Boston Foundation opens JP Satellite Office

May 28, 2010
By

David Taber

JACKSON SQ.—The high-profile non-profit The Boston Foundation (TBF) planned to open its first ever branch office at 31 Heath St. May 26.

A major force in the local non-profit sector, TBF distributes over $80 million in grants every year and runs a slew of its own programs from its headquarters in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

The new JP office, in a building owned by Family Service of Greater Boston, will primarily serve as a headquarters for TBF’s StreetSafe Boston program, a street worker program that serves communities in the South End and along the Blue Hill Avenue corridor—running through Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester.

Despite the program’s not focusing on the immediate area—including the nearby Bromley-Heath housing development—the location of the office “Expands [TBF’s] points of contact. Just the fact that we are there makes it inevitable that we will engage with the neighborhood, including Bromley-Heath,” TBF spokesperson David Trueblood said.

The TBF street worker program is “designed to interrupt the cycle of urban violence by establishing relationships with young, proven-risk offenders and connecting them to service providers…,” according to a TBF press release.

The locations targeted by the program were “identified as core places where a lot of these proven-risk youth spend a lot of time,” Trueblood said. Part of the idea behind targeting those areas is that those youth often spread out into other neighborhoods to commit crimes.

The program is also designed to compliment a similar city-run street worker program, run by the Boston Centers for Youth and Families. Jermaine Headlam is the city street worker for Jamaica Plain.

Robert Lewis Jr., who runs the TBF street worker program also founded the city’s program. Lewis has strong ties to Bromley-Heath, Trueblood said.

Gazette calls to Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation deputy director David Worrell and to Headlam were not returned by press time.

“What is unprecedented [about the StreetSafe Initiative] is how many meaningful partnerships there are and that we are all on the same page,” Trueblood said. In addition to the city, the press release lists the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Ten Point Coalition, and Harvard University as partners in the collaboration.

In addition to housing the StreetSafe program, the office will also be used by other TBF staff “as needed,” the press release says.