Dear Brookline Community,

The start of a new year is an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and a chance to use those reflections to chart a path forward.

This past year was one of continuing challenges. We are still very much in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to impact every facet of our lives: health, well-being, education, income, and more. Moreover, the structural inequities are widening at an alarming pace, both globally and locally. On the tough days, it can feel endless – like we’ll never actually get to the other side of this.

But this past year was also a time of inspiration and gratitude for what we’ve already accomplished and the change we can ignite by working together. For the Brookline Community Foundation (BCF), 2021 marked a significant expansion of our work, particularly through our ARPA community engagement work. Over the past six months, we’ve connected with over 750 community members to listen and learn from you about how we can – and must – invest in Brookline.

You reminded us about our responsibility to our community, what’s at stake, what’s important, and how we can move forward together into a brighter future. In the year ahead, BCF is committed to taking everything we’ve learned from you and using your insights to help advance our new strategic plan Forward Together.

Thanks to your guidance, we see new pathways and new opportunities for BCF to play a key role in supporting collective recovery and community capacity building:

  • Through the Racial Equity Grant Program – made possible through a partnership with the Town of Brookline – we will launch our first-ever participatory grantmaking program – with community members playing a leading role in elevating new ideas and programs that will benefit Brookline and making the funding decisions.
  • Using new census data, we will begin preparing the next generation of Understanding Brookline reporting to highlight community strengths, shared challenges, and opportunities for transformative investments.
  • Leverage learnings from ARPA community engagement work to explore and invest in ongoing opportunities for community engagement, conversations, and collaboration across Brookline.

Crucial to all of this will be you, our community. Your support – whether it’s as an advisor, community partner, grantee, community member, donor, and more – is the foundation on which we can build a prosperous, equitable future for everyone who lives, learns, works, and plays in Brookline. And for us, we see this new year as the beginning of sustainable, long-term community engagement so we can keep moving forward together. I invite you to reach out to me directly to ask questions, share insights, and discuss how we can continue to do this work together.

Thank you as always for everything you do in, with, and for this community.

With gratitude,

Giselle Ferro Puigbo
Executive Director
Brookline Community Foundation