Sunday, May 23, 2010

Better Beaches Small Grants

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is thrilled to ring in the beach season with some great news!
We are delighted to announce that we will be awarding a third round of Better Beaches Small Grants to local organizations in beachfront communities and waterfront neighborhoods from Nahant to Nantasket thanks again to the generous support of The Boston Foundation.
We launched "Better Beaches" in 2008, in partnership with the Metropolitan Beaches Commission and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to help jumpstart public activities and free events on our region's public beaches. By all accounts we have done just that, helping groups on nine communities put their beaches to work for all the residents of our region.

Last year, with the support of all of our great partners, Save the Harbor supported 31 free events in 9 communities that brought hundreds of thousands of the region's residents to their public beaches. Among the many notable events and programs we supported in 2009 were concerts and sand castle competitions, family reading nights and neighborhood beach festivals that attracted hundreds of thousands of regional residents to the cleaner waters of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.

The 2010 Better Beaches program looks to build on this success by seeking proposals that will support and promote beach programming in 2010, and strengthen local beach groups so that they can survive - and thrive - in the longer term. This year we will look forward to funding creative proposals that include plans that will help sustain beach programs in the long term through media partnerships, advertising or other outreach efforts, the creation of materials such as posters, t-shirts, or other items for resale, or support for other innovative (or tried and true!) fundraising, membership or marketing efforts.

Of course, beyond financial support, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will also continue to offer technical and operating assistance to empower all beaches groups to better advocate on behalf of their beaches and their programs.

Save the Harbor will hold a Grant Workshop on Monday May 3rd from 5:30-7:30 at our office on Boston Fish Pier, to discuss new ideas with applications. We are accepting requests ranging from $500 to $5,000. Proposals are due Monday, May 10th. Grants will be awarded on Saturday, June 5th at our offices on Boston Fish Pier.

Click here for more information about how to apply.

We are looking forward to another great summer of events and activities on our region's public beaches and hope you are too!

Building on Better Beaches

At Save the Harbor/Save the Bay we love this time of year because people up and down the coast are excited to clean up their beaches and show them off to new visitors – and we get to help.

Thanks to generous contributions from The Boston Foundation, National Grid and Comcast, we anticipate that we will have dozens of fun and free events in every beach community from Nahant to Nantasket, so wherever you call home, there should be an event on a nearby beach.

Our president Patty Foley reflected last spring that “It’s remarkable what people who love their beach and their community can accomplish with just a little bit of help.”

After spending some time working with people who love their beaches, I couldn’t agree more. Most everyone that we work with fell in love with “the beach” (whichever it may have been) early and has given back often.

Especially now that we have heard the ideas for the summer from our friends groups on our Metropolitan Beaches from Nahant to Nantasket, these words resonate once again.

The Better Beaches project – bringing people back to our beaches – is never-ending and sometimes challenging but it can also be a great deal of fun. This year, with a little bit of encouragement, we are hearing from people from all of our beach communities about how they plan to take their beach stewardship to the next level through media partnerships, advertising, outreach, fundraising, merchandising, and membership initiatives.

Together, in 2010, these friends will create and sell thousands of T-shirts and other items, develop an online store, produce a TV ad, and work hard to bake several other fresh ideas into working models for financial sustainability.

Strengthened by these strategies, we are confident our friends groups will put together an impressive slate of events from Constitution Beach’s kickoff Beach Party to Nantasket Beach’s Endless Summer that will give people throughout the region plenty of reasons to stretch their summer season and find new things to love about our beaches.

Aside from fulfilling our goal of bringing more people out to the beaches, this year’s series of events will generate a lot of great images and press, stories – and most importantly – memories.

We really hope you are able to make it out to some of this year’s events and buy some kites, totes and T’s. We will use the Better Beaches Blog and our Boston Harbor FacebookPage to keep you posted about beach happenings and events and the great groups that host them.