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Keep the Fairmount Line on Track

The Boston Globe reported this past weekend what the communities along the Fairmount Rail Line have been seeing recently: that the trains community members depend on to get to work are canceled at a higher rate than other commuter rail lines.

These neighborhoods (Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Roxbury), which comprise the Fairmount Corridor, AKA, the Fairmount Cultural Corridor, are Boston’s most dependent on transit and yet have the least access to reliable transit and the longest commuter times.

And let’s be frank. This is not simply angst over late or canceled trains. Historically, residents of the affected neighborhoods – populated largely by people of color – have been an afterthought in conversations revolving around economic development, specifically access to job centers in the city. For decades this disenfranchisement meant that people who could see the skyline soaring above the city’s financial heart did not have the means to get to jobs Downtown and in the Financial District in a timely manner, and found themselves effectively disqualified by virtue of lack of transportation.
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Greater Inclusivity = Better Innovation

On October 27, the Roxbury Innovation Center will host a day-long national conversation, "Catalyzing Inclusivity in Incubators and Accelerators (ICIC)," co-hosted by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, The Boston Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The point? Driving home to attendees the importance of a diverse workforce, even as the innovation economy drives us toward more knowledge-based jobs and careers.
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Still there at the beginning on housing innovations in Boston

Greetings, friends.

We are halfway through October, and it's that time of year at The Boston Foundation - the time when we're presenting public forum after public forum after public forum, and issuing new reports on issues of great importance to the Greater Boston community.

Among the upcoming events and related reports, is our annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card, prepared by Barry Bluestone and his team at the Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy.

The report, which studies our region's housing market and analyzes problems revolving around housing, development, and infrastructure costs, will be presented in a forum at the Foundation on November 29. If you didn't read last year's report, you can access it here, as a primer.

But if I may pivot, as important as this recent work revolving around the Report Card is, the Boston Foundation has been working toward affordable housing solutions for decades.
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When Urban Planning Gets Innovative

We - the royal "we," you, me, and whomever else cares - fret often about what the future will look like in urban areas like Greater Boston, where more and more people are squeezing into less and less space.

And sometimes even the "faithful" get discouraged when the conversation doesn't advance beyond what we already know: that housing costs are too high, housing options are too few, public transportation will become increasingly crucial to the smooth flow of traffic, and quality jobs aren't being filled quickly enough.

But we try. Part of the fix is to put smart people in close proximity and listen as they share their experiences and give practical theories and strategies to be tested as soon as possible.

To those ends, on Oct. 20, the Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action at Boston College, will host a symposium and reception titled "Innovation, Urbanization and the Metropolitan Revolution!" for which you can find a link to register here.
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Open Door Grants program is in business

The Boston Foundation announced Tuesday that 24 nonprofit organizations – the first recipients of the Foundation’s newest grantmaking program – would receive one-year grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 in size. Ten of the recipients are established nonprofits; seven are building organizational capacity, and another seven are in an innovative stage of development.

“The Open Door Grants program is unique and in many ways a throwback,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “As its name suggests, it is an open process and responds to the expressed needs of the community. We continue to maintain and grow a robust grantmaking program in our major impact areas. But the Open Door Grants program is an excellent way for us to also help those whose work is focused on other areas.”

Per Grogan's comment, while the Open Door Grants program is relatively new the concept bucks a national trend among charitable foundations, which are increasingly staying away from grantmaking ideas generated by grassroots organizations whose work is “outside the box.”

Think about that for a minute - "outside the box."

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As Greater Boston’s community foundation, the Boston Foundation is focused on the myriad factors which make our city unique and successful.  Read about what we’re up to in the City of Ideas blog.
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