When Billy Kelly’s phone started ringing earlier this week, he knew it must mean more progress in getting lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the Training Field.
And he was right.
Kelly’s Friends of the Training Field organization was one of 41 organizations that received $178,500 in grants from the Encore Boston Harbor-funded Charlestown Community Impact Fund. It is the first round for the Fund this year, with another round in the fall. But the very welcome payday for local organizations is only the start of what will be a mountain of investment in the community starting next year. A final round next spring will be the last before the casino opens, and the casino’s open doors will unlock $2 million in funding to the Charlestown community per year.
For Kelly, who has been trying to get the statue lit for some time, the $5,000 grant will go a long way towards the goal when combined with his current $10,000 raffle effort. (There will be a drawing of the winner at 3 p.m. on June 9 in the Training Field).
“It all starts with the mayor doing this for us and works its way down to everyone else like Chris Breen and Megan Aldrich at City Hall and our very generous community,” he said. “Everyone is so generous and I’m very, very grateful…We’re a small organization and $5,000 goes a long way. I’m hoping to have the statue lit up by the end of the year and we’ll have a celebration then too.”
Kelly is just one example of many for which the Fund helped this year.
Those who got the maximum $10,000 awards were Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Charlestown YMCA, Kennedy Center, Kent Charlestown Community School, and Special Townies.
During the past three grant rounds, the Charlestown Community Impact Fund has awarded over 120 mini-grants totaling $555,000 to 56 nonprofits and organizations. The Managing Committee has been committed to awarding mini-grants in the range of $1,000 – $10,000 to ensure fairness, as well as to ensure the money is distributed to as many eligible groups as possible, and that the money in the fund is available to the community until the casino opens.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, in collaboration with the Charlestown Community Impact Fund, announced the approval this week. Awards support projects spanning the areas of arts and culture, community enrichment activities and events, education, youth sports, veterans, after-school activities, mentoring, job training, recovery services, senior programming, parks and community gardening, and health and wellness.
The Charlestown Community Impact Fund was created as a result of the Surrounding Community Agreement reached between Mayor Walsh and Wynn Resorts. As part of this agreement, Wynn made a one-time payment of $1 million designated for local Charlestown nonprofits and community organizations.
“My priority has always been to preserve and protect the quality of life in Charlestown, and these grant awards do just that, helping everyone from students to older residents to veterans gain increased services and opportunities,” said Mayor Walsh. “The Charlestown Community Impact Fund represents our continued work on behalf of the people of Charlestown.”
State Rep. Dan Ryan said they have tried to make it a fair and equitable process.
“I want to thank the Mayor’s office, Encore Boston Harbor and my colleagues on this committee for making these funds a real positive experience for our non-profits,” he said. “We have tried to be fair with these initial funds with our eyes on improving the process the future.”
Councilor Lydia Edwards also participated personally in her first time on the Fund committee and said she enjoyed the process.
“I took this very seriously and wanted to make sure that the community most impacted by the casino was really served with the Wynn money,” she said. “Still, all the money in the world isn’t going to stop me from holding the casino accountable.”
State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he was glad to participate in the process once again.
“These funds go a long way to helping local community groups in Charlestown and serve many local residents,” he said. “I want to thank Mayor Walsh for establishing the fund and for Encore Boston Harbor in providing these resources to Charlestown. I’m proud to have been involved in the process and look forward to more funds being distributed in the next round.”
The seven members of the Managing Committee of the Charlestown Community Impact Fund are responsible for distribution of the funds. The committee is made up of City of Boston staff and members of Charlestown’s elected delegation. The Fund awards mini-grants twice per year in the spring and the fall.
The Charlestown Community Impact Fund Managing Committee voted at its May 31 meeting to approve the spring mini-grant awards.
Grants Approved for Spring 2018:
- Artist Group of Charlestown, $1,000, for signage and a bulletin board.
- Battle of Bunker Hill Parade Committee, $5,000, for additional musical units and re-enactors for the 2018 Parade.
- Bunker Hill Knights of Columbus #62, $5,000, for helping to defray hall rental for non-profits.
- Charlestown Babe Ruth, $5,000, for new uniforms, equipment and insurance.
- Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, $10,000, for summer camp and Teen Evening program.
- Charlestown Public Library, $1,000, for Yoga for Adults program.
- Charlestown Coalition/Turn It Around, $5,000, for addressing trauma experienced by youth and for race relations.
- Charlestown Girls Softball, $5,000, for field improvements for 2018 season.
- Charlestown High Music Dept., $2,500, for community performances and musical instruction after school for all BPS students.
- Charlestown High Academics, $2,500, for a summer reading program.
- Charlestown Lacrosse & Learning, $5,000, for ISEE prep for this fall.
- Charlestown Lions Club, $1,000, for purchase of a generator to inflate their Lion for the Bunker Hill Day Parade.
- Charlestown Little League, $5,000, for hiring certified umpires and to purchase a field tarp to keep the surface dry.
- Charlestown Veterans History Project, $2,500, to create a database in order to honor those from Charlestown who served in WWII.
- Charlestown Working Theatre, $5,000, to support and expand the youth and children’s theatre program and educational programs.
- Charlestown YMCA, $10,000, to provide free summer memberships to 200 kids and extend into the evening hours.
- Charlestown Youth Football and Cheer, $5,000, to cover day to day costs like referees and transportation.
- Charlestown Youth Hockey, $5,000, for new uniforms and for the SafeSport certifications.
- Charlestown Youth Soccer, $5,000, for a new storage container with lights and shelving.
- Edwards Middle School, $2,500, to deepen the connection between the Town and the school. Some 70 percent of students don’t live in Charlestown.
- Constitution Co-Op, $2,500, for entertainment for the elderly residents.
- Courageous Sailing, $2,500, for the Reach Initiative.
- e-Inc., $2,500, for the ChangeMakers program where youth will meet twice a week to learn about planet science.
- Friends of Memorial Hall, $5,000, for Veterans Outreach program.
- Friends of the Charlestown Library, $1,000, for the holiday concert.
- Gardens for Charlestown, $1,000, to beautify the Main Street median strip, erect an American flag and repair gates.
- Gavin Foundation, $5,000, for the AAWOL program for men and women.
- Good Shepherd School, $1,000, for spring events like Children’s Concert, A Taste of Charlestown, and the June street party.
- Harvard Kent Leadership Scholarship, $2,500, for a teacher grant program.
- J.W. Conway Bunker Hill Post #26, $5,000, for allowing events at the post to be held at no cost.
- Kennedy Center, $10,000, for replacing the grease trap and building a kitchen.
- Kent Charlestown Community School Council, $10,000, for summer camp and enrichment programs.
- North End Music and Performing Arts, $2,500, for expanding music program to Charlestown.
- Skating to Success, $5,000, for introducing low-income kids to skating and hockey.
- Special Townies, $10,000, for covering the rent at their facility.
- The Dignity Institute, $2,500, to collaborate with the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club.
- Friends of Mel Stillman Tennis Center, $5,000, to support youth programs.
- Friends of the Training Field, $5,000, to illuminate the Soldiers & Sailors Monument.
- Town Track, $5,000, to cover the costs of expanding the program.
- USS Constitution Museum, $5,000, for the Anchors Aweigh birthday celebration for the Constitution on Oct. 21.
- Warren Prescott Foundation, $2,500, for the Social Emotional Learning First program.