Mayor Menino Hosts Roundtable for Women Entrepreneurs and  Asks Bostonians to “Roll it Forward”

Mayor Menino, Senator Warren, Secretary Fields Host Roundtable for Women Entrepreneurs

Boston, April 3, 2013, — To mark National Community Development week, Mayor Thomas M. Menino today hosted a roundtable discussion with United States Senator Elizabeth Warren and Regional Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Barbara Fields. The focus of the discussion was to demonstrate the real, positive effects that Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) have had on strengthening Boston’s neighborhoods, and especially those neighborhoods’ women-owned businesses.

“For 38 years, Community Development Block Grants have helped cities make good choices about how to strengthen their communities,” Mayor Menino said. “We chose Boston’s women-owned businesses to tell that story today because women business owners are a vital part of the City’s Main Streets districts. These business owners are living proof of the positive impact of CDBG funds in Boston’s neighborhoods.”

Despite being a key tool for aiding the growth of communities, the CDBG program has been cut significantly in recent years, falling by more than $1 billion since FY2010. While the program is the centerpiece of the federal government’s efforts to help more than 1,200 cities, counties, and states meet the needs of low- and moderate-income communities, funding cuts have severely weakened the ability to revitalize communities and respond to local need. Mayor Menino convened today’s roundtable to demonstrate explicitly the grassroots-level effect that CDBG funds have on Boston’s neighborhoods.

“We can’t afford reckless cuts to the Community Development Block Grants, which support important economic development efforts throughout Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Senator Warren. “CDBG grants directly impact our working families and small businesses, revitalizing communities in Boston and across the Commonwealth. We must continue to support this critical program.”

The CDBG program is unique in that unlike most Federal funds, CDBG funds are unrestricted; cities and towns may use them as they see fit. Communities develop their own programs and funding priorities, with the greatest attention given to activities benefitting people of low- and moderate-income, or those that prevent or eliminate slums or blight. Communities also use these funds for urgent community development needs when existing conditions pose serious, immediate threats to the health or welfare of the community.

“These programs are absolutely critical to communities across Massachusetts,” said Secretary Fields. “As we work under the challenges of our nation’s deficit, we must also understand that these programs are essential in promoting community development, producing affordable housing, helping our homeless, creating jobs and even supporting long-term disaster recovery.”

According to HUD, over the last eight years, CDBG has helped more than one million low- and moderate-income persons through single-family, owner-occupied rehabilitations, homeownership assistance, energy-efficient improvements, and lead-based abatement; created or retained more than 300,000 jobs for low- and moderate-income people; and benefited nearly 100 million low- and moderate-income people through public services such as employment training services, meals to the elderly, services for abused and neglected children, assistance to local food banks, and other services.

In the past two years, Boston has seen more than $13.5 million in CDBG funds invested in economic development, which was leveraged into projects with a total value of approximately $138 million. These funds have helped create 124 new businesses, 1238 new jobs, and improved 268 storefronts citywide.

Today’s breakfast was a part of Mayor Menino’s Women on Main initiative, which assists female entrepreneurs in Boston’s Main Streets districts. These women’s businesses are more than likely to have received CDBG funding or services provided through CDBG through the broad array of services provided by the City of Boston’s Office of Business Development.

As part of today’s roundtable, Mayor Menino also asked small business owners to support CDBG by asking customers to Tweet their support using the hashtag #WeAreCDBG.

Mayor Menino Asks Bostonians to “Roll it Forward”

Bike donation program enters third season, celebrates 1,700 bikes donated

Boston, April 5, 2013, — Mayor Menino today announced the start of the third consecutive year of Boston Bikes’ “Roll it Forward” program, an initiative that collects, repairs, and donates bikes to those in need. Since its inception, the program has given more than 1,700 bicycles to Bostonians of all ages and is in need of new donations to continue its work this year. Through “Roll it Forward,” bikes, accompanied by a helmet and lock, are distributed in partnership with local community partners such as health centers, homeless shelters, the housing authority, and other non-profit and government agencies. Boston Bikes is expanding its program as part of Mayor Menino’s Greenovate Boston initiative, which aims to encourage sustainable behavior by Boston residents and businesses to meet the Mayor’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of 25 percent by 2020.

“Every day we’re working to make Boston a greener and healthier city,” Mayor Menino said. “Roll It Forward brings these benefits of cycling and more to those who might not otherwise have access to a bike. I hope our residents will join the effort and donate a bike to a fellow resident in need.”

Bicycles can be donated at a number of greater Boston locations, including newly-added Landry’s Bicycles in Natick, JRA Cycles in Medford, Dedham Bike, Seaside Cycles in Manchester-by-the-Sea, and for Sudbury residents, the Sudbury Transfer Station. Continuing drop off locations include Eastern Mountain Sports in Newton, Hingham, Boston, and Cambridge, Belmont’s Wheelworks, Giant Cycling World in Boston, and Back Bay Bicycles in Boston. L.L. Bean, with locations in Burlington, Dedham, and Mansfield, will be hosting a bike drive from April 26-28, offering up to 30% off toward the purchase of a new bike, accessories, apparel, and Thule racks. While donated bikes don’t need to be in perfect condition, they should not have excessive rust or extreme damage. The program’s mechanics will fix up each bike that comes in and ensure that it is in safe riding condition for the next owner.

Those who donate bikes are eligible to claim a thank you reward of either a bicycle jersey/t-shirt or gift pack of Perfect Fuel Chocolate, a new Boston-based performance chocolate companySome of the drop off locations also offer discounts toward the purchase of a new bike or bike parts. Anyone interested in donating or hosting a bike drive should for more information.

About Boston Bikes: Boston Bikes is part of Mayor Menino’s vision for a vibrant and healthy city that benefits all its citizens. It seeks to make Boston a world-class bicycling city by creating safe and inviting conditions for all residents and visitors. Boston Bikes focuses on improvements in all six universal bike planning areas: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, Equity, Encouragement, and Evaluation.

About Greenovate Boston

Greenovate Boston is a collective movement and innovative solution to ensure a greener, healthier and more prosperous future for the city by meeting Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Propelled by creativity and drive, Greenovate Boston will encourage continued sustainable growth within the city, making Boston the greenest in the United States. Visit for details.