There's a drive underway to rebuild Freedom House, the 60-year-old education and community center on the Roxbury-Dorchester line in Boston. Quite a remarkable undertaking in this economy, sparked by a $1 million challenge grant from the state of Massachusetts:
The $1 million grant is provided through the MassDevelopment's Community Service Loan Fund, launched last year to provide low-cost loans and grants to help struggling service agencies like the Freedom House repair their facilities.
[Gail] Snowden, who took over leadership at the center about two years after a 36-year banking career, said she is seeking out alums of the Freedom House who are now adults to rally to save it...
Freedom House’s chief executive, Gail Snowden, said the money will be used to rebuild its decaying Crawford Street building and erect a new facility, a project estimated at $3 million. Freedom House must raise at least another $1 million on its own to use the state grant.
“Even though we’ve been around for 60 years, we are looking forward to being a 21st-century organization, and we need a 21st-century building,’’ said Snowden, whose parents founded Freedom House in 1949. “The new building will give us much greater visibility, and it will be much easier for the community to access us and our programs.’’
An op-ed in yesterday's Boston Globe ("For Jews and blacks, a connection remains") notes the long-standing relationship between Freedom House and the Jewish community as the Freedom House building has occupied the old Hebrew Teachers College, which sold the building in the early 1950s to the nonprofit started by Snowden's parents.
As a 15-year board member of Freedom House, I'm posting to encourage people to help us meet the challenge. The study of whether to renovate or rebuild was carefully done and artfully presented to the board in early fall. The new building will be an energetic expression of what is possible, even when the economy is sputtering and nonprofits are working hard to maintain their autonomy.
Please donate here.