We started paying attention to the Collaborate Boston awards back in 2013, when the Boston Foundation first launched the funding program with $100,000 prizes. To quickly recap, the funder gives these awards out to promising collaborations that are focused on achieving specific outcomes for the people and places that make up metro-area communities and that have strong leaders.
Well this fall, the Boston Foundation announced the 2016 winners of this competition, so we wanted to take another look at how the competition has been progressing. This year’s challenge focused on uplifting youth voices and strengthening racial, ethnic and community connections across Greater Boston. This focus plays into a national trend that we’ve been pointing out over and over again: equity. But with these awards, the Boston Foundation dove in a bit deeper to address issues like violence between youth of color and police and disease prevention in low-income communities.
There were four winners that received the Boston Foundation’s $100,000 Collaborate Boston awards this year. One recipient was the Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative, which is a collaborative effort of three groups: The Center to Support Immigrant Organizing, African Community Economic Development of New England, and Margarita Muñiz Academy. The purpose of this collaboration is to provide leadership training to immigrant teenagers and improve language learning in Boston Public Schools.
The Youth Police Unity Project, which is a collaboration of the Center for Teen Empowerment, the Boston Police Department, and the Somerville Police Department, received a grant to improve teenager-police relationships by way of a public art project. Another art-inspired collaboration is the Nomadic Civic Sculpture, which is an effort of the Urbano Project, CJET Consulting, and Urban Edge to create a portable gallery to interactive data collection tool. The final recipient was Beat 58 Personal Training Studio, which brings Level Ground Mixed Martial Arts, HoodFit, and ACCEPT Personal Training School together to prevent chronic diseases among low-income Black and Latino youth.
So what do all these award recipients have in common?
They all have a strong youth angle, a strong equity angle, and include at three groups working in a collaboration. Each collaboration has a strictly Boston focus as well, which ties in nicely to the Campaign for Boston to strengthen the Permanent Fund for Boston that was launched last year. Collaborate Boston is all about working together across organizations and sectors, and interested nonprofits can learn more or get involved by contacting the director of grassroots strategy, Natanja Craig, or the program associate, Lucy Ellis.
In other Boston Foundation news this fall, the funder released a report about incarceration and criminal justice reform last month. The topic investigated here involves the geography of incarceration to the geography of crime in Boston. You can learn more about this other issue that the funder has been particularly interested in here.