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Two groups win $50,000 prizes in inaugural Collaborate Boston competition

Black and Latino Boys at the STEM of Success, Codman Square Brotherhood Project are selected for collaborative approaches to improve outcomes for young men of color

Boston – Two collaborations, Black and Latino Boys at the STEM of Success and the Codman Square Brotherhood Project have been selected as winners of $50,000 prizes in the inaugural Collaborate Boston competition, the Boston Foundation announced today.

The competition seeks to elevate and support collaborative efforts that drive toward change critical to creating thriving people and vibrant places in Greater Boston. For the inaugural year, the Foundation sought applications from collaborative project teams specifically focused on improving the lives and futures of black and brown boys and young men, ages 9-15, in Boston’s Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods. Seventy applications were reviewed by foundation staff and a 13-member Advisory Committee made up of business, community and nonprofit leaders who selected the winners.

“We are thrilled with the success of this inaugural Collaborate Boston competition,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “Collaborate Boston brought together dozens of groups and got them to think of innovative, collaborative solutions to one of the most vexing challenges our city faces. We would like to thank all of the entrants, as well as the exceptional people who made up the Advisory Committee that reviewed the applications. And we need to congratulate our winners – we look forward to seeing them begin to work together to turn their visions into real efforts to make a difference for black and brown boys and young men in our neighborhoods.”

Black and Latino Boys at the STEM of Success, a collaboration of the Boston Public Schools Achievement Gap Office (BPSAG), Latino STEM Alliance (LSA), the Center for STEM Education at Northeastern University and Suffolk Construction, will create and support robotics teams of 10 boys at several elementary and middle schools in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. The teams will build upon the four program goals of the 10-Boys Initiative, providing academic tutoring and support, creating opportunities for social and emotional growth, providing leadership opportunities and engaging parents of BPS students that are within just a few points of MCAS proficiency. 

The partners plan to use the funding to hire and train teachers, recruit volunteers, purchase equipment, and provide mentorship and career presentations to team members, who will solve robotics problems in preparation for the statewide FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions in upcoming years. The partnership builds upon successful LSA programs implemented for students in grades 4 – 12 during 2012.  LSA will partner with FIRST and leverage their platform of FIRST Lego League in after-school programs for students in grades 3-8. 

The Codman Square Brotherhood Project is a collaboration of the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, Boston Project Ministries, Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, the Dorchester Arts Collaborative, and the Boston Police Department District B-3. It will create a ‘brotherhood’ of African American and Latino males, primarily ages 10-14, in the Codman Square/Four Corners neighborhood that grows out of the Millennium Ten community organizing initiative. 

This brotherhood will be built through a long term engagement that begins with a stipended, pre-employment internship program, focused on intensive leadership development, character development, and mentoring.  The core program components (employment readiness, mentorship, and character development/manhood support) were identified as priorities by Codman Square youth in the Millennium Ten community organizing process that concluded in the summer of 2012.

The partners will use the funding to launch the first stage of a youth jobs hub, created as a collaboration among community organizations, local business owners, and residents in Codman Square committed to increasing opportunities for youth people and changing the culture of violence.  Several of the collaborations will be new partnerships.

The full applications of both winners, as well as those of all 70 Collaborate Boston applicants, can be viewed on TBF.org. In addition, the two winning collaborations will present their plans to funders and others in the first-ever Collaborate Boston Showcase Event, to be held on Thursday, May 30 at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury, MA. An invitation is required to attend the showcase.

Advisory Committee 

The Boston Foundation and the Collaborate Boston team also wanted to recognize the members of the Collaborate Boston Advisory Committee for their hours of work on the applications. They are:

Business Leaders: Harriet Lewis, Grand Circle Travel; Ron Walker, Next Street

Funders: Natanja Craig, The Boston Foundation; John Jackson, The Schott Foundation for Public Education; Celina Miranda, The Smith Family Foundation; Ify Mora, Barr Foundation; Sheila Peterson, State Street Foundation

Government Leaders: Councilor Felix Arroyo, Boston City Council; Chris Byner, Boston Centers for Youth and Families 

Nonprofit Leaders: Tiziana Dearing, Boston College; Kit Jenkins, RAW Art Works; Andrea Perry, Youth Connect; Bill Traynor, Neighboring First 

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The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of more than $800 million.  In 2012, the Foundation and its donors made $88 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of close to $60 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with some 900 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes.  The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener and sponsor of special initiatives that address the region’s most pressing challenges.  The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, offers special consulting services to philanthropists.  Through its services and its work to advance the broader field of strategic philanthropy, TPI has influenced billions of dollars of giving worldwide. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit www.tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.