Those who say every penny counts would be happy to know that Encore Boston Harbor has collected more than $13,000 in pennies over the first month of a new program that looks to use unwanted change from the casino’s cash redemption machines to benefit local charities.
The program began on June 27 and is called Change for Charity, according to Jacqui Krum of Encore. The idea is that at the cash redemption machines on the casino floor, many customers get small amounts of change within their winnings that they don’t want. Now, Encore has adopted a program on the machine where customers can opt to donate the change in their winnings to four local charities – and so far that has added up to thousands of dollars in a short period of time.
“We have $13,000 in donations to since starting the program on June 27,” Krum told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) at its July 29 meeting. “Some customers donate as little as two or three cents and the average donation is just 19 cents. There have been 66,566 donations since we started.”
The four charities include Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), Bread of Life food pantry, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.
MyRWA has been very active in Charlestown over the last few years, and has focused attention on bringing new amenities and flood protections to the Mystic River waterfront.
Patrick Herron, executive director of MyRWA, also said his organization has been the beneficiary of multiple gifts from Encore Boston Harbor over the past few years. They were on of the beneficiaries of their three-day practice opening in 2019, when they donated all proceeds to a few non-profits, including more than $100,000 to MyRWA. He said they have regularly contributed $25,000-$50,000 in annual support for improvements to the local environment and parks too. He said while we have been alerted that they are a beneficiary of the change program – the program is new enough that they have not yet received any funds from the program.
“The program is in the early days, so it is too early to know at what scale this will impact MyRWA, but we are certainly excited,” he said. “MyRWA applauds the efforts of Encore-Boston Harbor to direct the funds from this change program to these community efforts. The success of their gaming operations will translate into a greater contribution to a healthy and vibrant watershed