Boston Foundation grants mean more summer jobs for teens

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Boston – The Boston Foundation has announced a contribution of $184,000 to programs designed to address the needs of young Boston residents this summer. That includes a $50,000 grant to the summer jobs program announced today by Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The jobs program will provide employment to 3,300 young people at more than 20 community-based organizations. Young people who are employed through the Summer Jobs program will join a range of organizations including the Franklin Park Zoo, the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs and the YMCA. In addition, 15 new employers have joined the program to offer summer jobs to Boston youth.

The Boston Foundation’s grant was part of a total of $250,000 in private funds contributed to the program, which is primarily paid for through city appropriations.

“Boston’s Summer Jobs Program gives young people the chance to learn critical skills and have a wonderful experience,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The Mayor’s commitment to this important program is very impressive, and we are glad to be able to contribute to extend the opportunity to as many young people as possible.”

In addition, the Foundation has announced new grants totaling $60,000 to three community-based organizations to support their efforts to reduce violence in the city this summer. These grants continue work to combat violence begun by the Foundation in 2002, with a multi-year, $1.5 million Community Safety Initiative that responded to a surge in violence that year, after a decade of falling crime rates.

The Foundation also made available $74,000 for community organizations to hire as many as 16 additional outreach workers, and to keep community centers open. This will help make it possible for 21 community centers to open on Saturdays, and will extend hours for four centers on Friday and Saturday nights through Labor Day.

The Foundation has provided the new funding to the Ella J. Baker House, The Black Ministerial Alliance and the Boston Ten Point Coalition, and Dotwell. In each case, a grant of $20,000 will be used to expand or leverage existing programs that work with high-risk youth.

The Ella J. Baker House, a community youth center in the Four Corners section of Dorchester, will use the money to provide street outreach through September 2005 by hiring eight faith-based street workers. It will also make it possible for the center to remain open until midnight.

The Black Ministerial Alliance and the Ten Point Coalition will use the grant to hire a summer youth violence prevention coordinator. The goal is to help coordinate collaboration among faith-based and community-based organizations that are working separately to reduce violence this summer. Both the Alliance and the Coalition work to strengthen and connect local churches and programs to address the interests of Boston’s black and Latino youth.

Dotwell, formerly Health Services Partnership of Dorchester, will target the Bowdoin/Geneva neighborhood. It will use the grant money to add four youth workers and a schedule of events and activities created in collaboration with the Codman Square Health Center, Dorchester House Multi Service Center, the Dorchester Youth Collaborative and St. Peter’s Church.

“These organizations have deep roots and records of accomplishment in the area of community safety,” said the Rev. Ray Hammond, pastor of Bethel AME Church and a member of the boards of the Black Ministerial Alliance and the Boston Foundation. “Strengthening their ability to respond right away to neighborhood concerns is an important step toward making young people safe this summer.”

The Community Safety Initiative represented a collaborative effort with the Boston Police Department as well as grassroots organizations in at-risk neighborhoods. It was designed to build upon The Boston Foundation’s earlier role as a funder of community-based non-profit organizations that played a central role in the “Boston Miracle” in the 1990s, a model recognized across the country for achieving dramatic decreases in homicides and gang-related violence.

In addition to funding programs and organizations, the Foundation held a series of forums on community safety that engaged hundreds of residents and community leaders in a discussion about issues and solutions that could restore order and security in Boston’s neighborhoods.

The Initiative concluded in June of this year. Now the information collected during the past three years will be studied and evaluated to identify the most effective programs and to gain a better understanding of the roots of the violence.

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The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of almost $675 million. In 2004, the Foundation made $51 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of $41 million. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grant making, visit www.tbf.org , or call 617-338-1700.