who applied to apply again, and I’d encourage those who didn’t get funded to also apply. There’s going to be other opportunities. There will be even more opportunities once the casino opens up when the Fund will get $2 million a year and the non-profits will be able to benefit from that too.”

Already, several non-profits have expressed excitement for getting funding, including the Charlestown Lions Club, the Artist Group of Charlestown (AGC) and many sports leagues.

Dara Pannebaker of the AGC has already announced a small program using the funding that will take place this weekend, June 10, in the parking lot of the StoveFactory, 523 Medford St. The event will be called ‘Art on the Fence,’ and will be a display of art work from AGC members and artists within the community of Charlestown to be exhibited “outside, in an urban, yet protected, environment, open to the public, free of charge, handicapped accessible with parking available.”

“This project will allow the community, young and not so young, to enjoy pieces of artwork without intimidation,” she said. “And it will allow community artists the ability to show their work in a casual atmosphere, also without intimidation. The artwork will range in size, price and quality.” The program will take place from noon to 6 p.m.

The deadline to apply for the second round in 2017 is September, with dispersals coming in October.

State Rep. Ryan said last week that the Committee was pretty conservative this time around in terms of funding mostly existing programs. He said they are open to funding new programs and innovative programs now that the kinks in the system have been ironed out on the first round.

He also said they tended not to fund requests from churches as they are getting more information about how that might work in terms of giving the public money to houses of worship. That, he said, would be ironed out in future rounds.

Those following list is a complete accounting of those that were funded and those that weren’t. Check the Patriot Bridge’s website for the full document complete with explanations of the programming.

Those who were funded:

  • Artist Group of Charlestown, $1,000
  • Battle of Bunker Hill Parade Committee, $5,000
  • Knights of Columbus #62, $5,000
  • CHAD, Inc., $5,000
  • Charlestown Babe Ruth, $5,000
  • Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, $10,000
  • Charlestown Co-Op Nursery School, $5,000
  • Charlestown Emergency (Fire) Fund, $1,000
  • Charlestown Girls Softball, $5,000
  • Charlestown High School (arts/community outreach), $2,500
  • Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning, $5,000
  • Charlestown Library Friends, $1,000
  • Charlestown Lions Club, $5,000
  • Charlestown Little League, $5,000
  • Charlestown Preservation Society, $2,500
  • Charlestown Veterans History Project, $2,500
  • Charlestown Working Theatre, $5,000
  • Charlestown Youth Football and Cheerleading, $5,000
  • Charlestown Youth Soccer Association, $5,000
  • Charlestown Dogs, $1,000
  • Charlestown Youth Hockey Association, $5,000
  • Courageous Sailing, $5,000
  • E-inc., $2,500
  • Friends of Memorial Hall, $5,000
  • Friends of the John Harvard Mall, $2,500
  • Gardens for Charlestown, $2,500
  • Gavin Foundation, $5,000
  • Good Shepherd School, $2,500
  • Harvard Kent Leadership Scholarship, $2,500
  • Harvest on the Vine, $2,500
  • Help for Asian Americans with Addictions, $2,500
  • J.W. Conway Bunker Hill Post 26, $5,000
  • John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, $10,000
  • Kent Charlestown Community School Council, $5,000
  • Special Townies, $10,000
  • Old Charlestown Schoolboys’ Association, $5,000
  • Warren Prescott Foundation, $2,500
  • Town Track Club, $5,000
  • Turn It Around (anti-drug youth group), $5,000
  • USS Constitution Museum, $2,500
  • Charlestown YMCA, $10,000


Applications not funded:

  • Boston Public Housing Corp., $0
  • Celebration Church, $0
  • Charlestown Public Library Branch, $0
  • Charlestown Historical Society, $0
  • Daughters of Isabella #1, $0
  • MGH Charlestown Healthcenter (mentoring program), $0
  • MissionSAFE, $0
  • NEW Health Center (Food Insecurity program), $0
  • Robert Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, $0
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church, $0
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society (St. Mary’s Church), $0
  • The Dignity Institute, $0
  • Lt. Michael Quinn Scholarship Fund, $0
  • Theatre on Fire, $0
  • United Planet, $0


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