Say No To Crumbling Roads and Bridges

August 21st, 2014 by John Fitterer

On November 4th, Massachusetts voters will decide on a statewide ballot question that would eliminate a portion of the gas tax.  If Question 1 passes, it would be a step backwards, causing our roads, bridges, public transportation, bikeways and sidewalks to fall into further disrepair.  It will threaten the gains we’ve made towards a sustainable, healthy, and equitable transportation system.

We urgently need your help for NO on Question 1.

As you read this, more than half our bridges are deficient, unsafe or even closed from the Cape to the Berkshires.  Recent reforms and revenues have finally put us on the right track - but Question 1 would derail us, hurting our economy and compromising our safety.

Question 1 would eliminate a law that links the state gas tax to inflation. This transportation funding from gas tax indexing is constitutionally protected for transportation.  

To help grow the campaign to defeat Question 1, please do these things today:

1. Spread the Word.  Please share this information with your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues.

2. Sign up for updates.  Visit

3. Follow this campaign on Twitter @VoteNoOnQ1 and  #NoOnQ1MA.

We urge you to join us and vote NO on Question 1 on November 4th!

Commenting Closed

3 MACDC Members Receive Over $3.2 Million for YouthBuild Programs

August 12th, 2014 by John Fitterer

Photo: Congressman Tierney, Mickey Northcutt (CEO of North Shore CDC), and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez


On Wednesday, August 6th, North Shore Community Development Collaborative ($1,100,000), Community Teamwork ($1,067,145) and Just-A-Start Corporation ($1,100,000) were awarded grants by the United States Department of Labor for their YouthBuild programs.  Overall, 71 programs across the country received $73.6 million in funding for their YouthBuild programs, with five organizations in Massachusetts awarded support through this grant round.  These grants will help to sustain and develop critical programming that will provide necessary skills and resources for young men and women who stive to further themselves and advance in the construction fields. Many young adults living in the low- and moderate-income communities in which many CDC operate turn to YouthBuild programs to help them grow into successful adults who are able to not only support themselves and their families, but give back to their communities, and help create the necessary stability for neighborhoods that become thriving communities.

Learn more about this funding round and YouthBuild programming.

Commenting Closed

MACDC & MMCA Boston Pilot Program generates nearly $39 million for MBEs and WBEs

August 12th, 2014 by

For the past year, MACDC’s Boston Committee has been working with the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association (MMCA) to sponsor the Boston Pilot Program, a joint effort to help six Boston CDCs increase their utilization of minority and women owned enterprises (M/WBEs) on 11 separate real estate projects across the City of Boston.   The program established the goal of ensuring that at least 30% of the work was done by MBEs and 10% by WBEs.  As of June 30, six of the projects were in construction and the other five were in various stages of pre-development. So far, the projects have contracted for slightly more than $95 million in hard and soft costs, with 36% of the total going to MBE’s, 9% going to WBE’s, with a total of 41% going to either a MBE or WBE (the numbers do not add up because we do not double count minority-women-owned businesses).  This means that the CDC-sponsored projects have generated a total of nearly $39 million in economic opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses, with much more to come as these projects continue to move forward.  Working with MMCA, we will continue to try to hit the 10% goal for WBE participation and try to increase the MBE numbers for soft costs where the percentage is much lower (MBE’s earned 41% of the hard costs, but just 13% of the soft costs; WBE’s were at 9% for both hard and soft costs).

Commenting Closed

Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation announces FY 2015 funding awards for SBTA program

August 12th, 2014 by

The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation has announced its FY 2015 funding awards for the Small Business Technical Assistance program, with thirty agencies receiving over $1.5 million in support.  MACDC is proud that nearly two-thirds of the funding will go to 17 MACDC member organizations. The funding is the result of MACDC’s campaign earlier this year to secure a new state appropriation from the legislature for this highly effective program.  The SBTA program is designed to help start and grow successful small businesses that are owned by people of color, immigrants, women or low-moderate income people.  Many of the businesses are located in distressed urban and rural areas where they provided needed jobs and services for the community.  The program was originally created in 2006 following an MACDC campaign to include the program in the state’s economic development strategy.  The program has been funded “off-budget” for the past three years, but needed a new state appropriation to continue in FY 2015.   In addition to these core funding grants, MGCC will also be providing supplemental funds to some of the grantees so they can provide paid professional services to certain local businesses. MGCC will also be partnering with the Mel King Institute for Community Building to provide professional training and capacity building support to the grantees.  “This program has a proven track record of reaching traditionally underserved businesses and helping them to thrive,” said MACDC President Joseph Kriesberg. “We are thrilled to see the program expanded this year.”  Kriesberg also thanked MGCC for completing the competitive funding process in a timely fashion.  “MGCC has done a terrific job in managing this program for the past several years and their leadership has been a key ingredient to its success,” he noted. 

Commenting Closed

MAPC Releases New Brochure for the Orange Line Opportunity Report

August 6th, 2014 by

In 2013, MACDC,  MAPC and other CDCs released the Organization Line Opportunity Corridor Report, the first phase in a campaign to realize the full physical and functional potential of one of Boston’s busiest transit lines.

Recently, MAPC created a two-page follow-up brochure, which summarizes the findings of the original report, offers an overview of the Orange Line corridor and provides six concrete recommendations to ensure the corridor continues to receive attention and investment. The executive summary brochure will help inform advocacy and give CDCs located in and working along the Orange Line corridor crucial information to guide their projects, investments and development.

The new brochure – and the original report – is available on MACDC’s Research page.  

Commenting Closed

Learning about the Intersection of Community Development and Health

August 6th, 2014 by Joe Kriesberg

I have spent most of my personal and professional life trying to avoid the health care industry. Not only do I hate going to the doctor, but I avoided getting involved in health care policy because it seems so incredibly complicated and fraught. I am now starting to change my ways.

Having turned 50, I now have no choice but to see the doctor more often. And in my professional life, we are seeing a convergence between the community development field and the health sector that has me dipping my toes into the health sector!

This week, I participated in a terrific discussion during the “How Housing Matters for Healthy Child Development Roundtable,” sponsored by the Urban Institute and the MacArthur Foundation here in Boston.  The Roundtable brought together about 40 professionals from the fields of housing, community development, public health, and medicine. It also included a diverse mix of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and funders. The diversity of the group made for a wonderfully interesting discussion, although we frequently had to slow down to spell out acronyms or explain jargon to our colleagues from the other sector. Some of the most interesting parts of the discussion for me were:

  • We know a lot, but we don’t know everything: Despite the growing body of evidence that demonstrates the importance of housing and neighborhoods to health outcomes for lower income people, much of the discussion was about what we don’t yet know about the connections. Indeed, I was struck by the way researchers focus on what we don’t know whereas practitioners are trying to apply what we do know (or think we know!). These are fundamentally different orientations and it can be challenging sometimes to bridge them.
  • Housing quality has improved, but affordability is getting worse: While 83% of poor people nationally have housing affordability problems, 22% suffer from overcrowding and 12% from poor housing quality. These numbers were substantially different 50 years ago and the changes reflect the significant progress made over the past several decades in housing code enforcement and the improved quality of publicly-assisted housing developed by CDCs and other nonprofit and private developers. Indeed, some of the growing affordability challenges are likely due to the overall improvement in housing quality.
  • Shifting funds from health to housing won’t be easy: There are many efforts underway to begin to realign spending priorities to put greater emphasis on social determinants of health, including housing and neighborhood conditions. This will create opportunities for community developers and should restore some balance to our use of public resources. Health outcomes, however, are impacted by so many factors that it is very hard to isolate the impact of housing or neighborhood quality. There may be limits to how precisely we can measure their impact or monetize the health benefits of housing interventions. These data limitations, along with strong political forces, will limit our ability to shift substantial funding from health to housing. Rather than focusing on taking money away from health, we need to use the research to justify increased spending on housing and community development. The health benefits will flow, as will the savings, even if the two are not directly linked through financial contracts.
  • Defining what works is complicated: Community developers often talk about programs that “work” and the need to drive funding to programs “that work.”  U.S. HUD Assistant Secretary, Katherine O’Regan, pointed out that in the health field, the question is “for whom does the intervention work and to what degree does it impact different populations.”  She suggested, correctly I believe, that we need to understand these nuances and not look for silver bullets.
  • Health Impact Assessments are vital, but they’re still an evolving tool: Health Impact Assessments (HIA) are being used across the country to assess the way different projects, programs and policies can advance health outcomes. The tool provides a structured way to engage stakeholders, review relevant research and assess alternative options. There was a strong sense, however, that we need to refine our use of this tool to ensure that the Assessments are completed efficiently and quickly enough to impact practice and policy. Mariana Arcaya from the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies noted that while the standard HIA requires a multi-step process, perhaps some steps can be abbreviated or eliminated in certain contexts. MACDC is working with MAPC, Health Resources in Action, and MA DPH on a major HIA that is looking at the health impacts of the Community Investment Tax Credit program. We plan to release it publicly in late September, so be on the lookout for a notice about this event. Mariana 
  • Community developers need to learn yet another acronym - CHNA: We also learned about the Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) that nonprofit hospitals are required to complete every three years. This process, which has some similarities to the Community Reinvestment Act for banks, is designed to get hospitals to engage with local community stakeholders to identify needs and to implement community-based programs that address the social determinants of health. We learned about a terrific effort by Mass General Hospital in Chelsea where they have worked closely with the local CDC, the Neighborhood Developers, and other community groups to address substance abuse and other issues. Many called the MGH program the “gold standard” that should inspire others to pursue similar efforts (although we were reminded by the other hospital leaders in the room that most hospitals don’t have as much money as MGH!). I left thinking that this was a critical opportunity for all CDCs, although I’m still unclear on how much money might be available from hospitals.

The bottom line is that the convergence between community development and health is accelerating and both community developers and health professionals need to get engaged in the conversation, learn their counterparts’ jargon, acronyms and policy frameworks, and build relationships with their new and future colleagues. MACDC will be looking to help with this effort and we invite your suggestions for how we can best contribute to this important work.

Commenting Closed
Subscribe to News