Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced Wednesday that the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development awarded $2.2 million in grant money to over 50 community organizations that service the City of Boston’s low-income residents.
Awards ranged from $10,000 to $167,500, providing funding for a total of 51 community organizations that cover almost all of Boston’s neighborhoods, according to a City press release. The aim of the grants is to support low-income residents through organizations that promote overall economic mobility as well as educational and business opportunity.
Priority was given to organizations focused on economic mobility, essential language access and economic benefits counseling, according to the press release. Examples of activities that match this description include employment training, job networking and youth development.
Katy Gall, deputy director for workforce and policy at the OWD, said the funds are distributed by the federal government and organizations are chosen through a competitive and open proposal conference in the spring.
“Every year, I will say we get a lot more applications than we have funding to serve,” Gall said. “And there’s always programs that we think are really wonderful that we’re not able to fund.”
Gall said that funding would affect 4,000 Boston residents and fund a variety of services, all focused on economic mobility.
“The organizations that we’re funding do great work on the ground in our neighborhoods,” Gall said.
Awardees this year include Black Market, an entrepreneur funding organization, and Mothers for Justice & Equality, which provides education for women and children affected by violence. Both organizations were awarded grants for the first time this year, with Black Market receiving $30,000 and Mothers for Justice & Equality receiving $10,000.
Kai Grant, founder of Black Market, said in the press release that his organization runs a pop-up marketplace in Dudley Square committed to helping African American entrepreneurs build their businesses.
“Our community is full of dreamers and innovators that tend to get overlooked and overshadowed because of the zip code in which they reside,” Grant said. “This money is an investment for their future and the development of an entire economic ecosystem in Roxbury.”
Most grants were given to organizations concentrating on economic mobility and youth development. For instance, the highest grant receiver, the Boston Builds Credit, is run by the OWD and administers credit counseling to students at Bunker Hill Community College and Roxbury Community College, according to the press release.
Other organizations to receive funds include the YMCA Training Inc, which provides professional skills training to unemployed adults, and organizations like West End House and East Boston Social Centers, which host youth programs focusing on recreational and social enrichment while also fostering leadership and career development, according to the press release.
Ned Corkery, 34, of Brookline, said he believes the grants are a good way to support the people of Boston.
“I think it’s great for the mayor to step up for the low income people,” Corkery said. “He’s a good guy, he’s working hard for our Bostonians.”
Dawn Devitto, 54, who resides in Billerica but formerly lived in East Boston, also supports the city’s plans to help low-income residents.
“I just think that some people need to get a step ahead,” Devitto said. “And if they had some job training, they’d be able to get out there and be able to support themselves financially.”