Mayor Martin J. Walsh today presented 12 community-based organizations with $400,000 in community benefits money for workforce development initiatives for Roxbury residents. The recipient organizations will provide such services as job training, internship placement, career mentoring, and ESOL instruction.

“All of these organizations make a difference in somebody’s life,” Mayor Walsh said. “It’s about creating opportunities for people to get jobs.”

Representatives from a dozen community-based organizations welcome Mayor Martin J. Walsh at the community benefits presentation at Sociedad Latina.

The community benefits money was generated by the development of the Melnea Hotel project at Melnea Cass Boulevard and Washington Street, just over a mile from the check presentation ceremony at Sociedad Latina.

“It’s really wonderful to have our development dollars come back to the city and our work with young people,” said Alexandra Oliver-Davila, executive director of Sociedad Latina, which is using its community benefits funds to support 125 local youth with work readiness training, academic support, project-based learning, and internship placements.

In addition to contributing community benefits funds, the Melnea Hotel project will bring new jobs to the area. Christine Thomas of Colwen Hotels, which will manage the hotel, called Roxbury “our home and the home of our future employees.”

A community benefits check is presented to the Somali Development Center.

BPDA Director Brian Golden noted that the BPDA has been working to address the city’s need for jobs and affordable housing.

“That’s what these buildings do,” he said. “They play a profound role in the larger community.”

Since 2015, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) has released community benefits funds via an open grant application process. In their applications, organizations must show how the funds will be used to directly serve the immediate neighborhood and make a measurable impact. So far, the open community benefits process has been used in South Boston, Allston/Brighton, and Fenway.

Golden lauded the community-based organizations in these neighborhoods and in Roxbury as “the beating heart of a neighborhood, the life-blood.”

See the table below for a complete list of organizations that received Roxbury community benefits.

Organization Amount Funded Project
BEST Hospitality Training Center $75,000 Job training in hospitality
Boston Jobs Coalition $30,000 Campaign to promote job targets set by the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee
Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston $20,000 Goal-setting initiative for teens in their lives after Boys & Girls Club
Building Pathways $60,000 Pre-apprenticeship training in the building trades
MissionSAFE $24,000 Paid internships, career exploration and job readiness training for high- and proven-risk young people
Mothers for Justice and Equality $25,000 Workforce readiness training
Smarter in the City $15,000 Technology, resources and education for minority-run startups
Sociedad Latina $45,000 Stipends and skills training for teens placed in internships
Somali Development Center $26,000 ESOL, citizenship education, and job search assistance for African-American immigrants
The Possible Project $20,000 Supplementation of teacher salaries and program expenses at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School
Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts $20,000 Training in job readiness, digital, and other employment skills
YouthBuild Boston $40,000 Building trades exploration program


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