The Fenway Community Development Corporation (CDC) held their annual gala on June 20, celebrating the 45th anniversary of the CDC. The event brought around 350 people together 50 stories high at the Prudential Skywalk to mingle and enjoy food and drink.
CDC Board President Gregory Haig said that this year was the largest turnout he’d seen at the event, which raised over $200,000. Each year, the Fenway CDC supports programs that help over 1,000 families and individuals in the Fenway area.
“We’re thrilled to have been able to be part of the landscape, not just in the Fenway, but throughout the Boston area as advocates for affordable housing and for greater resident involvement in neighborhoods,” Haig said.
The CDC provides funding and support in three areas: affordable housing, connecting Fenway residents to education and employment, and ensuring that residents have a voice in the community.
“We believe empowering residents allows for a more dynamic, exciting community,” Haig said.
Haig talked about how he became involved with the CDC. Nine years ago, he was fairly new to the Fenway neighborhood and came across a sign that said “Meet Neighbors.” He decided that it seemed like a good opportunity to meet new neighbors, and ended up meeting the CDC staff at a cookout.
“I came for the hamburgers and hot dogs, and I stayed for the mission,” said Haig.
Haig cited this year’s ball as the “biggest and best” that they’ve ever had, with a record 75 individuals and organizations who donated.
Executive Director Leah Camhi discussed some of the organization’s highlights from the year. She said that the organizing team played a “major role” in a citywide coalition in support of the new short-term rental ordinance, which will restore thousands of housing units to the market.
For over nine months, the CDC put out fact sheets, ran information workshops, held weekly conference calls, met with city councilors and officials, and testified at state and city council hearings – just to name a few – in support of the ordinance, according to Richard Giordano, CDC Director of Policy and Community Planning.
Camhi also said that the CDC teamed up with two local organizations to organize the first ever Fenway Porchfest, which featured almost 70 bands in 25 different locations throughout the neighborhood.
“It was a glorious afternoon of neighbors and friends coming together in the best spirit of civic engagement,” she said.
Lastly, Cami said that the housing team has been working to expand the supply of affordable housing in the community.
“In partnership with thoughtful developers and passionate institutional leaders, we intend to double the number of affordable housing that we currently provide over the next three years,” she said.
Camhi said that being involved is what really makes a difference in the community. “That, my friends, is the essence of what the Fenway CDC is all about,” she said.
“Whether you are volunteers, whether you are professional colleagues, or both, you continue to make a difference by supporting Fenway CDC and by giving generously over the past 45 years to keep us growing.”