April 2, 2015 \ Geoff Birmingham
Boston City Policy and Nonprofits

Boston City policy and nonprofitsLast week, the Nonprofit Consultants Network organized a meeting with the Chief of Policy for the City of Boston, Joyce Linehan. Joyce was invited to talk about Boston City policy and nonprofits since the beginning of Marty Walsh’s term as mayor. She listed a few initiatives that she felt were of most relevance to nonprofits in Boston:

Fighting Human Trafficking

The city launched an initiative, in partnership with Demand Abolition, to reduce the demand for prostitution by 20 percent by 2016.

Implementing Paid Parental Leave

The City now offers six weeks of paid parental leave to both mothers and fathers. This applies to both birthparents and adoptive parents. It may not be up to European standards, but it’s a start, and the City hopes to serve as an example to others.

Supporting the Arts

Mayor Walsh campaigned on a platform of supporting the arts, and then the City hired its first cabinet-level arts commissioner in two decades. Among other things, Julie Burros is responsible for crafting a plan to make Boston more accommodating to artists, with the idea that a strong cultural community leads to economic benefits.

Tackling the Income Gap

The City has created a new Office of Financial Empowerment and has partnered with the United Way, Jewish Vocational Services, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation to explore ways to “promote economic resilience” among low-income Bostonians.

Improving Opportunities for Young Men of Color

Recognizing that a disproportionate number of boys and young men of color in Boston struggle to take advantage of the same education and job opportunities of their peers, the City is seeking to enhance its mentorship network among youth and adults. The hope is to connect 1,000 mentors with city youth by next year.

Other topics discussed in the Q&A that followed included hiring a new school superintendent, finding ways to make housing affordable, the potential effect of the Olympics on corporate giving to nonprofits, services to elders, and, last but not least, dog licensing!