Monday, June 14, 2010

For the third year running Save the Harbor/Save the Bay has given valuable assets to fund events around the Boston beaches area.

At a press conference on the Boston Fish Pier on Saturday, June 12th, the non-profit organization Save the Harbor / Save the Bay awarded $30,500 in grants to 11 groups to support 35 free public events in nine Boston Harbor region beachfront communities from Nahant to Nantasket.

In addition, Save the Harbor announced that in the fall they will introduce the “Best of the Beaches” awards of up to $2,000 to organizations that deliver outstanding events on our region’s public beaches in Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy and Hull this summer.

This year’s "Better Beaches" events will include beachfront concert series, kite festivals, sand sculpting competitions, beachside art shows, environmental education programs, family fun nights and reading programs, volleyball tournaments and several beach festivals.

The program is made possible by a $25,000 grant from the Boston Foundation, $25,000 of in-kind support from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the financial support of Save the Harbor’s corporate partners at National Grid, Comcast Massachusetts, and JetBlue Airways.

"I love our beaches. I love all these groups and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay for making them work even better," said State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein who co-chairs Metropolitan Beaches Commission.

“There is so much we can do to make environmental initiatives a priority,” said Ronda Ivy-McLeod, manager of regional marketing for JetBlue Airways. “We are taking action by supporting Save the Harbor / Save the Bay and their local partners, and invite the community to join us. Every one of us, whether an individual or a corporation, one contribution at a time, can do much to help protect our environment and strengthen our communities.”
In addition to the grants, local Friends groups will raise an additional $160,000 in direct and in-kind support for their events and capacity-building initiatives, resulting in a total investment of more than $190,000 in free events and activities on the region’s public beaches.

“From the start of the Boston Harbor Clean-up it was clear that Boston's restored harbor and renewed waterfront would be an economic engine as well as a major community resource,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, an early funder of Save the Harbor / Save the Bay. “That vision has been born out by the success of organizations and business in communities across the region that have drawn thousands of local residents to these clean and accessible public beaches.”

With the Better Beaches program in its third year, Save the Harbor called on local beach groups to submit proposals that strengthen their organizations and allow them to sustain beach programming in the longer term. Groups responded with creative revenue-generating ideas for merchandising kites, T-shirts, totes, and hats as well as developing corporate partnerships, membership drives, raffles, fundraising events, marketing and media strategies.

“All these groups share a love for their beaches,” said Patricia Foley, President of Save the Harbor / Save the Bay. "These great programs would simply not be possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of these Friends groups.”

Save the Harbor / Save the Bay introduced the Better Beaches Small Grants Program in 2008 in response to a key finding of Metropolitan Beaches Commission’s report which called for increased programming on the area beaches. In the program’s first two years Save the Harbor / Save the Bay funded events designed to jumpstart public activities and programming on public beaches. Through 2009, the program leveraged a total of over $180,000 investment in free events and programs on the region's public beach.

Be sure to frequent these events and get the most out of the Boston beaches this summer!

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