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Mattapan United Walking Tour: Highlights - Rebecca Schofield

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On July 23rd, Mattapan United led a walking tour of Mattapan for the Social Justice Funder’s Network and Associated Grant Maker’s summer outing. Mattapan, where poverty rates are higher and incomes are lower than the Boston average, has been overlooked by funders for far too long. The Mattapan United walking tour was an opportunity to bridge that divide between over 20 funders and the Mattapan community.

Mattapan Unitedis a four year old coalition, funded by Boston LISC, with a mission to organize the community and identify priorities for the future of development and quality of life improvements in the neighborhood. A core group of over a dozen community leaders has led the local coalition, engaging hundreds of others in community meetings, surveys, and data analysis to identify Mattapan’s 6 priorities. The coalition’s convening agency, ABCD’s Mattapan Family Service Center, provides leadership, space, and a full time staff person to coordinate the initiative.

Several community leaders participated in recent tour, including Vivien Morris, founder of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Collaborative. Vivien, who started and runs Mattapan’s local farmer’s market and bike-a-thon, also advocates for extended walking and biking trails. She introduced the group to the Neoponset River Greenway.
A state grant will fund the expansion of the Greenway into a 15-mile walk/bike path connecting Blue Hills to the Boston Harbor, and many Mattapan residents are looking forward to more green space in their neighborhood.
Another guide, Lincoln Larmond, is a resident and co-chair of the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s Fairmont Working Area Advisory Committee. He discussed the city’s plans for a new transit station in Mattapan and toured the funders around Mattapan’s current transit options.

Tina Petigny, who leads Mattapan Square Main Streets’ effort to spruce up and diversify businesses in the Square, introduced the funders to Mattapan’s growing business community. This Main Streets organization was incorporated in 2011 as part of a citywide effort to revitalize the local economy, and it has become a valuable resource for Mattapan residents.

Overall, the walking tour provided funders with a closer look at the Mattapan neighborhood. It was also an opportunity to learn about Mattapan’s strengths and possibilities for positive neighborhood change.
For more information about Mattapan United, visit http://rc-rf.org/. For a slideshow of the tour, produced by the Associated Grant Makers and the Social Justice Funders Network, visit https://storify.com/agmconnect/mattapan-summer-tour-2014.

 

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