The Charlestown Community Impact Fund and Mayor Martin Walsh announced it had awarded 38 grants in Charlestown totaling $200,750 in the fall round of awards, but one award that didn’t get funded was very conspicuous.
The awards saw one of the largest payouts in the life of the program, that likely being because of the fact that it will be one of the last funding rounds before the big money comes in in June 2019 when the casino opens its doors. That will trigger millions of dollars annually in payments from the casino to the fund.
This time, nine organizations got the maximum $10,000 award. They included the Boys & Girls Club, Charlestown Lacrosse, Charlestown Nursery School, Charlestown YMCA, Harvest on Vine, the Kennedy Center, Robert & Georgine Towers, Skating to Success and Special Townies.
The one request that didn’t get filled was from the Boston Police to enhance the gunshot detection program in Charlestown, and also more video surveillance for pedestrian and traffic observation.
The police putting in for a grant has been something the committee and the community has been wary of for some time since the grants started. Many in Charlestown have said it should go to established Charlestown organizations or neighborhood-based projects. The worry is that the City might begin to supplement its regular budget items for Charlestown by using the community fund. The request by the police seemed to fit into that cautious category, though it did tie into impacts from the casino in regards to traffic.
All of the other requests, however, were funded.
The awards support projects spanning the areas of after-school activities, arts and culture, community enrichment activities and events, education, environmental and community gardening, health and wellness, mentoring, older adults programming, youth sports, and veterans.
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, Encore Boston Harbor has made a one-time payment of $1 million designated for local Charlestown nonprofits and community organizations. Additionally, Encore Boston Harbor will pay a Community Impact Fee of $2 million annually once the casino opens, as long as the casino is operating.
“These grants are why I fought to negotiate the largest community benefit Boston could obtain from the casino. 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.”
In both rounds for 2018 (spring and fall), the Charlestown Community Impact Fund awarded nonprofits and organizations grant awards totaling $374,250. 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. Over the past two years, the Charlestown Community Impact Fund has awarded more than 150 mini-grants totaling $755,750 to 59 different nonprofits and organizations.
“The impact fund has helped with a lot of smaller projects at the Charlestown Lacrosse Learning Center. The awarded funds allow us to plan for projects such as tutoring for our younger children and offering more in regards opportunities we can give to the community,” said Reed Catlin of the Charlestown Lacrosse and Learning Center.
“These grant awards will go a long way towards supporting the critical work of our community’s nonprofits and improving the quality of life in our neighborhood for generations to come. I am proud to have worked with Mayor Walsh, my fellow elected officials, and community leaders to ensure that the residents of Charlestown benefit from the economic growth and prosperity of the surrounding area and Encore Boston Harbor,” said Sen. Sal DiDomenico. “I would like to especially thank Mayor Walsh and his administration for their work to secure these funds and ensure that everyone in the Charlestown community benefits from the Impact Fund.”
Said Rep. Dan Ryan, “I want to thank Mayor Walsh and his administration for the work they have put into ensuring these grant funds are rolled out to the Charlestown community in a fair and equitable manner. I am proud to have partnered with Mayor Walsh, my fellow elected colleagues and members of the community to ensure that the residents of Charlestown benefit from the economic growth of the surrounding area, including the Encore Resort Casino. I am confident that the grants awarded today will assist our great non-profits as they continue their work in improving the quality of life in our neighborhood. I look forward to seeing the future good deeds that are enhanced as a result of this funding process.”
Added Councilor Lydia Edwards, “The Charlestown Community Impact Fund grants are an important means of ensuring Charlestown residents benefit from the growth of neighboring industries and that these industries are good neighbors to Boston. Investments in youth, recreation, public health and other areas address critical needs in our community and I congratulate the grantees.”
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.