BROOKLINE, Massachusetts – The Town of Brookline and the Brookline Community Foundation will launch a Racial Equity Fund to support community organizations and efforts advancing racial equity and racial justice for the Brookline community. “As one of the first communities in Massachusetts to allocate mitigation fees from cannabis dispensary revenue to fund racial justice grantmaking, I am excited we’ve reached this milestone and look forward to the next phases of this program launching in the coming months,” said Mel Kleckner, Town Administrator for the Town of Brookline.
The Racial Equity Fund will be a new collaborative effort between Brookline Community Foundation and the Town of Brookline, which has generously provided a $500,000 investment to seed the fund. “The creation of this dedicated fund signals a tremendous and unprecedented step in Brookline for racial justice. Reversing the impacts of racial injustice will require persistent effort for many years to come, and by leveraging our partnership with the Town and actively seeking other funding partners, we can move resources more equitably and strategically in commitment of the strengths and visions of communities of color,” said Giselle Ferro Puigbo, Executive Director of the Brookline Community Foundation.
This new program will provide grants to local nonprofit organizations, other entities, and community efforts working to address racial equity gaps that affect the quality of life for people of color in the areas of economic advancement, education, health and wellness, housing, and more. “We will continue our core work to support Brookline via strategic grantmaking and responding to community needs, building on learnings from the past year and more explicitly centering equity in our work to build a better Brookline for all,” said Gioia Perugini, Vice Chair of the Brookline Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
The Brookline Community Foundation will manage the fund and facilitate the grantmaking program. Consistent with the fund’s purpose, the Brookline Community Foundation will assemble a Racial Equity Fund Committee comprised of community members, representatives from the Town of Brookline, and representatives from the Brookline Community Foundation—marking the first participatory grantmaking program in the foundation’s history.
Both representatives from the Town of Brookline and the Brookline Community Foundation aim to ensure that a majority of Committee members identify as people of color. “The cornerstone of racial equity is sharing resources and decision-making power in a way that fundamentally supports the self-determination of people of color. That’s why having a majority of people of color on the Racial Equity Fund Committee is important. I hope others join us in celebrating this milestone and in continuing to build a more equitable community together,” said Select Board Vice Chair Dr. Raul Fernandez.
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.
Contact Meghan Guidry for further comment.