In June, 2016, following the most successful Tour of the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill to that date, the Beacon Hill Garden Club contributed more than $73,000 to 50 local, regional and national environmental and horticulture non-profits. In addition, it gave $55,000 toward the reconstruction of the garden at the Old North Church. Part of that donation—$25,000—came from the club’s own Challenge Grant fund. The rest came from money received from the Garden Club of America’s Founders Fund for the club’s winning submission about Old North’s garden.
This June the garden club had no Founders Fund award or Challenge Grants to give away, but that didn’t matter much. The 2017 hidden gardens tour and its accompanying garden soirée were even more successful than last year, freeing $90,000 to go to 40 environmental and horticultural efforts. Ten percent of the tour profits, or $10,000, will go into the club’s Challenge Grant fund. This fund will grow over a few years to a significant amount, like that contributed to Old North’s garden. A few years ago the club used the accumulated funds in its Challenge Grant to donate $35,000 for new trees in the Boston Common near the Brewer Fountain.
Recipients of this year’s regular grants include a few national and regional organizations, but most are Boston-based. For the second year in a row, the club sent $5,000 to the Boston Parks Department to be used for the city’s greenhouses. Old North’s garden, the site of archeological digs all spring, received $2,500.
Community food growing efforts, such as City Sprouts, the Boston Food Forest Coalition and Boston Medical Center’s rooftop garden for its food pantry, each received $5,000.
Bridge Boston Charter School, a new recipient, received $2,500 toward landscaping. Another new recipient is Martin’s Park, a children’s playground and horticulture park to be built near the Boston Children’s Museum in memory of the young Marathon bombing victim, Martin Richard. It received $2,500.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway’s project on parcel 18 received $9,400. Five thousand dollars went to the Esplanade Association, and $4,000 supports the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s tree pit fund. The Arnold Arboretum, the Friends of the Public Garden, the Charles River Watershed Association, the Boston Nature Center, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy—the list goes on—received from $1,000 to $5,000.
The club invites horticultural or environmental organizations to apply for funds, which are distributed each year after the tour. Local organizations are generally favored over national ones. The funds available depend on the success of the annual Tour of the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill. The address for requests is the Beacon Hill Garden Club, Box 302, Charles Street Station, Boston, MA 02114.
“Boston businesses, Beacon Hill merchants and so many neighbors are strong supporters of our garden tour,” said Beacon Hill Garden Club President Jeanne Burlingame. “With their help we turn a long day of hard work into contributions that benefit the whole city. It feels so good to be able to support so many organizations that make Boston’s quality of life better for so many residents, and we thank all those who assist us.”