Watertown Community Foundation Gets Biggest Grant Ever, Using it to Support 3 Organizations

The Watertown Community Foundation will help three local organizations with grants over $100,000 after the foundation received the largest grant in its history. The money will go to Metro West Collaborative Development, Watertown Boys & Girls Club, and Wayside Youth and Family Support Network. The funds came to the Watertown Community Foundation in a grant from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Community Foundations Grant Program for COVID-19 Relief. “This $400,000 grant is the largest single grant that our foundation has ever received,” said WCF co-president Darshna Varia. “We have been able to distribute the funds quickly and directly to where they are needed most.

Community Preservation Committee Seeking Applications for Potential Projects

The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) seeks applications for potential projects to be funded by Watertown’s Community Preservations Act funds, and informational meetings have been scheduled for potential applicants. 

The money raised from a 2 percent surcharge on Watertown property tax bills can be spent on projects in four areas: open space, outdoor recreation, community housing, and historical preservation. As of June, the CPA Fund had nearly $9 million. 

The CPC takes applications and recommends which projects should receive funding, but it does not initiate, implement or manage projects. Community Preservation funds can be used for the following types of projects:

buy, create, preserve open space and rehabilitate and/or restore open space that is  acquired or created using CPA funds;acquire, preserve, rehabilitate, or restore historic resources;acquire, create, preserve, and support community housing; andacquire, create, preserve, and rehabilitate and/or restore passive and active outdoor recreation facilities. Projects can be done on public or private property, said Watertown Community Preservation Coordinator Lanae Handy, but the applicants must have permission. 

“If they are a local group interested in doing a project on town property they need to get the consent and support of the Town,” Handy said. “They can’t just apply for funds if they don’t have the approval of the Town.”

Similarly, applicants may have to get permits and approvals for other types of projects before getting funding. 

Town Departments can also apply for projects using CPA funds, Handy said, but they cannot be projects that already have approved funding.

New Rep Theatre Suspending Operations Citing Pandemic, Uncertainty About Performance Space

Watertown-based New Repertory Theatre announced it will be suspending operations beginning July 21. The company based at the Mosesian Center for the Arts had to cancel the end of its 2019-2020 season and its entire 2020-21 season. It has put on a pair of moving plays in outdoor locations around Watertown. 

“As with many cultural institutions, the COVID-19 pandemic led to fiscal challenges for the New Repertory Theatre,” said the statement from New Rep, which was published by the Newton Needham Regional Chamber. Along with the pandemic, New Rep faces uncertainty about its stage space. 

“Additionally, our performance venue, the Mosesian Center for the Arts, is undergoing renovations, which adds to the COVID-related uncertainty we are already experiencing regarding mounting in-person performances in the near future. With these challenges in mind, the Board of Directors of the New Repertory Theatre has made the decision to suspend operations until we determine next steps for the organization,” the announcement said. 

New Rep will be making more announcements in the near future, the announcement said. “We have informed the staff of this decision and the reasons for the suspension.

See the Description of Watertown Included as Part of the Ad for Town Manager Search Firms

The Town of Watertown is a diverse, growing community with a strong commitment to education, green energy goals with active and engaged residents, according to the description of the town created by the Council subcommittee overseeing the search for the next Town Manager. Tuesday night, the Ad Hoc Committee for the Town Manager Search created the community description to go into the request for proposals (RFP) going out to potential manager search consultant firms.

The meeting was the first step of many to come in the process of hiring the new Town Manager, said Town Council President Mark Sideris. On July 15, the Council decided to have an outside firm help with the search. Sideris said this type of search is a specialized one, and he did not believe that the Town’s Personnel Department could do it on its own. He added that he wants to spend the money required to get a quality Town Manager.

MassBay College Has New Fund to Assist Single Mothers Getting Their Degrees

MassBay Community College provided the following announcement:

MassBay Community College and Metrowest Women’s Fund are creating a new fund with a $25,000 grant from the Metrowest Women’s Fund to assist MassBay’s single mother students with their emergency financial needs. These funds will provide financial aid for non-tuition-related emergencies these students may encounter while pursuing their degrees including childcare expenses, housing costs, living expenses, and other basic necessities. “Our single mothers have many responsibilities outside the classroom, and we want them to have the peace of mind knowing there is a support system behind them while they earn their degree,” said MassBay President, David Podell. “The support of the Metrowest Women’s Fund will allow our students who are single moms to focus on their education by lifting the crushing burden of fiscal stress. For these remarkable single mothers, the funds will make a tremendous difference in helping them overcome the sizable challenge of managing their life expenses while they pursue the education that can transform their lives and the lives of their children.