BROOKLINE, Massachusetts – The Town of Brookline will launch a community engagement process supported by the Brookline Community Foundation to collect community-wide input to inform American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding priorities. To ensure funding responds to the wide range of community needs and advance COVID-19 recovery, the federal government has given local jurisdictions discretion in how to spend ARPA funds. $350 billion will be passed down to state, local, and tribal governments to help cope with the economic and public health fallout of the pandemic. Brookline will receive nearly $43 million in ARPA funding. The Select Board will make strategic investments to remedy COVID-19’s impact on Brookline and will look to community input to inform funding priorities and spending decisions. “This represents an opportunity to make transformational investments in the Brookline community,” says Mel Kleckner, Town Administrator for the Town of Brookline. “It’s crucial that we have significant community involvement in identifying where this funding can make the greatest impact.”
Beginning in October, the Brookline Community Foundation will support this community engagement process by hosting listening sessions, focus groups, and a community charrette, as well as through an online survey that will soon be available through the Foundation’s website. All community members are invited to participate, especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and/or historically underrepresented. “Ensuring everyone in the Brookline community—especially underrepresented groups and those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19—has the opportunity to participate, share their perspectives, and contribute insights is fundamental to making spending decisions more equitable, effective, and aligned with community members’ priorities,” says Giselle Ferro Puigbo, Executive Director of the Brookline Community Foundation. All materials, information, resources and updates will be available on the Brookline Community Foundation’s website brooklinecommunity.org/our-work/initiatives-partnerships/
Following the conclusion of the community engagement process, the Brookline Community Foundation will create a report detailing key themes and learnings, as well as highlighting community recommendations for potential priority investment areas. This report will be presented to the Select Board and made publicly available on Brookline Community Foundation’s website. Additionally, beginning in January 2022 the Foundation will offer technical assistance and foster collaboration through programs and workshops to support those interested in applying for ARPA funding through the Brookline ARPA OpenGov platform.
Immediately neighboring Boston, Brookline is one of New England’s largest towns and is a suburban, residential community with urban characteristics, including rapid transit accessibility and a mature, built-out downtown core of its own. However, nearly all of its land is zoned for residential use. Brookline began a transition from a largely agricultural community to its current suburban character in the early 1900s, and is home to approximately 59,000 residents — many of whom work in the management, professional services, medical and academic sectors.
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.