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Bacow Speaks at Allston Grant Awards Ceremony

The Harvard Ed Portal in Allston.
The Harvard Ed Portal in Allston. By Megan M. Ross
By Brie K. Buchanan and Peter E. O'Keefe, Crimson Staff Writers

University President Lawrence S. Bacow honored 16 grant recipients of the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund — a program that supports neighborhood improvement projects and educational programming for Allston-Brighton residents — at a ceremony Monday afternoon.

The event took place at the Harvard Ed Portal, a Harvard service initiative in Allston, where Bacow delivered remarks on the importance of collaboration between Allston, Boston, and Harvard.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh was originally slated to speak at the event, but was unable to attend due to a traffic accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike, according to Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Paul Andrew, who delivered opening remarks.

Since its inception in 2008, HAPF has provided $1.1 million in grants to local nonprofits, according to a press release. The program reached the $1 million milestone in grants last year.

This year, HAPF recipients included the Boston String Academy — an organization that provides musical instruction to youth — and The Fishing Academy — an organization that runs fishing lessons.

In his remarks, Bacow said that the fund has provided 118 grants to 35 “community partners” over the last 11 years.

“We all need to work together, and I think this partnership is a great opportunity to do it,” Bacow said.

Bacow’s remarks come as Harvard is preparing for its long-awaited move into Allston by September 2020. Bacow told the grant recipients that Harvard is “committed” to collaborations with Allston residents.

“We at Harvard are committed to collaborations that serve and strengthen the community, that try and help our neighbors. We try to be a good neighbor ourselves,” Bacow said. “I'm grateful to everybody in this room, who have helped to create a model that works. Your commitment, and the goodwill that it generates, is really essential to our future.”

Grant recipient John Woods, the executive director of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation, spoke after Bacow, during which he said the grant would provide funding for more “targeted outreach to targeted areas” in Allston-Brighton. The Allston-Brighton CDC supports financial counseling and home-buying programs in the neighborhood.

After Woods spoke, Bacow distributed framed certificates to grant recipients, which also included the CommonWheels Bicycle Co-Op — a program that teaches adults and children how to ride and repair bikes.

In an interview after the ceremony, Jessica B. Robertson, the treasurer of CommonWheels said the funding from the grant allows the nonprofit to hire more staff.

“Harvard has funded us for a couple of years now and we're a very small organization. This grant will provide a really important piece of the funding that allows us to hire staff and deliver these programs,” Robertson said. “So we really wouldn't be able to do our programs without it.”

–Brie K. Buchanan can be reached at brie.buchanan@thecrimson.com.

–Peter E. O’Keefe can be reached at peter.o’keefe@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @CrimsonOKeefe

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