The Baker-Polito Administration announced $2 million in Urban Agenda Grant Program funding to 23 projects. The program promotes economic vitality in urban neighborhoods by fostering partnerships for growth that capitalize on unique local assets and community-driven responses to challenges.

The announcement took place at Black Market in Roxbury, and included Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Housing & Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and State Representative Jon Santiago.  They were joined by The American City Coalition Executive Director Christine Araujo, Principal of Afrikai, LLC and owner and Chief Curator of Black Market Nubian Kai Grant and local community and business leaders.

The awards fund projects supporting workforce development, small businesses, and entrepreneurship initiatives across 21 communities: Attleboro, Barnstable, Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Greenfield, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Revere, Salem, Springfield, and Worcester.

Governor Baker said, “Our administration is committed to partnering with local leaders and community organizations that are on the ground in urban neighborhoods to encourage collaborative, high-impact projects that directly impact the quality of life and access to opportunity of residents. The flexibility of the Urban Agenda program enables investments in a wide-range of initiatives that train unemployed individuals for jobs, assist local entrepreneurs and prepare small businesses for success.”

Lt. Governor Polito said Urban Agenda grants “are one of the tools that allow our administration to tackle local challenges around workforce training and provide support to urban small businesses and entrepreneurs that have the potential to create strong and vibrant downtowns. Our administration has always emphasized collaboration and homegrown solutions, and today’s awards embrace innovative projects that will expand access to economic prosperity.”

Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015, Urban Agenda program grants are competitive one-year grants that offer flexible funding for local partnerships to implement programming and projects based on creative collaborative work models with the goal of urban communities achieving economic progress. These projects leverage existing economic assets to respond to and deliver on defined economic development and quality of life goals. Awards prioritize collaboration, shared accountability and building leadership capacity at the local level.

In this round of the Urban Agenda program, the administration prioritized funding to applications that proposed the implementation of projects or initiatives that directly address any of the recommendations issued by the Black Advisory Commission and the Latino Advisory Commission, established by Governor Baker in 2017. Applicants were encouraged to enhance partnerships from within the Black and Latino communities and to prioritize changes that would enhance community partnerships, strengthen small business, increase workforce participation and expand opportunity in ways that drive diversity and inclusiveness.

Secretary Kennealy said, The Urban Agenda program is one way our administration can connect more residents to the prosperity that has been generated in Massachusetts. Over the next four years, our administration will continue our outreach to small businesses across the Commonwealth, including those in urban downtowns, to ensure we align programming with their needs for space, capital, employees and technical assistance.”

With a $100,000 Urban Agenda grant, the American City Coalition is partnering with Black Market and Haley House on a three-pronged approach to economic growth – business development, wealth creation and physical connections – in Roxbury’s Nubian Square neighborhood. Grant funding will support a micro-business accelerator for underserved entrepreneurs, the re-opening of a local business that hires and trains residents facing barriers to employment, and a strategy to draw visitors and residents into Nubian Square on Saturdays when business activity is low.

Mayor Walsh said, “Supporting local businesses and organizations is one of the best ways to strengthen our neighborhoods. I want to thank our state partners for investing in the Black Market, Haley House, the American City Coalition and Action for Equity, all great local pillars that do so much to support our residents. Together, these investments will allow these organizations to continue creating more pathways into the middle class, fuel our local economy and expand economic opportunities for our residents.”

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded $6 million in grant funding through the Urban Agenda Grant Program, which offers flexible grant funding to support creative local partnerships.  Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED).

In 2019, Governor Baker signed the Baker-Polito Administration’s new economic development plan entitled Partnerships for Growth: A plan to enable the Commonwealth’s regions to build, connect and lead. Partnerships for Growth focuses on four core pillars to produce more housing options for residents, support vibrant communities, strengthen Massachusetts’ business competitiveness, and develop stronger pathways for workers. Over the next four years, the administration will build on investments in high schools and community colleges, create new pathways into well-paying jobs, and enhance access to capital, space and networks for women- and minority-owned businesses. This will not only address some of the core needs of underserved and vulnerable communities and populations, but it will also help to unlock economic growth in all areas of the Commonwealth.

FY20 Urban Agenda Awards:

Attleboro (City of Attleboro) – $50,000
Barnstable (Cape Cod Culinary) – $10,000
Boston, Mattapan (Action for Equity) – $100,000
Boston, Roxbury (The American City Coalition) – $100,000
Brockton (City of Brockton) – $60,000
Chelsea (Chelsea Collaborative) – $100,000
Everett (Shared Service Alliance) – $100,000
Fall River (Bristol Chamber of Commerce) – $60,000
Fitchburg (Montachusett Opportunity Council) – $100,000
Greenfield (Greenfield Community College) – $70,000
Haverhill (City of Haverhill) – $95,000
Holyoke (EforAll Holyoke) – $100,000
Lawrence (Lawrence CommunityWorks) – $100,000
Lowell (City of Lowell) – $100,000
Lynn (EforAll Lynn) – $95,000
New Bedford (Community Economic Development Center of SEMA) – $100,000
North Adams (City of North Adams) – $75,000
Pittsfield (Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity) – $95,000
Revere (Neighborhood Developers) – $95,000
Salem (North Shore Community Development Corporation) – $100,000
Springfield, North End (New North Citizens Council) – $100,000
Springfield, Otis Hill (Economic Development Council of Western Mass) – $100,000
Worcester (Main South Community Development Corporation) – $95,000