Block Parties: Bringing Neighbors Together
Funds are Available for Neighborhood Block Parties
WCF is continuing its “Neighborhood Block Parties for Philanthropy” in 2017.
“Block parties are a great way for residents to get to know one another, engage in fun, family-oriented activities, and discuss common neighborhood concerns,” says former WCF Block Party Coordinator, Darshna Varia. “The Foundation has supported more than 90 of these wonderful get-togethers since 2004.”
WCF reimburses residents up to $200 to cover reasonable party-related expenses for their first block party ($100 per year in subsequent years) so the neighborhood can have a fun and festive event. Neighborhoods commonly use the WCF funding to purchase food and paper goods, hire magicians, clowns or other performers, rent a tent in case of rain, or layout a make-your-own ice cream sundae table. Most block parties take place in the summer or fall, but they can be fun any time of year. Some neighborhoods have even featured Halloween parties with pumpkin-carving contests using pumpkins donated by local businesses.
Block party activities are as varied as the people organizing them. Activities have included a human scavenger hunt, a petting zoo with neighborhood pets, a “grilling station” with several grills in the street, an open “mike” to celebrate local talent, basketball tournaments, spelling bees, children’s games, Girl Scout badges for members organizing kids’ games, sharing neighborhood email addresses & phone numbers, bicycle/tricycle parades, a tour of a local “haunted house,” and signup for a lend-a-tool exchange. Also, neighborhood issues such as snow shoveling for the elderly, noise disturbance, vandalism or traffic problems are frequently discussed.
The Watertown Community Foundation requests that every WCF-sponsored block party feature philanthropic support for a local charity as part of the event. Many neighborhoods collect canned goods and other non-perishables for one of the community’s two local food pantries:
- Watertown Food Pantry at 80 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472,
- St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at St. Patrick Catholic Church
Contributions to other nonprofits are equally welcomed. Some neighborhoods have launched community service projects as well.
For more information about organizing a neighborhood block party, contact WCF’s Block Party Coordinator, Romualda (Roma) Jerome, via email at email@example.com or by calling 617.926.1500.
Download the Block Party Package, which contains guidelines, forms and instructions.