From the Esplanade Association: "Funding from the Beacon Hill Community Fund was always a generous and meaningful gift from a valued neighbor, but this spring that funding became even more critically important than usual. COVID-19 has affected the Esplanade Association in many of the ways you might expect. Our free public programs in the park were all canceled or made virtual, including guided tours, musical offerings, and exercise classes. Our fundraising was also heavily impacted. And our award-winning Volunteer Program, a significant source of helpful labor in the park and income for EA, scheduled to start in mid-March, was canceled through August. In coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, EA recently determined that we could run our Volunteer Program both safely and enjoyably with only minor adjustments, so we are a “go” for September and October! We are delighted that the Community Fund grant means that BHCA members will be joining us for two volunteer days this fall. They will perform important park beautification work, including painting benches, removing litter, and doing some planting, all around the Fanny Appleton Bridge, and their experience will help us determine our approach for the 2021 volunteer season."
From the Beacon Hill Friends House:
"The Beacon Hill Civic Association Community Fund grant has been a key part in ensuring the success of the Financial Assistance program at Beacon Hill Friends House. This program was started in July 2019 in order to help support current and prospective lower-income Friends House residents. The generous funding from BHCA during the first year of the program has enabled us to provide financial assistance to 7 individuals, ensuring that these residents could make a home in our community without undue financial hardship. The grant has also enabled improvements to the Financial Assistance program itself; we are now able to guarantee some level of assistance for the full tenure of a resident's time at the Friends House, and have been able to raise both the income threshold to qualify for the program and the amount of funding available to an individual resident.
Offering reliable financial assistance has helped the Friends House maintain full resident occupancy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic - and we've even converted our two overnight guest rooms into housing for additional residents. We are proud to make residency in Beacon Hill affordable to community-minded individuals from a variety of walks of life, and we're grateful for the support of the Civic Association as a fellow organization working toward greater intentional community on Beacon Hill. We look forward to further strengthening our capacity for financial inclusiveness in the coming years as we continue to deepen both our commitment to diversity and our relationships to others in the Beacon Hill community."
From the Old West Church:
"In 2019, Old West Church applied for and was granted an award from Beacon Hill Community Fund and what an incredible gift it has been and continues to be. Our application contained an ask to both support our 2020 work with the Monday Night Dinners and the planting out of our food forest. Obviously 2020 has thrown us all for a loop but this grant has been a steady boon for OWC and our initiative to lessen the injustice of food access and instability for our neighbors and our community.
When the impact of COVID19 first started to be felt in the States in March 2020, the Monday Night Dinner team was about to step up and increase their capacity rather than decrease or even shut down. We deemed this aspect of OWC to be truly essential. Thus, the dinner shifted from indoors to out, planted to takeaway. Additionally, we went from just Monday evening dinners to Saturday afternoon lunches as well.
Certainly, this is not the 2020 food justice we were anticipating, however, because of the generosity of the BHCA and their work through the Beacon Hill Community Fund, OWC has been able to ensure that our commitment to food justice not only remains steady but remains possible through their generosity.
Additionally, one thing that has not been derailed has been our search for a landscape architect. And we are pleased to announce that after a rigorous RFP and interview process, the Old West team has selected Jan Goodman, and her team at Cityscape, to partner with OWC in this incredible project. As part of the initial planning, Jan and her team will be reaching out to community members to get their ideas, inputs, and dreams for what the food forest at OWC will grow to be! We know we can count on the participation and engagement of the BHCA as this is possible, in part, because of their support and belief in the mission and vision of OWC.
We are so grateful and look forward to all the work we can and will continue to do together!"
From Jack Burton:
The Beacon Hill Community Fund has fundamentally and positively changed the way I understand and see our neighborhood. I've always been interested in interviews and their power to create meaningful connections with others; so, when I heard about this community fund, it stood out to me as an opportunity to explore my passion.
Hearing about my grant request approval was an exciting moment for me. I felt thrilled that the BHCA had decided to give me the chance to explore and make a difference in our wonderful neighborhood. My mother and I attended the grant acceptance, and, although I was the only person who could not sip wine with the others, I engaged in interesting conversations with new, friendly faces. In a way, the project started at this moment; the Fund already had given me the opportunity to meet and converse with my neighbors with whom I had never spoken.
My project did not require an enormous amount of money to complete--however, the grant was very helpful in raising the quality of my video. I used a decent portion of the funding to hire a videographer and editor for my first few installments. Using my newfound knowledge gained from my experience with the first videos, I plan to purchase some of my own equipment for further interviews. From Beacon Hill Art Walk:
Thanks to the Beacon Hill Community Fund Grant program by the BHCA, we were able to postpone the Beacon Hill Art Walk from June until October, in hopes that by then the event would be feasible. Taking into consideration all the guidance from health officials and Massachusetts’ phases for public events, along with input from artists and patrons, we have been working on setting up a virtual event coupled with an online art sale.
We feel that this is an incredibly important opportunity, as artists are seriously struggling. There have been no art shows all year long, and the galleries and stores selling original local art have been closed.
While we did collect some artists’ participation fees in January and February before the Covid shutdown, the grant allowed us to refund the artists that requested it, and the rest of the artists will have guaranteed acceptance in 2021 with their 2020 Art Walk fee transferring to next year.
Thanks to the BHCA and the Community Fund Grant, we have been able to pay our fixed annual expenses (such as website hosting, P.O. Box, etc.), advertise the event on Facebook and Instagram all year long, update our website with the current participating artists’ info, with their own page of photos, bio, links to social media and their websites, and pay our usual PR company to write and distribute the press release and professionally promote our online art sale that utilizes a professional sales platform. This will assist the artists in getting their work publicized and generate sales, and allow our neighbors and fans to see what our artists have been creating during Covid, and also share their artwork with art patrons throughout the world.