Apply now for Olmsted Now Parks Equity and Spatial Justice Grants

Olmsted Now recently announced a Park Justice and Spatial Justice Grant in partnership with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

Frederick Law Olmsted (

The bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth is being marked by Greater Boston with Olmsted Now, a collaboration to amplify the vibrancy and inclusiveness of parks and public pacing.

Olmsted Now aims to strengthen equity and community relations in Boston by centering decision-making for bicentennial programs with a neighborhoods committee — Boston leaders trust in their commitment to unheard voices and underserved spaces. The members of the Committee of Neighborhoods come from the greater Boston area and particularly from areas contiguous to the southern parks of the Emerald Necklace and from those served by Neighbors who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), are particularly appreciated. To create opportunities for just and community-based park programming for the Bicentennial, the Neighborhoods Committee created the Olmsted Now Parks Equity and Spatial Justice Grant, offering a total of 20 grants.

Applications for scholarships are open to everyone from now until May 27, 2022. Five $20,000 scholarships, five $10,000 scholarships and ten $5,000 scholarships will be available, with scholarship decisions to be announced in mid-June. Grants are awarded to projects investigating how to translate the idea of ​​’parking justice’ into policy actions. Unknown and/or emerging creatives and organizations, as well as well-known artistic voices, are invited to enliven green spaces – either high-profile, high-traffic parks or lesser-known neighborhood green spaces such as greenhouses or urban farms. The goal of the Olmsted Now Parks Equity and Spatial Justice Grant is to visualize both the site and the art, people and spaces that create a new kind of energy around spatial justice in Boston for sharing, common space and that might create collective power.

Full eligibility criteria and applications are available at Two free information sessions will be held on May 9th and 17th, allowing applicants to ask questions and learn more about the criteria and expectations of the scholarship. Funded projects must take place between July and October 2022. In addition to financial support, honorees receive assistance with program approval at the park, operational and marketing support from the Emerald NecklaceConservancy, and mentoring. The $200,000 grant funding was raised by the Come Together fund of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy Board of Directors and the larger Olmsted Now coalition and entrusted to the Committee of Neighborhoods.

OlmstedNow: Greater Boston Olmsted Bicentennial was created by Frederick Law Olmsted NationalHistoric Site (Fairsted) and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy with more than 100 organizations within a 60 mile radius of the Boston system with a season of public events from April through October 2022. The initiative also encourages collaborative learning through monthly public dialogues to delve deeper into issues related to shared use, shared health and shared energy in parks and public spaces. And the bicentennial is an opportunity to pilot cross-neighborhood collaboration to create in-park programs through the monthly Parks as Platform series in the Emerald Necklace Parks. Olmsted Now welcomes direct donations here.

About the neighborhood committee
To guide the bicentennial plan, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy commissioned Harvard associate professor Stephen Gray and his firm Grayscale Collaborative to conduct an equity analysis and action plan. This foundation has guided Olmsted Now organizers to do more than “include” communities that have historically been structurally excluded from parking decisions in the greater Boston area. The bicentennial has become an opportunity to recognize and affirm the power within neighborhoods, to envision new ways of experiencing and activating public space, and to re-center program decisions where they need to be: in the community.

To achieve this, the Neighborhood Committee was established. Comprised of multigenerational leaders working in the Roxbury, Grove Hall, Mattapan and Dorchester neighborhoods of Franklin Park, the committee includes voices from youth and seniors, artists and educators, nonprofit directors, and community and small business organizers. Design Studio for SocialIntervention (DS4SI), Boston’s spatial justice and outreach experts, facilitates training of committee members in outreach and spatial justice, effective program proposal requests, grant selection criteria, grantee cohort building, event sponsorship, audience cultivation, and authentic community feedback – all through a cultural justice lens. DS4SI has led the Committee of Neighborhoods to refine criteria for allocating $200,000 in funding for community-created bicentennial programs.

Members of the Neighborhood Committee:
Andrew Sharpe, Authentic Caribbean Foundation
Anita Morson-Matra, Baldwin in the Park
Ambar Johnson, Liveable Roads Alliance
Barrington Edwards, artist
Biplaw Rai, comfort kitchen
Jay Lee, Franklin Park Coalition/ City of Boston
John Linehan, Franklin Park Zoo/ Main Streets of Greater Grove Hall
Karenlyn Bunch, Main Streets of Greater Grove Hall
Karen Young, artist
Asiyah Herrera, 826 Boston
Nakia Hill, 826 Boston
Paul Willis, 826
Boston Youth Literary Advisory Board, 826 Boston
Pat Spence, Urban Farming Institute
Shavel’le Olivier, Mattapan Food & Fitness
Kay Savage, Mattapan Food & Fitness


About OlmstedNow Frederick Law Olmsted (April 26, 1822 – August 28, 1903) was the visionary American landscape architect, journalist, social critic, and public administrator who will be 200 years old in 2022. Many ideas that fueled Olmsted’s work in the 19th century remain urgent, including encouraging civic dialogue, building healthy environments, and promoting community access to green spaces. OlmstedNow, Greater Boston’s Olmsted Bicentennial, was established as a coalition-led platform to connect neighborhoods and organizations to make parks and public spaces livelier, greener and more welcoming to all. Olmsted Now is a forum to share, debate and act on Olmsted’s enduring legacy, and to advance contemporary ideas of shared use, shared health and shared energy in parks with “the excruciating urgency of now,” as the Rev. dr Martin expresses Luther King, Jr. To inspire the local April-October 2022 program, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (Fairsted) co-organized monthly meetings for a growing multidisciplinary coalition to network, from one another to learn and coordinate Greater Boston planning with the national effort Olmsted 200. Olmsted Now is an opportunity to reflect together on the importance of parks and public spaces for years to come and the impact of Olmsted on civic life and the Affirm and advance public health and engage residents to educate themselves, take shared responsibilities, and intentionally build more resilient and inclusive places together.

Olmsted Now is made possible by Emerald NecklaceConservancy and Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (Fairsted), with the generous support of Kate and Ben Taylor, Four Lucky Dogs, Davis FamilyCharitable Foundation, Brooke and Jeff Cook, Marjorie and Nicholas Greville, Hastings Family Foundation, Der Caroline Loughlin Fund, the Lawrence & Lillian Solomon Foundation, Sarah Freeman, Focus Real Estate, Highland PartnersCharitable Fund, Lois R. Kunian, the EmeraldNecklace Conservancy Board’s Come Together Fund and other individuals, organizations and corporations.

About the Emerald Necklace Conservancy
The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is a community-supported nonprofit organization formed in 1998 to administer and promote the Emerald Necklace, Boston’s largest park system of seven distinct parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to serve over a dozen neighborhoods Connecting 1,100 acres of meadows, woods and waterways, trails and parkland. Working with citizens and neighborhood partners, the Conservancy empowers parks, people and politics by advocating for the Emerald Necklace and advancing access, maintenance and restoration, park stewardship and education through volunteer and youth programs and inclusive public programs. Serving more than a million residents and tourists each year as a healing retreat from the city, a valuable commuter and community meeting place, the parks have gained special prominence as a safe and socially distanced destination for recreation and reconnection since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic .

About Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (Fairsted)
The Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site preserves the home, office, surrounding countryside, and the numerous archival collections associated with Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted company. Frederick Law Olmsted is widely recognized as the founder of the landscape architecture profession in America. From this location, Frederick Law Olmsted and the Olmsted firm designed over 6,000 projects across North America, from expansive public parks to intimate private gardens. The National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the life and work of Frederick LawOlmsted and his sons and successors, and the central role they played in defining landscape architecture, urban planning, and the landscape leave conservation in the United States.

Millennia ago and in the centuries since Olmsted designed a park system for a rapidly industrializing city and metropolitan area, the lands and waters of and around Greater Boston have served as a site of exchange between communities including the Massachusett, Pawtucket, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc peoples. Olmsted Now recognizes these as their unceded ancestral lands. This recognition is a starting point for proper relationships with Indigenous neighbors and their understanding of land stewardship.


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