Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A Message from Our Executive Director

When Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s Board of Directors appointed me Executive Director in April, I was proud and ready to take the job. While there are unprecedented challenges on the horizon for all of the region’s non-profits, I believe my experience guiding Groundwork Somerville through the financial crisis in 2008, my role as Save the Harbor’s Vice President for more than four years, and the strong leadership team we have in place will help put Save the Harbor in the best position to weather these uncertain times.

As you are well aware, we are in the midst of the most serious public health crises to affect our nation since the influenza epidemic of 1918. Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh have wisely canceled large public gatherings until at least Labor Day. Most of our youth program partners have suspended their public programs – and in some cases their operations – to protect their staff and the public’s health, and our office on the Fish Pier is closed.

Despite the challenges, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s leadership and all our program and policy staff continue to work (via Zoom and phone) to restore, protect and share Boston Harbor, the harbor islands and the region’s public beaches with the two million people who live within a short ride or drive to the coast.

Make a contribution today to sustain and support our work.

Though we intend to continue offer free environmental education and enrichment programs that connect the region’s young people and their families to the harbor, beaches and islands this summer, we recognize that free public programs and events that bring scores, hundreds or thousands of people to the harbor like those we have run in the recent past will not be possible for quite some time.

Instead, Our Director of Strategy & Communications Bruce Berman and I are working closely (albeit remotely) with our legislative and community partners at the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, in the Baker/Polito Administration, and the City of Boston to develop strategies and messages that will reduce the risk of social spread and prevent gatherings on the beaches we love to share.

During this time of uncertainty, Save the Harbor is working closely with our youth program partners at the Greater Boston YMCA and Boston Centers for Youth And Families, who have asked us to develop engaging online educational activities for the youth and teens we serve together, who are out of school and (hopefully) sheltering in place and not gathering in our parks or on the beach - for now. At the same time, our youth program funders including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and John Hancock have asked us to help them find ways to provide meaningful summer jobs to as many Boston teens as possible this year.

In short, we have decided to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay has a proven track record of success in developing innovative programs that connect people and communities to Boston Harbor and each other. With your continued support as the weather warms, we will produce a series of interactive live streams that feature the Youth Environmental Education Program curriculum we have developed with your support, to virtually share the harbor with the 130 youth development and community groups with which we partner until the pandemic has subsided, and the “new normal” has emerged. 

Though the coming weeks (or months) will be a time of uncertainty, you can be certain that all of us at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay are ready, willing and able to help our partners and our community cope with the current crisis.

You can also be certain that, with your continued support, when the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will be here to share the harbor with the region's kids and families, for whom our free events and programs will be especially important.

On behalf of our Chair Joe Newman and our board of Directors, our Director of Strategy and Communications Bruce Berman and our terrific staff, I’d like to thank you for your past support.  I hope that we can count on you to make a contribution today of $20, $50, $100 or more, as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

All the best,

Chris Mancini
Executive Director
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay

P.S. I know that we can count on you to help us keep our beaches safe and open this summer, by practicing appropriate social distancing and not gathering on the beach for now. 

We have produced a short video on how to stay safe on the beach called Draw A Line in the Sand that we hope you will watch and share.

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