On Saturday, June 11 at 10:00 AM at their offices on Boston’s Fish Pier Save the Harbor/Save the Bay awarded more than $250,000 in Better Beaches program grants to 62 organizations and creatives to support 100 free beach events and programs in nine communities on the region’s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket as part of their Better Beaches Program partnership with the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR).
In 2021, the Better Beaches Program supported more than 60 organizations in nine waterfront communities from Nahant to Nantasket with events including festivals, movie nights, concerts, and beach parties. Save the Harbor has invested nearly $1.75 million dollars to support free beach events and programs since they began their partnership with DCR in 2007.
This year’s Better Beaches Program grants will bring free movie nights, DJ sets, circus performances, bike rides, Asian, Latin-American, and Afro-Arabian cultural nights, physical and mental wellness workshops, beach parties for kids and teens, beach wheelchairs, mobility mats, and much more to the region’s waterfront neighborhoods and beachfront communities of Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull.
“The metropolitan beaches are extraordinary assets that belong to all the people of our region,” said Chris Mancini, Executive Director of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay. “We’re proud to fund free community events led by organizations that celebrate and represent our communities’ cultural and racial diversity, and what we have in common: we love our beaches.”
This year, at the recommendation of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, the three largest grants were given to organizations that promote racial justice, access for people with disabilities and language accessibility, which were the subjects of three recent MBC hearings with more than 250 participants.
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay awarded $7,500 each to the Veronica Robles Cultural Center, A Trike Called Funk, and Triangle, Inc. These organizations will host Vamos a la Playa, a series of activities to foster an appreciation for Latin American cultures, Bike to the Beach and Boogie, a series of bike-riding events at five different beaches with guest DJs, and Beach:Ability, a day of beach activities with sand and floating wheelchairs available. Save the Harbor also used $7,500 to fund free mobility mats and beach wheelchairs to ensure the beach is accessible for everyone.
“The Better Beaches Program events are as diverse as the communities that host them,” said Metropolitan Beaches Commission Co-Chair, Senator Brendan Crighton of Lynn, “But one thing they all have in common is that they bring communities together to enjoy our region’s public beaches. Thank you to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and DCR for working together to strengthen our beachfront communities and waterfront neighborhoods.”
Metropolitan Beaches Commission Co-Chair Representative Adrian Madaro of East Boston agreed saying, “Our beaches are most active when Save the Harbor and their partners are hosting free family-friendly and fun activities on them. They are especially important to my constituents in East Boston and all those people who rely on these spectacular urban natural resources for recreation.”
This year, Save the Harbor also let kids and the community decide how to invest $25,000 in Better Beaches funds in a participatory budgeting process that generated more than 200 ideas. Over 600 people voted for their favorites: Boston Harbor Beach Market, Diversity Matters Fest, Beats on the Beach Block Party, Teen Beach Bash, and Wellness Fest. Each winning idea received $5,000 in funding for the summer.
“The metropolitan beaches belong to our communities and our young people,” said Maya Smith, Partnerships and Program Development Director at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay. “Participatory budgeting lifts up their voices and lets them be a part of the decision-making process for their community.”
Funds to support the program comes from the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Baker/Polito Administration, and the Harpoon Shamrock Splash, which was held on March 6, 2022, at Constitution Beach in East Boston.
“DCR is proud of our Better Beaches Program Partnership with Save the Harbor/Save the Bay,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “We are all looking forward to another great season of free events and programs on DCR’s beaches from Nahant to Nantasket,”
New partners this year include Circus Up, Inc, North Shore Women of Color Association, YMCA of Metro-North, Po Couto: Haus of Threes, City of Revere Travel & Tourism Department, Charlestown YMCA, Caribbean American Carnival Association of Boston, Inc, Next Level Factory, South Boston en Acción, The Black Literacy & Arts Collaborative Project, Fields Corner Crossroads Collaborative, Linda Wells, Daddy & Me Literacy Program, Norfolk Sheriff’s Office, Quincycles, Latifa Ziyad, Soca Hikes, Veronica Robles Cultural Center, Carolyn Lewenberg, Soca Fusion, and The Flavor Continues
Save the Harbor’s success would not be possible without their program partners and event sponsors, including Arctic Chill and Harpoon Brewery, JetBlue, FMC Ice Sports, P&G Gillette, National Grid, Coast Cannabis, the Daily Catch, Comcast, Mix 104.1, iZotope, Inc, The Blue Sky Collaborative, Boston & Maine Webcams, BostonHarbor.com, The Boston Foundation, and The Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation.
In addition, Save the Harbor recognized the Metropolitan Beaches Commission Co-Chairs Senator Brendan Crighton of Lynn, and Representative Adrian Madaro of East Boston and the legislative and community members of the Commission as well as Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano for their support for their beaches and communities. Save the Harbor also thanked the Baker-Polito Administration, the Massachusetts Legislature, Save the Harbor’s partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, the YMCA of Greater Boston, and the hundreds of people who took part in the Shamrock Splash for their support.
To learn more about Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the great work they do to restore, protect and share Boston Harbor, the waterfront, islands, and the region’s public beaches with all Bostonians and the region’s residents, visit their website at www.savetheharbor.org and follow @savetheharbor on social media.