The Boston Public Health Commission Gets a $137,500 Grant

The award will be used to promote healthy eating and physical activity in Roxbury.

In Roxbury, 15 percent of residents have adult diabetes, which is a staggering number. In response, the Boston Public Health Commission has received the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership grant to support obesity and chronic disease prevention efforts in Roxbury.

The funding is $50,000 a year for three years, but because this year is considered a short—October 1 to June 30—the total for this year was prorated to $37,500, making the total grant $137,500. Still, that’s a large sum of money that will be used to help educate and shape up the community.

The funds will go directly to supporting what the BPHC says is a “robust partnership of representatives from multiple sectors including community-based organizations, resident coalitions, healthcare, local business, and city government.”

“This new collaboration among residents, city agencies, and community-based organizations with deep ties to the neighborhood will allow us to build upon the great work that’s already happening here,” said Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. “It is exciting to be a part of the innovative and thoughtful programs that will continue to transform Roxbury.”

For nearly 50 years, the Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) has worked to promote the revitalization and redevelopment of Roxbury. Now, in conjunction with the BPHC, the team will partner for the new initiative, Roxbury in Motion.

“Roxbury in Motion aims to transform where residents already call home, and give them better access to healthy and safe places to live, work, play, pray, and learn so that they can lead healthier, more productive lives,” said Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.

According to the BPHC, Roxbury in Motion will focus on three action areas:

1. Expand existing initiatives by MPDC, the Dudley Real Food Hub, and other Roxbury organizations to improve on the availability and affordability of healthy food through farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), community gardens, urban agriculture, and improved options in retail stores.

2. Support ongoing efforts by the City of Boston, resident groups, and other stakeholders to design and develop shared space for all modes of transportation, including vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, within Dudley Square and along Melnea Cass Boulevard.

3. Collaborate with established neighborhood initiatives, including the Violence Intervention Prevention (VIP) coalition, to develop innovative strategies that will increase usage of Roxbury’s many parks and green spaces.

“I’m so proud of the work that’s happening on the ground in Roxbury to address health disparities in this community,” said City Councilor Tito Jackson who will serve on the Roxbury in Motion Leadership Team, and who is already helping get the neighborhood fit through his “Project Buddy Love” program. “This new funding through Roxbury in Motion will help us to take existing work to the next level, to take a closer look at how we can address barriers to health here in our community and work together to ensure the optimum health of all our residents.”

Roxbury in Motion launches October 1, to align with “Roxbury Rising Against Diabetes,” which is a month-long series of events led by the Healthier Roxbury Coalition. Residents can join free Wednesday Walks to learn more about the initiatives. The gently-paced walks will begin and end at Hibernian Hall and will be held each Wednesday in October from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

For a complete calendar of Roxbury Rising Against Diabetes events, visit For schedule updates and additional information, visit