Connecting experience and enthusiasm: Collaborate Boston awards $100,000 to innovations that cross generations

June 1, 2018

Boston The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, today announced that five partnerships will share $100,000 in support to create and advance neighborhood projects that connect younger and older residents to solve urban problems.

The 2017-18 Collaborate Boston awards were announced May 31 at a gathering at the Boston Foundation, by the Foundation’s 2017-18 class of Boston Neighborhood Fellows. The ten Fellows came up with the focus of this year’s competition and played an active role in the decision-making process.

“This Collaborate Boston process captures the true essence of what we mean when we talk about grassroots grantmaking efforts,” said Natanja Craig, the Boston Foundation’s Director of Grassroots Programs. “To have our Fellows, who themselves were selected for their connections and impact on their local communities, devise and execute this year’s program, helps to ensure that our Collaborate Boston winners are not just quality programs, but that they capitalize on the power of neighborhood organizations to create innovation solutions.”

Each of the five selected partnerships will receive $20,000 in grants and support to complete their projects. The winners are:

The Green Team World Crops Project - Somerville
Partners: Groundwork Somerville, Mystic Community Garden, SomerVIVA

To both connect youth with community elders and increase food access, this project will give youth an opportunity to interview immigrant elders from their local community 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) - Dorchester
Partners: LIPGLOSS, Boston Emergency Services Team, Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester

In this project, girls will learn from the lived experiences of their elders. The Helping Girls Shine program will convene 20 girls chosen by the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester to be part of an 8- to 12-week program to develop their leadership skills and teaches them the power of sharing stories and how to manage difficult but necessary conversations.

The Racines Black Dance Festival
Partner: The Racine Dance Company

To create an inclusive, accessible, intergenerational experience through dance, The Racine Dance Company will host The Racines Black Dance Festival, led by passionate community artists creating an African-rooted dance festival. After a successful launch in Cambridge in 2017, the grant will make It possible to move the festival to Boston this year. Young dancers will learn both the discipline and the history of Pan-African rooted dances in a supportive community environment.

Boston Asian American Immigration Stories and Support Network
Partners: Asian American Resource Workshops, Greater Boston Legal Services – Asian Outreach Unit

This project highlights the power of creating movements, by bringing together groups to work collectively to identify problems rooted in systems of oppression and seek to dismantle them. In this collaboration, young and old will share and uplift Asian immigration stories, and take part in designing and implementing Know Your Rights workshops to build immigrant power through collaborative effort.

The Boston Resilience Collaborative
Partner: Boston Alliance of Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth

The Boston Resilience Collaborative will organize a conference and other opportunities to bring together different generations of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. This will serve to elevate their shared voice, and to identify and eliminate contact and communications barriers between the generations that serve to marginalize transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals of all ages.

“Together, these projects capture the core values of Collaborate Boston – they value mentoring and teaching, and recognize the knowledge gains of lived experience,” noted Orlando Watkins, Vice President of Program at the Boston Foundation. “They recognize overlooked solutions, tap into movements and elevate the voices of the marginalized.”

“In short,” he added, “they leverage the best of our communities.”



The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of more than $1 billion. In 2017, the Foundation and its donors paid $130 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $194 million. The Foundation is a close partner in philanthropy with its donors, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. It also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.