Collaborate around a Shared Vision

Our Process

We really care about improving Boston’s greenways and public parks. If you are a private group, or a public entity with a great idea on how to do that, read the details below. We like to fund organizations or ideas that catalyze projects and that develop the partnerships between the public and government that these ideas need to succeed.  And we are not just a funder, we’ll jump in to help get these projects going, and we have a great track record of doing so.

Partnering typically begins with a planning process that brings together government agencies, non-profits organizations, community groups, and potential contributors around an idea and common set of goals. We select projects that we are most likely to be able to advance. We act as a catalyst to instigate and support government action. We rigorously test the feasibility of ideas through careful analysis, thoughtful planning, and early design. At times, government agencies take the lead from the beginning, and we support them by advocating for a good outcome. At other times, we will take the lead with our local partners and manage the design process from concept to working drawings. Our government partners almost always take the lead on implementation. Each group brings their unique strengths to the partnership and shares ownership in the final outcome.

We choose projects based on core criteria that revolve around accessibility and feasibility.

We seek partnerships with

  • Grassroots community groups
  • Neighborhood Associations
  • Cities and towns
  • Regional and State Government Agencies
  • Local and regional nonprofits

We focus our technical assistance and grant making within the Greater Boston region – generally the area bounded by Interstate 128. Within this region we direct our technical assistance and grant making to three categories:

  • Preliminary design studies of specific projects that help policy makers understand the benefits and costs of specific initiatives.
  • General operating support for a limited number of organizations that provide regional leadership around greenway planning and design.
  • Public engagement strategies (pilots, activations, surveys, external assessments, civic gatherings) intended to introduce people to a greenway, to animate public spaces and discourse, and test feasibility.

We seek out projects that:

  • Help complete a network of paths and parks
  • Can become a shared resource for diverse users and serve dense neighborhoods most in need of open space
  • Provide a memorable experience that can attract people to venture outdoors
  • Fit within a broader regional vision and plan
  • Can obtain the necessary permits
  • Provide public value for the time and money spent
  • Have the potential for broad political support
  • Are likely to be funded for design and construction because potential funding sources have already been identified
  • Are maintainable and sustainable

Funding and Partnerships

We consider requests for funding on a rolling basis and do not have deadlines for inquiries.

We focus our technical assistance and grant making within the Greater Boston region – generally the area bounded by Interstate 128. Within this region, we direct our technical assistance and grant making to three categories:

  • Preliminary design studies of specific projects to help policy makers understand the benefits and costs of specific initiatives.
  • General operating support for a limited number of organizations that provide regional leadership around greenway planning and design.
  • Public engagement strategies (pop up parks, surveys, external assessments, civic gatherings) intended to introduce people to a greenway, to animate public spaces and discourse, and test feasibility of designs.

Technical assistance grants to fund preliminary design generally range from $2,500 to $20,000 for each stage of design. Capacity building grants generally range from $2,500 to $10,000. Public engagement funding generally ranges from $500 to $5,000. Our annual grant making is about $300,000 a year. A list of A Greener Greater Boston’s past grant making can be seen here.

We are eager to hear your innovative ideas for enhancing the beauty, utility, and accessibility of Greater Boston’s greenways – real or imagined.  If you have some ideas you’d like to share please contact us. Tell us the what, where, and why of the idea in your own words. Tell us what groups would benefit and how. We will look over all ideas – big or small, rough or polished. We will do our best to get back to you with some feedback within a week. In some cases we may ask for photos or further information that could lead to technical assistance or a grant or both.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the process.

Here’s a list of other sources of funding and technical assistance for greenways in the Greater Boston area.

Key Partners

Our work is collaborative by nature with leadership shifting from one partner to the next as projects mature. Our role is to help initiate open space projects with partners, connect stakeholders, and maintain momentum to get results.

Here are just a few of  our incredible recent partners:

Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation is among the largest private foundations in new England and a driving force behind A Greater Greener Boston, our joint program to bring leadership and resources to the creation of a greenway network for Greater Boston.

City of Everett

The City of Everett helped launch the tri-city Malden River Greenway plan and is transforming a once industrial riverfront. Millions of dollars in greenway investment is reorienting a working city to the water.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy has helped lead efforts to reconnect two of our most historic linear parks, the Charles River Esplanade and the Emerald Necklace, at Charlesgate.

The Esplanade Association

Our work began in partnership with the Esplanade Association as we worked hand in hand with them to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade. As our work reaches further and further along the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic Rivers, this remains a key destination with which to link.

City of Newton
The City of Newton is moving quickly to restore a key regional link by unlocking access to the Charles River, which was cut off by construction of the interstate highway system. 
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

The DCR is responsible for over 450,000 acres of land all across Massachusetts. For the last fourteen years, we have partnered to initiate greenway projects along the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic Rivers.

MassDCR_seal.svg
City of Lynn

The new mayor of Lynn got behind a Walking and Bicycling Network Plan to link the Northern Strand to the neighborhoods, downtown, and seashore. Millions of dollars in investment will make this a reality in the next few years.

MassTrails

The newly formed inter-agency MassTrails team seeks to expand and connect the Commonwealth’s networks of off-road, shared-use pathways across the state by partnering with municipalities and non-profits. This is an innovative cross departmental partnership between the Governor’s Office, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.  MassTrails provides matching grants and technical assistance to municipalities and nonprofits across the state to design, construct, and maintain high quality trails. This new initiative, if sustained, will to put Massachusetts at the forefront of trails in the country.

masstrails
Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)

MassDOT is emerging as a leader in active transportation – walking, running, bicycling.  Some of the largest and most complicated greenway links involving bridges and tunnels are getting done through their innovative planning and leadership.

Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA)

In addition to being a stellar steward of natural resources, MyRWA has, in recent years, worked with the DCR to establish greenway paths along the river and manage invasive plants to reclaim views.

The Charles River Conservancy

The Charles River Conservancy helped turn out volunteers to reclaim the Herter Amphitheater and has been a great advocate for better access along the river. 

MAPC

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council is the regional planning agency for Metropolitan Boston.  MAPC promotes smart growth and regional collaboration among its 101 towns and cities. MAPC’s collaborative efforts over the last few years to map a “landlines” network of walking and biking trails is beginning to show results.  Its facilitation of partnerships is invaluable to the work of the Solomon Foundation.