Better Beaches Small Grants program makes for a better summer at the ‘Y’

The highly successful grant program that allowed for community-wide beach activities sponsored by the East Boston YMCA is back.

Last week, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay announced the return of their Better Beaches Small Grants Program, made possible by a grant from The Boston Foundation. The 2010 Better Beaches Program looks to build on the success of previous years by encouraging proposals that promote beach programming while also strengthening local beach groups so that they can survive – and thrive – in the longer term.

Last year the program supported the East Boston YMCA’s Beach Kick-Off Day and an end of season beach dance at Constitution Beach. The program brought public school kids to the waterfront on their day off on June 17 with games and activities on the beach, as well as in late August with an end of summer beach party.

East Boston YMCA Executive Director Joey Cuzzi said the YMCA is definitely going to apply, and hopefully receive, another grant this year.

“The YMCA looks forward to Constitution Beach Day on Thursday, June 17, a day that will be filled with a variety of beach games, music and environmental education for children and families,” said Cuzzi. “Last year’s event drew more than 500 people to the beach, supported in part by the Save the Harbor/Save the Bay Grant Program.”

This year grants will be targeted to support initiatives that make local beach groups stronger by increasing participation, membership, and financial support through memberships, individual contributions, corporate sponsorships and contributions from local businesses.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay launched the “Better Beaches” in 2008, in partnership with the Metropolitan Beaches Commission and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to help jumpstart public activities and free events on public beaches like Constitution Beach. By all accounts, it has done just that, helping groups in East Boston and eight other communities put their beaches to work for all residents.

In 2009, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and participating groups built on this success by raising a total of $112,000 to support 31 well-attended events, including concerts, sand castle competitions, family reading nights and beach festivals that attracted hundreds of thousands of regional residents to the cleaner waters of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.

“At Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, we believe that the best way to save the harbor is to share it,” said Patricia Foley, president of Save the Harbor. “We’re glad to be able to support our partners in the region’s waterfront neighborhoods and beachfront communities as they find new ways to share the harbor we’ve work so hard to restore and protect with all the people of our region.”

This year Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will make another round of grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to non-profit organizations, community groups, neighborhood groups and Friends groups from East Boston. Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull.

The simple two-page application can be found online at

“Now more than ever, creative ideas for leveraging funds and increasing memberships are encouraged and welcome.” said PJ McCann, who will coordinate the program for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will host an application workshop on Monday, May 3 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at their office, 212 Northern Avenue Suite 304W Boston, MA. The application process will remain open until May 10, 2010. Grants will be awarded at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 5 at Save the Harbor on Boston Fish Pier.

For additional information please visit or contact PJ McCann at [email protected] or (617) 451-2860 ext. 8.

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