King Boston Awards Twelfth Baptist Church With $1 Million Gift

Nonprofit King Boston on September 21 presented the Twelfth Baptist Church with a $1 million gift which will be used to “aid its social ministries, food insecurity program and former incarcerated program, and as a catalyst for its upcoming capital campaign,” according to a press release. King Boston, along with the Boston Foundation,  is working on The Embrace Memorial coming to the Boston Common honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King.

This is the largest gift the church has received, and Martin Luther King, Jr. first met his wife at this church, according to a press release.

Supporters and attendees surrounding the $1 million check given by King Boston to the historic Twelfth Baptist Church on September 20, 2021. From L to R: Steven Tompkins, Suffolk County Sheriff; Orlando Watkins, VP of Programs, The Boston Foundation; Keith Mahoney, VP of Communications and Public Affairs, The Boston Foundation; Imari Paris Jeffries, Executive Director, King Boston; Duncan Remage-Healey, Director of Advancement and External Affairs, King Boston; Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney; Kate Guedj, Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, The Boston Foundation; Governor Charlie Baker; Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey, Rev. Willie Bodrick, II, Senior Pastor, Twelfth Baptist Church; Dr. Devin Cromartie Bodrick, First Lady, Twelfth Baptist Church; Annissa Essaibi George, City Councilor, At-Large, City of Boston.

Many folks spoke at the event on Monday morning, including Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Rev. Jeffrey Brown, District Attorney Rachel Rollins, Governor Charlie Baker, Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Executive Director of King Boston Imari Paris Jeffries, and Rev. Willie Broderick.

“This church has touched six generations of my family,” Janey said, adding that “this gift is important because it will help continue that work on food insecurity.” She said that churches are places “where folks have organized,” and where people come for refuge. She said she is “grateful that this church in particular has been a leader in our city” with vaccine distributions, food access, and the like.

“This church has done that important work and this gift will help continue” the work,” she said.

“As we stand here today, this gift to this very special place, this hallowed ground in the City of Boston, is one beautiful example of the aspirational objectives of King Boston becoming reality,” Governor Charlie Baker said.

“We are so grateful for this gift,” Rev. Wille Broderick, Pastor of the Twelfth Baptist Church, said at the event. He said the funding “…will be used not only to inform, but transform the lives of ur community.”

He said that the church’s food pantry has fed more than 200 families per week as well as supports other organizations in their work. Additionally, more than 2400 residents have been vaccinated at the church.

“But the work does not stop there,” he said. “I believe that this is not an end, but a beginning.”

He said that this money will permit the church “to expand our footprint,” and “dig deep into being the 21st century church this city needs.”

¡°Dr. King made Twelfth Baptist Church his home during his time in Boston, so it¡¯s only fitting that 70 years later, an organization in his name is gifting the church with $1 million to directly support the community made possible by donors from the community,” Imari Paris Jeffries said in a statement, adding that the gift is part of the Embrace memorial campaign.

¡°King Boston is rooted in service, commitment, education, and activism just as Dr. and Mrs. King were and now we can work with TBC to keep its values alive, dismantle racism and create an equitable society for all,” he said.

Jeffries also talked about the naming of the 1965 Freedom Plaza Nomination Campaign, “which will recognize 65bBIPOC Civil Rights leaders at the “Embrace” memorial on Boston Common,” the release states.

“King Boston has established the 1965 Freedom Plaza Award Selection Committee, a group of activists, educators, local artists, and cultural leaders, to review and finalize the selection of the 1965 Freedom Plaza honorees, co-chaired by Tito Jackson and L’Merchie Frazier,” according to the release. The Committee will rely on community members to submit prospective names for the honorees both online at and in person at a number of Boston Public Library locations and various houses of worship across Greater Boston, including TBC.”

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