Dozens gathered at the Harvard Ed Portal in Allston recently for the 11th annual Harvard Allston Partnership Fund (HAPF) awards ceremony. Harvard President Larry Bacow helped honor the 16 local nonprofits that were selected to receive support for programs throughout the Allston-Brighton community.
HAPF supports vital work that local nonprofits are doing in Allston-Brighton. The 16 organizations, which received a combined total of $100,000 during this most recent round, provide a variety of services, working with families, improving public spaces, providing youth enrichment programs, and more.
“The Harvard Allston Partnership Fund is an important part of Harvard’s commitment to its neighbors in Allston-Brighton,” Bacow said. “Your efforts demonstrate what we can do if we all work together and leverage each other’s strengths. Harvard is honored to continue to be part of this program and is committed to strengthening the collaborations that work to help our neighbors throughout the community.”
Since its creation in 2008, HAPF has provided $1.1 million in grants to 35 local organizations, supporting programs for thousands of residents.
The program, established by Harvard University and the city of Boston, in collaboration with the Harvard-Allston Task Force and Allston community members, was created to support nonprofit organizations providing neighborhood-improvement projects, cultural enrichment, and educational programming for residents of North Allston-Brighton. The awards support everything from educational and enrichment programs to arts and engaging activities for families.
State Rep. Kevin Honan, Boston City Councilor Althea Garrison, and Director Brian Golden of the Boston Planning and Development Agency were also on hand to honor the recipients.
At the ceremony, John Woods, executive director of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation, described how his organization partners with Harvard to help bring affordable housing to the community.
“This award will help us continue to work on meaningful programs that support the Allston Brighton community,” Woods said. “One of these programs that we’re very proud of is the All Bright Homeownership Program, which, thanks to the capital provided by Harvard University, allows us to be competitive, purchase properties on the open market, and then put a deed restriction on them to help ensure that they’ll be owner-occupied — meaning that people who live in our neighborhood will stay in our neighborhood. I’m incredibly happy to be part of this program.”
Various other organizations are also on the front lines every day working to bring meaningful change to the lives of residents. The grants provided though the HAPF allow these groups to include musical performance opportunities for young performers and audiences, after-school programming at the Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA), and the creation of an intergenerational and culturally diverse sewing community. Other groups offer financial security training to low-income adults, citizenship preparation, and literacy skills.
“We’ve been in this community doing the Literacy Connection for 31 years, and it’s an endeavor that we really feel is precious and treasured,” said the Literacy Connection’s assistant director, Sister Pat Andrews. “That’s why we’re here working with many of the immigrants that are coming in — immigrants who are very much a part of our neighborhood, the backbone. We’re working and trying to open up avenues for them in regard to language, opportunities, and citizenship. We’re neighbor connecting with neighbor. … Harvard has been very generous to us for a number of years, and we’re very grateful for that.”
Still others offer bicycle workshops, hockey and learn-to-skate programs, and exciting improvements in the public realm.
“Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) is extremely grateful to receive a grant from the Harvard Allston Partnership for making improvements to Herter Park,” said Pallavi Kalia Mande, Director of CWRA’s Blue Cities Initiative. “CRWA will be leading a volunteer event focused on managing the invasive species around the lagoon area and also conduct[ing] broader educational outreach on restoration opportunities for the park in the face of climate change.”
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh thanked Harvard for “these important investments in our neighborhoods, and in our city, which will have a lasting impact for years to come.
“These grants support local institutions and organizations that are important pillars in the Allston/Brighton community,” he added, “and I am excited to see how we can continue fostering this spirit of partnership and collaboration to benefit the entire community.”