An invitation to 'reimagine' our beaches

Last year's Better Beaches Program events included "Fire Juggling on the Beach." Photo courtesy Save the Harbor

The Save the Harbor organization is seeking proposals from organizations and individuals for free beach events to help them “Reimagine the Beach” this summer as part of their Better Beaches Program partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

In 2020, the Better Beaches Program awarded more than $200,000 in grants to 22 organizations that ran creative and socially distanced summer programs, including virtual circus performances, community music contests, virtual wellness and fitness classes, and virtual youth programs. In 2020, 25 percent of the grants went to providing safety equipment and support as organizations faced the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, as they worked to keep our beaches safe and open.

This year, groups and creatives in Dorchester are invited to respond to the Better Beaches Program’s request for proposals for grants ranging from $250 to $5,000. In 2020 Save the Harbor made 34 grants to support free beach events and programs, including “Fire Juggling on the Beach” by the Boston Circus Guild and the “Beats on the Beach” music competition.

Funds to support the program come from a legislative appropriation to the Department of Conservation & Recreation and the proceeds from this year’s Virtual Harpoon Shamrock Splash, which raised more than $50,000 in March.

Part of this year’s “Reimagine the Beach” campaign will include an active effort to sponsor beach events organized by and for Boston’s residents of color.

“Save the Harbor has recommitted ourselves to equity and anti-racism in our programs and on our beaches and we are excited to see the creative ways organizations and individuals will be activating our beaches this summer,” said Chris Mancini, the organization’s executive director. “This year more than $40,000 in Better Beaches funds will be intentionally awarded to organizations, programs, individuals, and creatives who empower, amplify, and invest in community members of color.”

Whether you are part of an organization, an artist collective, or are a creative individual, you can help Save the Harbor and DCR bring diversity and activity to the beaches in person or virtually in Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods and the region’s beachfront communities this year by submitting your proposal online today at savetheharbor.org/better-beaches. Grant applicants can come from any community, as long as the free event or program activates one of the metropolitan region’s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket.

Applications are due by May 14, after which Save the Harbor’s Better Beaches Grants Committee will review the proposals and announce this year’s recipients in early June.

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