Harvard Distributes $200,000 in Grants to Allston-Brighton Organizations


Residents and local leaders gathered to mark Harvard’s annual distribution of $200,000 to Allston-Brighton organizations at the Harvard Ed Portal on Tuesday, with interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 and Executive Vice President Meredith L. Weenick ’90 in attendance.

Harvard made contributions ranging from $5,000 to over $20,000 in size to 25 organizations, including multiple food pantries, youth services, music programs, and a neighborhood health center.

“To be awarded and come to something like this and really get in a room where there’s energy, where people are doing the same thing, it motivates you to keep going,” chef Pamela Cannon — who accepted a $5,000 grant for the Allston Brighton Food Pantry — said.

“I felt like somebody special sitting in the room — and then they calling us up and the president of Harvard could be there and congratulate us,” Cannon added, calling the recognition an “amazing feeling.” She noted the neighborhood was seeing a rise in food insecurity in the face of increasingly unaffordable rents — which many have connected to Harvard’s expansion into the neighborhood.


The ceremony included remarks by Garber, James Arthur Jemison — the director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency — and Boston City Councilor Elizabeth A. Breadon. State Representative Kevin G. Honan was also in attendance.

At the reception afterward, members from the recipient organizations said they were grateful for the money and the ceremony itself. After remarks, the 25 recipients were called to individually shake hands and pose for a photo with Garber, Jemison, Weenick, and Honan.

“It’s great that they feel as if we’re an important part of the neighborhood, and it makes us feel like they’re in a symbiotic relationship,” said Francis Hughes, director of the Road to the Right Track program, which received a $10,000 grant. He said the money would go to helping youth in the neighborhood pay for college.

The ceremony also awarded four Harvard students from Boston with the Joseph M. Smith Scholarship, which honors those “who demonstrate a commitment to community service.” The recipients were Richard D. Flores ’25, Jose Marco C. “Marcky” Antonio ’25, Khalid Abdulle ’26, William A. Hu ’27. This year, all four recipients happened to reside in Allston-Brighton.

The Harvard Allston Partnership Fund was established in 2008 as part of a cooperation agreement between Harvard and the city that would allow construction to begin on Harvard’s expanding Allston campus.

Last year, they doubled the benefit from its prior $100,000 size to win approval for development at 92 Seattle St, which will serve as additional space for Harvard Athletics and the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies.

Honan, a Harvard Kennedy School graduate whose district encompasses parts of Allston-Brighton, called the Ed Portal — a “community benefit” by Harvard which hosts educational and youth programming for the area, including small business planning assistance — a “strong addition to this neighborhood today.”

“They honored over 20 nonprofits who really need the financial assistance,” he said.

—Staff writer Jack R. Trapanick can be reached at Follow him on X @jackrtrapanick.