Charitable Foundation

The Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization, was formed in 2013 to expand upon the long-held charitable interests of the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC).  The Foundation was established to build on the Chamber’s support for charitable and civic causes in Burlington and surrounding communities. In particular, The Foundation is committed to social justice initiatives and in supporting programs that provide education and resources to local children and families.

The Foundation applied for and received a $5,000 matching grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation in the fall of 2013.  The grant was awarded to The Foundation to develop and implement a program designed to prevent and combat childhood obesity.  The Foundation, in consultation with local stakeholders including the Burlington School Department, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, the Burlington Food Pantry and business leaders, chose to develop a community garden to provide locally grown produce to Burlington Food Pantry.
With permission from the Burlington School Department and the Burlington Recreation Department (owners of the land), The Foundation formed a Community Victory Garden Committee (The Committee) to develop, implement and manage the project.  Burlington resident and Master Gardener Peter Coppola contributed his time and talents by creating the initial garden design and providing ongoing technical assistance.

At the outset of the project in the late spring of 2014, the fields were turned, mulched and soil tested for nutrients and to ensure soil safety. Seeds donated by Mr. Coppola and Farmer Dave were planted and tended by volunteers. Lahey Clinic & Medical Center donated $2,000 in matching funds to purchase a much-needed shed and tools.  Water lines were installed; volunteers assigned and the garden created. Despite an abbreviated season, the garden's first harvest exceeded expectations, producing more than 800 pounds of fresh vegetables for the 135 families dependent on the Burlington Food Pantry.

In the summer of 2014, The Foundation partnered with the Burlington Food Pantry and the local CSA to fund a 32-hour position through the Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteer Program. This staffer, Amanda Moak - who divides her time between the three organizations - focuses her efforts with The Foundation on the development and organization of a community education initiative. The first program, a discussion of the book Closing the Food Gap - Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, by Mark Winne, was held on January 22, 2015 at the Burlington Public Library. This program raised community awareness of hunger and food insecurity, local and regional agriculture and food disparities. Close to twenty people attended this program.

On March 2, 2015, The Foundation sponsored a second program, “50 X 60: A New England Food Vision” at the Grand View Farm in Burlington with Keynote Speaker Dr. Brian Donahue, Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University. In addition to the keynote address, the program included exhibits by the Burlington Food Pantry, the Burlington schools’ Science Center, the Board of Health and the Historic Commission (a display of antique garden tools). The program, which was free and open to the public, attracted more than 40 people from Burlington and surrounding communities.

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