Berklee Awards Fenway Neighborhood Improvement Grant to Five Organizations

A total of $25,000 will be distributed amongst the Boston-based nonprofits.

February 16, 2024

Berklee is pleased to announce that five Boston-based nonprofits will be awarded grants from the inaugural Fenway Neighborhood Improvement Grant program.

A total of $25,000 will be distributed amongst the organizations: Kaji Aso Studio, Friends of Ramler Park, Fenway Civic Association, Fenway CDC/Community Center, and Charlesgate Alliance. The grants will allow for a range of activities such as Japanese cultural programming at Symphony Park, a Fenway Free Market, and tree plantings in the Fenway.

“Berklee is proud to support these community-based projects, all of which will enhance the quality of life in the Fenway neighborhood. We look forward to continuing to support initiatives that contribute to the vibrancy of this historic neighborhood,” said Kaitlin Passafaro, Berklee's vice president of community and government relations. 

"The funding from the Berklee Fenway Neighborhood Grant allows Kaji Aso Studio, in our 50th Anniversary year, to bring the TANABATA celebration to Symphony Park in the East Fenway,” said Kate Finnegan, executive director, Kaji Aso Studio. “It is a wonderful way for the community to experience an afternoon of Japanese cultural programming in a lovely park setting. Through this event, we are able to share traditions that hold universal value."

The Berklee Fenway Neighborhood Improvement Grant program was launched in 2023 and is funded solely by the college as part of the institution’s ongoing commitment to the Fenway neighborhood. Applications were open only to Boston organizations and/or residents and had to meet three criteria:

  1. Occur within and enhance the Fenway neighborhood.
  2. Should be publicly accessible and free.
  3. Provide a public benefit or serve a public need.

“Having Berklee partner with the Charlesgate Alliance as an early supporter of what will be one of the most dramatic improvements in our neighborhood in years is very important,” said Margaret Pokorny, a member of Charlesgate Alliance's Board of Directors. “The Tree Planting and Tree Care program, which received this grant, will begin to plant new trees in this 10-acre neglected site and get them well established when the final vision for the revitalization of this area is realized. This new park will not only be an amenity and destination for Berklee students but will restore important connections between the Emerald Necklace parks, the Esplanade, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.”

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