Innovation Islands

Innovation Islands, our mini-grant program introduced as part of Park Anniversary celebrations, is returning for its second year! We’re excited to share updates for the 2023 season!

Last year, Boston Harbor Now worked with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the National Park Service to create a new grant opportunity for local nonprofit organizations. The goal was to provide these groups with funding and free ferry service to craft their own programming on the Boston Harbor Islands that caters specifically to the communities that they serve and their unique needs and interests. From music festivals to cultural dance classes, the wide range of ideas and innovations were reflected in the applications we received.

We awarded mini-grants to twelve organizations last year and welcomed many new visitors to the Islands through exciting and innovative programming and events. Each grantee created programming that presented the Island experience in a way that told the story of that organization and supported its mission.  Based on last year’s success and the continued support from our partner organizations, we are thrilled to be able to offer the Innovation Islands Mini-Grant Program for a second year.

We look forward to supporting these amazing community organizations as we welcome them to the Boston Harbor Islands this season! Read more about our 2023 recipients below.


2023 Mini-Grant Program recipients:

Family Nurturing Center of Massachusetts

Family Nurturing Center offers free programs for families in low-income neighborhoods to help parents and caregivers improve their parenting skills and enhance the cognitive and social development of their children.

First Teacher (Family Play Week)

First Teacher is a hands-on neighborhood initiative for parents and caregivers. They aim to support toddlers’ school readiness through improving parenting practices with a non-judgmental, collaborative approach based using knowledge, information, and effective strategies.

JazzBoston, Inc.

JazzBoston advocates for the diverse Boston area jazz community of musicians, audiences, media, and venues. JazzBoston celebrates African-American heritage, spontaneous creativity, and the collaborative nature of jazz, one of America’s great contributions to the world’s culture.

  • Wild Music: Boston Harbor  I   Saturday and Sunday, August 12 and 13   I   11:30 – 2:30 PM

Latino Outdoors Boston

Latino Outdoors Boston’s mission is to inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring Latino history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.

Girls’ LEAP

Girls’ LEAP’s self-defense and empowerment programs are based on a curriculum that teaches physical safety skills and socio-emotional, reflective activities to develop conflict resolution skills, violence de-escalation, self-esteem, and courage.

Linda Wellness Warrior

Linda Wellness Warrior’s mission is to create a wellness rebellion by teaching people how to assert personal agency by reclaiming themselves through adaptable yoga and body trust. Recognizing that stress may be an unavoidable part of our lives, Linda draws upon her in-depth study to help her students develop resilience in the face of modern life demands. 

Massachusetts Albanian American Society

The Massachusetts Albanian American Society (MAASBESA) strives to bring the Albanian community together for important causes and activities. Through their work, MAASBESA has made great strides to promote their sense of identity as an Albanian Community and is dedicated to promoting the well-being and progress of the Albanian-American.

  • Albanian Cultural Festival  I   Sunday, August 6  I   1 – 5 PM


Coming from the Kimbunda word for “idea,” Mbadika aims to foster the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs by providing resources and educational workshops to youth. By harnessing STEM, Mbadika provides opportunities for ideas and those who create them to impact our world.

Neighborhood of Affordable Housing Inc. (NOAH)

NOAH is a community development corporation that promotes equity, community cohesion, environmental justice, and economic resiliency. NOAH’s mission is to increase access to affordable housing, create social and economic opportunities, and empower residents to be leaders of change.

  • Bilingual Island Day Festival I   Saturday, July 15  I   1 – 5 PM

Quintessence Edutainment

Quintessence Edutainment seeks to educate, entertain, and engage communities through elements of music, dance, theatre, and self-love. Through work with the Boston Harbor Islands, Quintessence Edutainment will bring multi-generational families together to celebrate diverse cultures within the BIPOC communities.

  • Return To the Water: Reclaiming Our Roots (Quintessence Edutainment) I   Saturday, July 22  I   1 – 5 PM

StiggityStackz Worldwide Inc

StiggityStackz Worldwide (SSW) has established a pathway for artists of all ages and backgrounds to develop a relationship with their body, movement, and rhythm. SSW is committed to providing the space and resources to inspire individual and community-level transformation while establishing Boston as a hub for creation and innovation within the freestyle dance scene.

Vong Tay Cha Me Viet/The Circle of Vietnamese Parents 

The mission of Vong Tay Cha Me Viet (VTCMV) is to provide bilingual educational resources, emotional support and recreational experiences for Vietnamese-speaking families of children with autism. VTCMV aims to support parents and families, training youth with autism, and raise awareness about autism in the Vietnamese community. The two programs listed below clearly align with the proposed program.