Boston Main Streets Gala 2014 Awards at the Strand Theatre 6/26/14

On June 26, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, together with Department of Neighborhood Development Director Sheila Dillon and emcee Susan Wornick, attended the 18th annual Boston Main Streets Awards.  At the event, he presented awards to the Boston Main Streets volunteers and businesses of the year, and highlighted significant new funds from the Boston Main Streets Foundation.  The ceremony, which took place at the historic Strand Theatre in Dorchester, featured entertainment by the Fiddle Head Theatre’s cast of Aida.

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014Stunning and Welcoming Event

Boston Main Streets annual Awards Night, in recent years held at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, is a stunning event.  Free and open to the public, the gala features local early evening edibles and post-celebration heavy-weight desserts.  Roaming maitre d assistants delivered  bitesized, appealing and mouth-watering horderves.  Of all the foods on the side tables, truly the choice of cheeses deserves mention and merit.  Creamy (califerous) St. Andrew, blue, roquefort and more - gallons of cheese.

Attendees, not so much from Uphams Corner, but from every business nook and neighborhood of the city stood in groups of intimate clusters.  The brilliant Main Streets staff took full advantage of the inherent beauty and grandeur of the Strand.  With lights dimmed and the dramatic paintings clearly visible on the Strand walls, the sense of a woven human tapestry was seen and felt.

Congratulations to the Main Street Foundation

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014“This event is special because we get to honor the people in the neighborhoods who are making our Main Streets districts vibrant and welcoming places to shop and do business. This year, we are going to introduce even more new partnerships, technology and services to help our small businesses thrive, grow, and adapt in this changing economy,” said Mayor Walsh. “Investment in Main Streets is investment in the lifeblood of our city – it preserves and protects our neighborhood commercial centers, supports new businesses, and creates new jobs.”

Mayor Walsh congratulated the Boston Main Streets Foundation for its successful fundraising on behalf of the districts.  In response to a challenge from Mayor Walsh, the Foundation has raised $350,000 to date and is on track to meet its goal of $500,000 by the fall.

The Foundation, which provides financial and strategic support to the Boston Main Streets program, provides additional funding to the Main Streets in the form of competitive “Innovation & Impact Grants.”  These grants, launched last year, provides up to $5,000 for proposals that provide new or enhanced programming, services, or partnership opportunities that benefit Main Streets commercial districts and small businesses.  In the program’s inaugural year, the Foundation awarded $72,000 in 16 Innovation & Impact Grants to local Main Streets districts.

Foundation Grants Announced

In the current funding round, Sklar announced, the Foundation will provide eight new grants to Main Streets districts, totaling $40,000. 

Winners include:

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014Foundation president Joel Sklar said, “The Boston Main Streets Foundation is thrilled to award this latest round of Innovation & Impact grants. With this round, the BMSF will have provided a total of 24 grants, totaling more than $110,000, to local Main Streets districts.  We are proud to be a partner in supporting Boston Main Streets, and glad that these funds will empower Main Streets organizations to produce exciting new outcomes in our neighborhoods.”

Awards to Volunteers and Businesses of the Year

In addition to the Foundation awards, Mayor Walsh also presented awards to Main Streets’ businesses and volunteers of the year.  From among the hundreds of Main Streets volunteers who gave more than 26,000 hours of time in 2013, each district chose one volunteer to honor as “Volunteer of the Year.” 

This year’s Outstanding Volunteers are:

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014In his remarks to awardees, Mayor Walsh referred to Boston’s small businesses as “the back bone of our commercial districts,” providing products and services important to the people who live and work in the neighborhoods.  Each Main Streets district has chosen one business to honor as Business of the Year.

The 2013 Outstanding Businesses include:

About Boston Main Streets

The Boston Main Streets initiative was created in 1995, as the first urban, multi-district Main Streets program in the nation, with the goal of establishing thriving commercial districts throughout the city.  Named by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change as one of 19 “Solutions for America,” Boston Main Streets continues to empower individuals in both the small business sector and residents to have a direct role in the economic health, physical appearance, and development of their own community.

Today, Boston Main Streets provides funding and technical assistance to 20 neighborhood-based Main Streets districts throughout the City of Boston and has served as a national model to urban areas seeking to revitalize neighborhood commercial districts including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Detroit, and New Orleans. 

About Boston Main Streets FoundationThe mission of the BMSF is to provide financial and strategic support to the Boston Main Streets program and local districts. The Boston Main Streets Foundation raises funds from the private sector and foundations to:

Spark new, innovative and scalable outcomes in Boston’s twenty Main Streets neighborhood commercial districts to empower local Main Streets districts to produce new & improved results and to leverage funders’ contributions to maximize resources and impact 

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Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014 Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014 Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014 Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014

Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014 Boston Main Streets Awards Gala 2014

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Posted: MMM DD, 2014    Nancy J Conrad