Healthy Places by Design, AARP-Mass., UMass-Boston and John Hancock Announce ‘Activating Boston’ Pilot Project

John Hancock, the City of Boston, AARP Massachusetts, UMass Boston, and Healthy Places by Design have announced the recipients of the “Activating Boston grant” – a new pilot program investing in the creation of more accessible, age-inclusive outdoor spaces that strengthen community connection, health and well-being.

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative was involved in the initiative planning as part of the Coalition to End Loneliness and Build Community.

John Hancock, a unit of Manulife Financial Corporation, is investing a total of $50,000 to this initiative supporting the Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) and Four Corners Main Streets (FCMS). This commitment follows Manulife’s recently announced Impact Agenda, which outlines the company’s key social and environmental commitments, in areas where it has the greatest ability to affect change.

The Activating Boston pilot program grant recipients are:

  • Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) – ACDC will bring together, and work alongside, Chinatown residents and neighborhood partners to create a public art project that will enhance an outdoor space and bring people together across diverse generations, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. For more information about ACDC’s work in Chinatown, contact Jeena Chang at jeena.chang@asiancdc.org.
  • Four Corners Main Streets (FCMS) – In Dorchester, FCMS will similarly bring together a diverse group of residents, led by “community ambassadors,” to prioritize, improve, and activate a public space to support neighbor-to-neighbor social connections. To get involved, contact Marcos Beleche at FCMS fourcornersmainstreets@gmail.com.

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Both recipients have extensive experience working with community members on neighborhood improvement efforts, coordinating programs, public events and “place-making” projects, which enhance outdoor green spaces to encourage activity and social connection. In addition to

assembling a team of residents and neighborhood partners to create an activation project, each grantee will develop a plan for future priorities and steps for advancing social connectedness in their neighborhood.

Since spring 2022, the Age-Friendly Boston project at the City’s Age Strong Commission has collaborated with AARP Massachusetts and UMass Boston—coordinated by Healthy Places by Design—to develop the Activate Boston pilot program. For more information, contact Phil Bors at philb@healthyplacesbydesign.org.