Boston – The Boston Foundation today announced that sixteen community-based programs in the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts, are sharing $825,000 in grants as part of Chelsea 2021 – a collaboration between Boston Foundation donors and community leaders to provide effective, locally-targeted funds toward a just and equitable recovery from COVID-19 and racially-based injustice.
The Chelsea 2021 initiative brought together the donors with Chelsea residents, civic leaders and nonprofits in a nearly year-long series of monthly conversations and other connections designed to give Chelsea residents and leaders a stronger voice in the initiative’s strategy and decision-making. The program was conceived by Boston Foundation SVP/Chief Philanthropy Officer Kate Guedj and Vetto Casado, Assistant Director of Programs.
“Community foundations like the Boston Foundation have a unique opportunity to directly connect a base of passionate donors with community organizations and proximate leaders who best understand the true needs of the communities in which they live, work and serve,” said Guedj. “The result is seen not just in the grants the initiative was able to make, but the relationships built between the collaborative members during the process.”
“La Colaborativa was proud to be part of the planning process for the Chelsea 2021 partnership. It's essential that community perspectives are at the forefront of initiatives like this - a fact that the Boston Foundation and Chelsea 2021 partners understood from the start,” added Dinanyili Paulino, Chief Operating Officer at La Colaborativa, a partner in the collaborative effort. “Meaningful and sustainable change in communities like ours has to come from the grassroots and the people most affected.”
The Chelsea 2021 process was designed to provide a hyperlocal focus on Chelsea and its innovative network of nonprofits, who pulled together to provide critical resources to reduce the devastating impact of COVID-19. It brought community members into grantmaking decisions through a “participatory grantmaking” process, ensuring the funding was distributed with the input of community members with lived experience of the issues a hand.
At the center of the initiative were monthly meetings to bring together donors and foundation staff with community leaders and members, who would share their experiences across several themes. Those themes included an overview of collaborative philanthropy, discussions of the state of the food, housing, business, and entrepreneurship ecosystems in the city of Chelsea, and a community review of the Chelsea 2021 Call for Ideas.
Grantmaking funds for Chelsea 2021 combined dollars from the Boston Foundation’s COVID-19 Resource Fund with over $500,000 in donations from Donor Advised Funds at the Foundation. Community voices were represented throughout the development of the grant application process and in determining the final grants.
At the end of the process, the group elected to give grants across three key areas of focus: Jobs and Entrepreneurship ($405,000), Food Insecurity ($190,000), and Housing ($230,000). Grants ranged from $25,000 to $75,000 and were given as general operating support.
Chelsea 2021 grantees (listed alphabetically by focus area):
Jobs and Entrepreneurship:
Apollinaire Theatre Co. - $30,000
Apollinaire Theatre creates unique encounters with plays that inspire and entertain. Their programs -Teatro Chelsea, Apollinaire Play Lab, Apollinaire in the Park, Resident Artist Program- complement their production season and cultivate a local ecosystem of artists of all ages and career stages. Apollinaire plans to use this funding to increase access to the arts and skill-building.
Chelsea Black Community - $50,000
Chelsea Black Community serves as a forum that brings Chelsea residents, business, educational and religious organizations, city government, and leaders of Black and African descent together to advocate for resources, policies, regulations, programs, activities, and services; and to improve the economic, social, educational, health and safety conditions for all Chelsea residents. CBC plans to use this funding to launch its new entrepreneurship network and program.
Chelsea Business Foundation - $50,000
Chelsea Business Foundation develops equitable economic development strategies to help foster a more prosperous economy for all. Their goal as a social entrepreneur is to promote a healthy economy, create an inviting environment, support the growth and prosperity of Latino and Small businesses, develop, restore, adapt real property and provide training opportunities that lead residents and community members to greater economic prosperity. CBF plans to use this funding to scale innovation and entrepreneurship advising.
Jewish Vocational Service - $50,000
JVS’ mission is to empower individuals from diverse communities to find employment and build careers, while partnering with employers to hire, develop, and retain productive workforces. This funding will be used to deepen JVS’ proven model in the City of Chelsea.
La Colaborativa - $75,000
La Colaborativa empowers Latinx immigrants to enhance the social and economic health of the community and its people, and to hold institutional decision-makers accountable to the community. This funding will support La Colaborativa’s work in housing, employment and economic stability, immigration, ESOL, and food security.
La Vida Scholars - $50,000
La Vida Scholars helps close the opportunity gap among low-income students and students of color by recruiting first-generation-to-college, high-achieving students (3.0 GPA and above) and giving them tools to enroll in competitive colleges, persist, and achieve their degrees. This grant will support the development and expansion of their Summer Academy, which aims to serve Chelsea students in 10 th, 11 th, and 12th grades.
Phoenix Charter Academy - $50,000
Phoenix Charter Academy was established in response to a concerning trend in Chelsea –that bright and talented young people who experienced significant challenges were being given up on and had nowhere to turn. Phoenix embeds intensive support within a culture of high expectations for older and disconnected youth, so they take ownership of their futures and succeed in high school, college, and as self-sufficient adults. Phoenix plans to use this funding to support the launch of the Health Pathways Class, a program that will offer students an opportunity to explore healthcare careers.
ROCA, Inc. - $50,000
ROCA’s mission is to be a relentless force in disrupting incarceration, poverty, and racism by engaging the young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope, and drive change.
Chelsea Community Connections - $50,000
Chelsea Community Connections is a neighborhood-based, resident-driven coalition. Built upon the existing strengths of families and the community, CCC facilitates partnerships with supportive resources and services to strengthen families, eliminate child abuse and neglect, and build a healthier community for everyone in Chelsea.
GreenRoots - $75,000
GreenRoots works to achieve environmental justice and greater quality of life through collective action, unity, education and youth leadership across neighborhoods and communities. As a community-based organization, it is dedicated to improving and enhancing the urban environment and public health in Chelsea and surrounding communities. GreenRoots plans to use this funding to support its Food Justice program.
Revival International Center - $40,000
Revival International Center is a community church that provides healthy food to the community. There are no requirements to receive food; it is free for all. Through the height of the pandemic, we increased the number of families and individuals that we served, averaging 500-600 boxes per week.
Selah Day Resource Center - $25,000
Selah Day Resource Center’s main priority is to help all the community, with a special focus on helping people from the streets with problems such as alcohol/drug addictions, gang involvement, prostitution, and homelessness with resources to help them with health and stability.
CAPIC - $75,000
CAPIC’s mission is to identify and address through partnerships, advocacy, and community engagement, the needs problems, and concerns of individuals and families to empower them to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. Signature programs are workforce development, child development center, fuel assistance, tax preparation, public safety, and crisis intervention.
HarborCOV - $40,000
HarborCOV’s mission is to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate, high-quality emergency and support services and safe, affordable, transitional and permanent low-income housing for victims and survivors of domestic violence, while advocating for victims and survivors and educating the public about the causes and consequences of domestic violence.
Housing Families - $40,000
The Neighborhood Developers - $75,000
Housing Families works to achieve housing equity and well-being for all. They partner with communities, families, and individuals to ensure housing stability by offering personalized services, including temporary and permanent housing, food assistance, individual counseling and group therapy, legal assistance, and youth programs. Housing Families is the only non-profit in Greater Boston to provide these holistic services under one umbrella.
The Neighborhood Developers promotes economic diversity, opportunity, and quality of life in Chelsea, Revere, and Everett. Their work strives to create affordable, welcoming communities for generations to come.