Want to do yoga on the beach this summer? Or dance to disco? You will soon be able to do that, thanks to a slew of grants awarded by the conservation nonprofit Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The grants, totaling more than $300,000, will help finance beach activities led by 67 organizations in Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull. The organizations plan to host a combined 150 events, offering Bay Staters the chance to attend a concert, catch a movie, rent a kayak, and more on the beach.
Individual grants range from $1,000 to $20,000, and go toward putting on events the groups proposed in the application process.
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay announced the grant winners at a virtual event Saturday morning. Sponsors, awardees, and some elected officials convened on the call to celebrate the initiative, which is called the Better Beaches Program.
State Senator Brendan Crighton, a Democrat from Lynn, praised beaches as an important community resource, adding that a recent trip with his family to Nahant’s Long Beach reminded him of the positive impact beaches can have.
“The smiles on everyone’s faces — I felt like it was the first real sign of coming together as a community,” said Crighton, who co-chairs the Legislature-founded Metropolitan Beaches Commission . “Bringing people to the beach, whether it’s your first time coming down there or something you do all the time, is so important for this commonwealth.”
The Better Beaches Program started in 2007 , but this year, organizers dedicated $50,000 to groups that support people of color and improve beach access for those with disabilities. That funding comes from “Shamrock Splash,” an annual fund-raiser held by Harpoon and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, where participants take a dip at South Boston’s Carson Beach in early March.
The program receives $190,000 from state budget funds allocated to the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The department’s commissioner, Jim Montgomery, expressed support for the initiative.
“We went through COVID, we’re in the waning days of that, we know there’s a new reality,” he said. “We just hope that everybody continues to be safe and is able to enjoy these resources.”
While Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is dispensing the grant money, the nonprofit thanked recipients of the program for making beaches a fun and accessible place to enjoy the summer.
“One of the best ways to save the harbor and the bay is to share the harbor and the bay,” said Bruce Berman, the organization’s director of strategy and communications . “To all the groups that think that we’re giving you something, you’re giving us something.”
Jack Lyons can be reached at email@example.com.