Mattapan Square Main Streets clears major hurdle, eyes next steps

Mattapan Square Main Streets recently received a $9,533.19 from Mattapan United and a $3,500 grant from Carney Hospital with a three-year commitment, putting them just over their fundraising goal of $30,000. They are now hoping for an additional $25,000 to provide the organization with a “cushion” for the future.

“With the Mattapan Square Main Streets program, we were charged with raising $30,000 so that we could in turn receive a $30,000 match, which has subsequently, since the original contract, changed to just over $50,000,” said board president Nancy Rousseau. “So now we’re going to receive a $50,000 grant, if you will, from the city.”

This is a time of transition and growth for Mattapan Square Main Streets. The organization started looking for a new executive director in May, but put the search on hold temporarily once they got a little more understanding about what the requirements were. They are now going to resume the process and are working on a timeline and hope to make an announcement by January 31.

“We need someone who is a visionary, someone who is politically savvy. Someone who is not afraid to hit the ground and do the work,” Rousseau said. “Equally important, someone who is a team player but can still work independently because of the infrastructure design of Mattapan Square Main Streets.”
“The overarching goal of Mattapan Square Main Streets is to help revitalize Mattapan Square,” Rousseau said.

“There are a lot of vacant businesses,” Rousseau said. “There are about 140 to 155 businesses in the square. The goal is to fill all of those vacant spots and make Mattapan a commercial district that attracts people from Canton, from Milton, from all up Route 138, as well as [Route] 28.”

At a fundraising committee meeting on Mon., Dec. 17, the group discussed how to further their fundraising efforts and find viable revenue sources. This included revisiting outstanding pledges, getting donations and grants from businesses, foundations and residents. The group also went over the case statement that could be used to put together a package for prospective funders.

“We have a really good chance of raising good money,” Rousseau said. “We’re very charged and energized with moving forward and really exploring all of the avenues for fundraising.”

Karleen Porcena, lead organizer for Mattapan United, said beyond providing a grant, the group was hoping to team up with Mattapan Square Main Streets in the future.
“We’re just trying to work out what that means,” she said.

Porcena also said that Mattapan United and Mattapan Square Main Streets have “a lot of natural similarities and goals for Mattapan” that will benefit both organizations.

Rousseau said one of the next steps the organization wanted to make was to begin making design changes to Mattapan Square, following the example of other districts such as Roslindale Village.

“What we’re confident about is when people drive by and see the lights and everything looking so pretty, it’s really going to change the tone and culture of Mattapan Square,” she said.