Residents of MPDC properties redefined what it means to “have love” for your community. A resident-led organizing committee spearheaded Only Neighbors Can Build Neighborhoods workshops, gaining valuable leadership skills. Over 450 residents celebrated public safety and mutual respect between police officers and the community during the 16th Annual National Night Out event in August. Resident gardeners took advantage of 54 plots and worked with volunteers in our community gardens. Residents rallied alongside MPDC staff and policymakers in support of affordable housing legislation, and successfully advocated for equity in voter access which resulted in a more convenient polling location for over 100 seniors who live at Smith House.
Local artists and audiences find a home at Hibernian Hall
May was an incredible month for arts and culture in Roxbury. Over 150 people attended Hibernian Hall’s first-ever 2017 Season Preview Brunch. Boston theatergoers came out in record numbers to support visiting playwright Tricia Elam Walker’s edgy debut performance of Bold Moves, just one of the nearly 85 performances presented at Hibernian Hall this year! On May 18, Roxbury received a cultural designation from the state, the 3rd district in Boston! At our annual Sparks for Arts gala in November, we danced the night away in celebration of the cultural district distinction and Hibernian Hall’s Community Catalyst awardees were honored.
The Soheil Turner Leadership Institute Afterschool Youth Employment Program created meaningful experiences for Roxbury youth throughout the year, employing nearly 100 young people, including 39 residents of MPDC properties. The BCYF Youth Engagement and Employment Program selected our summer youth program to be part of its team of youth employers for 2017, awarding funding for 10 summer jobs. We expanded our scholarship program to include the Haynes Family Scholarship fund, providing financial assistance to young people applying to college and technical programs.
This year’s District 7 city council race and Boston’s mayoral race kept MPDC and The RoxVote Coalition quite busy! As a result of RoxVote’s strong GOTV efforts, voter turnout in Roxbury was 17.2% in September’s preliminary elections, exceeding Boston’s low city-wide turnout of 14.5%. In October, The RoxVote Coalition hosted a mayoral debate between Mayor Martin Walsh and District 7 Councilor Tito Jackson. Boston Globe reporter, Adrian Walker, moderated the hour-long debate in front of a capacity crowd at Hibernian Hall. The event was covered by major news outlets including The Boston Globe, WBUR, The Boston Herald, WGBH, Boston Business Journal, The BayState Banner, Universal Hub, and BNN.
We depend upon the support of our friends and partners as we continue working to develop affordable housing in Roxbury, increase resident leadership and engagement, provide affordable access to the arts, and create meaningful opportunities for young people. As part of the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit Program, we were awarded and allocated $150,000 of tax credits, allowing us to offer a great benefit to our donors. We’re extremely thankful for all of our support throughout the year.