Save the Harbor Awards SB with Grants For Free Beach Programs

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay awarded more than $55,000 in Better Beaches Program Grants to support more than 40 free beach events and activities on the Boston Harbor region’s public beaches this summer in a ceremony on Boston’s Fish Pier on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017.

Among the 27 organizations from Nahant to Nantasket that received grants this year were five with programs in South Boston. BCYF Curley Community Center received $3500 for the Curley Community Center Summer Series, Mass Kiting received $1000 for the 3rd Annual International Kite Surfing Film Festival, South Boston Neighborhood House received $3500 for Family Fun Nights on the Beach and Olliepalooza, Greater Boston YMCA received $2500 for free swimming lessons at Carson Beach, and YES received $1767 for their program Outdoor Adventure: Stand-Up Paddleboard for Boston Youth.. You can find a complete list on Save the Harbor’s blog, Sea, Sand & Sky at www.blog.savetheharbor.org
 
In 2016, Save the Harbor and the Department of Conservation and Recreation awarded $219,442 in small grants and additional organizational support to 43 groups in 9 beachfront communities and waterfront neighborhoods. These groups in turn leveraged our funds with $454,990 in cash and in-kind support from local government and businesses and more than 8,800 volunteer hours to support 107 free concerts, fitness boot-camps, beach festivals, sand raking demonstrations and sand sculpting competitions.
 
Late last year the Baker/Polito Administration cut $98 million from the budget, including all funds to support free events and programs on the metropolitan beaches in Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy and Hull this summer. Consequently, all of the grants for the Better Beaches Program in 2017 come from the proceeds of the Harpoon Shamrock Splash, where 250 brave souls jumped into the cold waters of M Street Beach in South Boston in March to raise money for free programs on their beach.

“ In May the House and the Senate restored funding for this program for FY2018,” said Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s President Patty Foley. “I urge the Governor fully fund Metropolitan Beaches line item in the budget, and to make the funds available as soon as possible, so we can continue to invest in these free programs, which are so important to the region’s kids and families,”
 
This year’s Better Beaches Program Grants will fund concerts and sand sculpting competitions, beach festivals, movie nights, free kayak lessons and aquatics instruction, Art on the Shore and Storytelling by the Sea on public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket. 

“We are especially pleased that Intertidal Artist Andres Amador will join us on the beach again this summer,” said Save the Harbor’s spokesman Bruce Berman. “I’m personally looking forward to performances by the Boston’s Circus Guild, featuring fire juggling clowns, and of course the Pokemon Go Festival, though I understand it is not a “thing” anymore.”
 
“Though all of us at DCR are of course disappointed that we can’t help fund the program this year, we will continue to provide staff time and other resources to support these events,” said DCR Director of Park Operations and Metropolitan Beaches Commissioner Susan Hamilton. “Thanks to our partner’s at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay for helping to make this summer a great one for the region’s residents and visitors from across the Commonwealth”
 
At the event on the Fish Pier Save the Harbor/Save the Bay thanked Metropolitan Beaches Commission Co-Chairs Senator Tom McGee and Representative RoseLee Vincent and the legislative and community members of the Commission for making this great program possible.
 
Save the Harbor also thanked their foundation funding partners, The Boston Foundation, the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, and the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust for their support.
 
Thanks as well to corporate sponsors Harpoon Brewery, JetBlue, P&G Gillette, National Grid, Beacon Capital Partners, LLC, Airbrush Unlimited, Inc., Comcast, Google and the hundreds of individual participants and donors to the Harpoon Shamrock Splash, and a special thanks to Syam Buradagunta and the Blue Sky Collaborative, whose fundraising platform has helped make the Better Beaches Program a success since its inception in 2008.
 
To learn more about the Better Beaches Program visit Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s blog, Sea, Sand & Sky at www.blog.savetheharbor.org, or follow savetheharbor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
 
You can make a contribution to help Save the Harbor “Share the Harbor” this summer here.

Jeanne Rooney

Jeanne Rooney is the Editor in Chief for South Boston Online.