Grants and Funding Opportunities
The WSSS Team has identified several potential grant opportunities that appear to be well-aligned with the goals of the revitalization of the Malden River. In some cases, such as the grants administered by the Massachusetts Division of Conservation Services (DCS), information sessions are available to assist applicants in the grant writing process. The DSC administers several grant programs under the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs office.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
This fund is provided by the National Park Service (NPS) and administered by the DCS. The program is designed to fund recreation and conservation projects. A municipality can receive a 50% reimbursement rate. Projects must be approved by the NPS. An up-to-date Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) is required for Massachusetts to receive this fund. The goals of the SCORP are to: 1) increase recreation trails; 2) increase recreation related to water; 3) support recreation areas close to home. Applications are completed by the city, however, the Friends of the Malden may be able to volunteer resources to coordinate the submittal of the grant. Since this grant is awarded on a city-by-city basis, it may be beneficial for Malden, Everett and Medford to each apply for the grant. This would present a unified vision for the Malden River and may improve the likelihood of receiving grant monies. It does not appear that joint applications can be submitted for this grant.
Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program
The DCS Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant allows municipalities to purchase new land for parks or to rehabilitate existing facilities. The WSSS Team recommends the PARC program grant due to its focus on environmental justice communities, inclusion of brownfields sites, promotion of community park equity and an emphasis on facilities not accessible by vehicle. The applicant must have an approved Open Space and Recreation Plan. In addition, the municipality must have a conservation commission and park/recreation commission. The grant will award from 52% to 70% of the project cost, up to $400,000.
Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants Program
The Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant is sponsored by Toyota in partnership with the National Audobon Society. The grant funds conservation projects that restore habitat, improve water quality or quantity, or reduce energy use. In doing so, the grant recipients much engage new and diverse audiences in the community for the project to meet the “innovation” criteria. This year, 30-40 grants will awarded, ranging from $5,000 to $80,000, with an average grant size of $25,000. All awardees are required to raise matching funds to support their project.
Engage Civic Groups
The WSSS Practicum Team recommends that the Friends of the Malden River engage any and all civic groups within the three cities abutting the river that support or may potentially support their campaign. This includes the Boys and Girls Club, Girl/Boy Scouts, churches, volunteer groups from local businesses, ethnic and cultural organizations, and organizations interested in social change. Engagement should include partnering to host events, educational forums, inclusion in the agenda of open meetings, and sharing of ideas and resources when appropriate.
Engagement should be considered an inclusive process that values the ideas, abilities, and differences among the residents of the three cities. The Friends of the Malden River should strive to acknowledge and build upon all the possible visions that may come from residents who wish to participate in the process. With that in mind, it is advised that the group seek connections to other active groups in Everett, Malden, and Medford including those that are not necessarily focused on environmental issues. By including a diverse group of other resident lead organizations in the re-envisioning process the objectives pursued by the Friends of the Malden River will be more easily met. Building strong constituencies is an important part of the process, and efforts should be made to be culturally sensitive when doing so. This may include printing posters and pamphlets in multiple languages and providing translators (including sign language) at meetings. Partnering with other, more established organizations may make providing such services easier.
Further, once the Friends of the Malden River have greater capacity partnering civic groups can provide the people power needed to accomplish a variety of tasks (e.g. river bank clean-ups, trail clearing, and picnic table assembly) that require numbers of volunteers.
Art Galleries and Installations
The WSSS Practicum Team recommends that the Friends of the Malden River engage with the vast artistic community in the region to draw attention to their efforts by bringing people together in the communion of art. Providing a space for local artists to share their work opens up a space for dialogue across different groups within the three cities. Encouraging contributions from artists from the many cultures and identities represented in Everett, Malden, and Medford will support greater sense of community that could spill over into support for revitalization efforts along the Malden River. In addition, if the contributing artists are encouraged to produce pieces that revolve around the theme of water, rivers, or change; a conversation can be started regarding the desire to improve access to and quality of the Malden River.
If and when, greater space along the river is opened for public use, the Friends of the Malden River could host seasonal art installations and concerts that further bring the attention of the surrounding community to its banks. Of course, this would demand greater resources and should be taken as a long-term recommendation. Nonetheless, the WSSS Team believes that creativity in the connections that the Friends of the Malden River can make will propel their campaign and garner support from many in the three city area.
Select a site for a pavilion style shelter, similar to what exists at so many other parks. This type of shelter can be constructed with relatively inexpensive materials and readily available skill sets. A relatively small grant could supply the materials, and it is possible to recruit volunteers for the construction. An additional benefit would be found in the community building that comes with engaging in a project together.
Involve High School Youth
The Friends of the Malden River can involve community high school students in the organization by creating a type of “internship” or “liaison” position within the organization. The details of the “internship” or “liaison” position, such as the length of term and tasks/responsibilities, can be determined by the organization and then advertised to local high schools. Positions and respective responsibilities could include:
– website coordinator intern in charge of updating the website
– design intern to work on graphics for promotional materials
– student liaison to ensure that students are engaged by advertising and volunteer recruiting
– environmental intern to serve on a potential water quality committee
It is recommended that the student is assigned a mentor within the Friends of the Malden River who can support the student in assigned tasks and, in part, hold the student accountable. High school youth are typically eager to bolster resumes with civic service volunteer opportunities and practical experience. As long as the intern opportunities within the organization are explicit and well defined, the student can gain valuable experience while the organization benefits from the constant youth participation.
Friends of the Malden River Strategies
As described above and included in this document, the WSSS Malden Team has provided numerous tools and information to encourage and grow a Malden River advocacy group to focus on the revitalization of the river. In addition, informational meetings were held during Spring 2013 in the cities of Everett and Malden to provide interested community members the opportunity to learn more about the current status of the river. Although the WSSS Malden Team has provided information to encourage the establishment of a Malden River advocacy group, it is important that the advocacy group also develop strategies on their own. This will allow community members to control the direction of their advocacy group, have ownership of this process, and promote the spirit of the revitalization of the Malden River.