Generations Working Together for Change

Collaborate Boston 2018

TBF News Summer 2018

The 2018 Collaborate Boston winners were announced at an inspiring May 31st gathering at the Boston Foundation. Boston Neighborhood Fellows introduced this year’s winners. The 10 Fellows had been asked to define this year’s theme for Collaborate Boston, review applications and select the winners.

Rev John Borders
Pastor John Borders IV, a previous Collaborate Boston grantee, spoke to this year’s winners.

They chose a theme of cross-generational interaction, which typically involves experience on the one hand, and aspirations on another. Good cross-generational collaboration yields both—something this year’s Collaborate Boston winners are poised to achieve through their work in urban agriculture, mentorship, storytelling, dance and resilience. Each team receives a $20,000 grant and other support. At the event, Fellows introduced members of each of the collaborations, who spoke about their projects. (See slideshow below.)

Mutual respect and support abounded among Fellows, grantees and the crowd, which only intensified with a rousing keynote delivered by former Collaborate Boston winner, founder of Breakfast IV Brothers, and Senior Manager of Community Engagement for the Boston Celtics, Pastor John Borders IV.

He offered a “social experiment” to begin his remarks. He took a dollar bill from his pocket. “I have here one dollar,” he announced and held it out. The people gathered around waited, glanced at one another. After a pause he repeated: “Here is a dollar.”  Finally someone stepped forward and took it and with a grin slipped the dollar into his breast pocket. Then Borders produced another bill. “I have here a five dollar bill,” he said, and held it out. A quick-witted person speed-walked to accept the bill with a flourish. “I got you!” she said.

What did we just see? Borders asked. With the first bill we saw uncertainty, hesitation, skepticism and then a brave soul taking action. With the second bill, people were ready to dive in. “You all are trying something new, something people may have doubts about. But seeing it done makes it easier for others to follow. Seeing success makes others want to do it too.”

He offered advice to the grantees based on his own experience. Plan the impact of every penny before you spend a dime, he suggested. Lean on this community. Ask questions. Come to every event at the Boston Foundation. Meet people and connect. Use your current excitement as leverage to go farther. Slow down. And be grateful. “Enjoy this moment,” he ended, “but don’t let it be the end.”

2018 Collaborate Boston Grantees

The Green Team World Crops Project

The Green Team World Crops Project
Partners: Groundwork Somerville, Mystic Community Garden, SomerVIVA.  
Youth will interview immigrant elders to learn about foods native to their home countries. The youth will then be paired with mentor farmers, who will guide them as they grow, harvest and sell those crops to neighborhood families at affordable prices.

Helping Girls Shine by LIPGLOSS (Ladies Involved in Protecting Girls’ Lives On Serious Subjects)
Partners: LIPGLOSS, Boston Emergency Services Team, Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester. 
Twenty girls chosen by the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester will convene for an 8-12 week program to learn from their elders as they develop leadership skills and discover the power of sharing stories as well as how to manage difficult but necessary conversations.
The Racines Black Dance Festival
 Partners: The Racine Dance Company and community artists. 
Led by passionate community artists, this festival will create an inclusive, accessible, intergenerational experience through dance as it educates participants of all ages, races, gender identities and backgrounds in the discipline and history of pan-African dance in a supportive environment.
A group of six men and women stand in front of a blue TBF backdrop and pose for a photo, one woman is holding a piece of paper
Boston Asian American Immigration Stories and Support Network
Partners: Asian American Resource Workshops, Greater Boston Legal Services – Asian Outreach Unit. 
Asian Outreach Unit Groups will come together to collectively identify and seek to dismantle problems rooted in systems of oppression. Young and old will share and uplift Asian immigration stories, and help design and implement Know Your Rights workshops to build immigrant power.
The Boston Resilience Collaborative 
Partners: Boston Alliance of Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth. 
The partners will organize a conference and other opportunities to unite different generations of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals to elevate their shared voices and eliminate barriers between generations to reduce the marginalization of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.