BROOKLINE, Massachusetts – The Brookline Community Foundation (BCF) is pleased to announce the first recipients of our Racial Equity Grant Program. A total of $305,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 9 projects from 8 organizations: Abilities Dance; Black N Brown Club; Brookline Asian American Family Network in partnership with Public Schools of Brookline; Brookline Improvement Coalition; the Brookline Teen Center; the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations; Steps to Success, and; Women Thriving. “These grants mark a historic recognition and impactful commitment by the Town, to its residents that have been historically marginalized and underserved,” says Kim Barnum, BCF Trustee and member of the Racial Equity Grant Committee. “This first round of grants, awarded to community organizations that are led by and in service to BIPOC residents, brings action to BCF’s vision of working together for a better Brookline. I’m proud of the partnerships between BCF, The Town of Brookline, and community organizations working together towards this shared vision.”
The Racial Equity Fund is a collaborative effort between BCF and the Town of Brookline, which generously provided a $500,000 investment to seed the fund. Consistent with the fund’s purpose, BCF assembled a Racial Equity Grant Committee composed of community members, representatives from the Town of Brookline, and representatives from BCF—marking the first participatory grantmaking program in the BCF’s history. “I am honored to have been part of the Committee and so inspired and energized by the diverse project proposals that will be funded, all of which further racial equity and justice by directly impacting the lives of Brookline’s BIPOC residents,” says Zoraida Fernandez, Brookline resident and member of the Racial Equity Grants Committee. “My fervent hope is that this inaugural disbursement is the first of many, that Brookline commits to investing in our BIPOC communities and their well-being.”
These grants will support a variety of programs aimed at advancing racial equity in Brookline:
- Abilities Dance, a Brookline-based nonprofit organization that uses dance as a tool for intersectional disability rights, is addressing the need for equitable and sustainable pay for diverse artists and arts administrators in the Brookline area.
- Black N Brown Club, Inc is establishing a dance art, mixed martial arts, mental health, and health and wealth food program for the Black N Brown Community, low income families in Brookline, and youth negatively impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.
- Brookline Asian American Family Network (BAAFN), in partnership with the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) is supporting an additional staff person in the PSB Office of Educational Equity who will specifically focus on supporting the AAPI student population.
- Brookline Improvement Coalition’s (BIC), to support hiring a director to advance the organization’s vision and create successful partnerships and programs to improve access to decent, safe and sanitary affordable housing, and; to establish a tenants’ union in Brookline to help renters convene and advocate.
- The Brookline Teen Center (BTC), to provide youth in Brookline, especially Brown and Black teens, with transformative supports and services by hiring the organization’s first high school manager and launching their new strategic plan.
- The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations, to support Community BUILDs—a community project of service, giving, learning, collaboration, arts, music, food, and fun. This project includes the creation, development and installation of a mural with BIPOC youth and a BIPOC artist at the Brookline Teen Center.
- Steps to Success is addressing the opportunity gap that has grown during the pandemic by hiring a High School Pathways Manager as well as providing a fund for students who want to participate in pre-college programs or take college classes to get ahead.
- Women Thriving aims to create new leadership pathways for BIPOC women by creating a leadership group where BIPOC women support, encourage, and listen to other BIPOC women. This work, involving Brookline BIPOC women and BIPOC leaders, along with established BIPOC-led organizations and their leaders will provide important new leadership development and paid internship opportunities.
“What connects all these projects is collaborative and actionable ways to advance racial equity through a variety of approaches within the Brookline community,” says Dr. Lloyd Gellineau, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations for the Town of Brookline and member of the Racial Equity Grant Committee. “I look forward to each of these efforts beginning and to the positive impact they will have in our community.”
Going forward, BCF anticipates holding another grantmaking cycle for the Racial Equity Grant Program, which is anticipated to open in late summer/fall. Additionally, BCF is committed to supporting applicants whose projects could not be funded during this cycle by helping them identify and access alternate sources of funding to advance their important work.
The Brookline Community Foundation is a public charity dedicated to advancing opportunity and promoting equity through the transformative power of giving. By leveraging core strengths in building philanthropic partnerships, supporting nonprofits and community efforts through grantmaking, and driving the research that informs a shared community agenda, the organization is helping build a better Brookline for all who live, learn, work, and play in the community. Learn more at www.brooklinecommunity.org.