Irvienne Goldson
Madison Park Development Corporation would like to express its deepest condolences for the passing of Roxbury leader & activist Irvienne Goldson. Irvienne recently passed, but her legacy lives on. Irvienne was a respected friend, colleague, community leader, and advocate for the arts. For over 30 years, she dedicated her life's work to mentoring young women of color as the Deputy Director of Health Services at Action for Boston Community Development. She impacted hundreds of lives through her outstanding work in community health, reproductive justice, and health education for the under-resourced. She will forever be remembered as a beloved Roxbury legend and a warrior for Boston. Our thoughts are with her family, friends, and colleagues.
Artist credit: Farah Jeune
January 2021 @ MPDC
This year, Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) marks 55 years since its founding. MPDC was born out of both an innovative vision for the future and out of necessity during an era in which the Roxbury community faced unprecedented challenges grounded in racial and economic injustices. 

In 1966, the survival of the Lower Roxbury community was at risk. Bulldozers were demolishing hundreds of homes, churches, and businesses through the City of Boston's urban renewal program. A small but determined group of activists fought back. Led by community members including Ralph Smith and C. Vincent Haynes, the group mobilized residents against the further destruction of their neighborhood. They created their vision for the area and procured the resources they needed to rebuild their once-thriving community. This effort resulted in the creation of the Lower Roxbury Community Corporation in 1966.

The organization was later renamed Madison Park Development Corporation in honor of a local park that was a victim of the demolition. For our 55th Anniversary, we pay homage to this park in our logo, created by local designer Pleased Design, with a creative rendition of an aerial shot of Madison Park from 1966.

As one of the very first community development corporations in the nation, MPDC has accomplished a great deal- building and preserving over 1300 units of high-quality, affordable housing; restoring Hibernian Hall, now a local leader in bringing arts and culture, particularly work from artists of color to Greater Boston audience; creating and growing our now robust Community Action department, which brings a diverse range of programs and resources to hundreds of residents and community members each year; and most recently, the creation of The Dewitt Center in the heart of Madison Park Village, which has quickly become the site of high quality, multigenerational programs, and a vibrant community gathering space.

MPDC's CEO Leslie Reid reflects, "I find it fitting that this important Anniversary occurs during another period, much like our founding years. In 2021, we commemorate an important milestone, celebrating the legacy of the incredible leaders who came before us while reaffirming our commitment to uplifting the beautiful, vibrant community we serve. As we reflect on the past, we also look forward to embracing the promise of the next 55 years."

Lisa Morishanti, President of MPDC's Board of Directors, adds, "MPDC has been a pillar in the community for more than five decades. Throughout our history, we have been innovative and rooted in community. Our commitment to people and Nubian Square is steadfast and everlasting. This 55th year marks an opportunity to look towards the future and all of the endless possibilities that exist as we continue to focus on racial and economic equity in Roxbury."

MPDC will be celebrating the 55th Anniversary all year long, kicking off in February (TODAY!) with the launch of Madison's Train 2 Trades website brings an interactive virtual classroom into people's homes and builds their skills in the construction and building trades, which will create a larger pool of qualified, trained residents to meet Greater Boston's growing demands construction industry. (More about this program below.)

MPDC plans for each month of 2021 is to focus on a specific program area and celebrate the past, honor the future, and embrace the present. In February, the spotlight will be on Black History Month and past, present, and future Roxbury leaders. The month will culminate with virtual performances honoring past & present leaders curated by Hibernian Hall.

Stay tuned to MPDC's social media, monthly newsletter, and website to CELEBRATE Legacy, HONOR Community, and EMBRACE Promise with MPDC throughout 2021.
"As we embark on the celebration of MPDC's 55th year of community impact, it's important that we stay true to our mission in supporting the advancement of our community. Today, in celebration of the launch of MPDC's 55th Anniversary, MPDC is thrilled to premiere, which will create a larger pool of qualified, trained residents to meet the growing demands of the Greater Boston construction industry. MPDC is aiming to position all projects, particularly in the Roxbury neighborhood, to exceed the demands of the Boston Residents Jobs Policy and to create future leaders within the construction industry." - Katrina Conrad.

MPDC has adapted its Workforce Diversity & Development Program to an online platform for adult learners seeking opportunities to gain the essential skills needed for entry-level positions within Boston's growing construction industry.

MPDC's online learning platform,, offers self-paced video modules that will provide participants core competencies and basic knowledge in various vocational building skills, including Measuring & Marking, Introduction to Framing, and much more. 

Participants of MT2T will build their professional toolbox with accelerated online training and certifications necessary to enter the building trades industry. In April 2021, program participants will apply their online learning with corresponding in-person hands-on workshops hosted throughout Greater Boston. These hands-on workshops are taught by local tradespeople and MWBE contractors who are actively working to ensure that the Boston Residents Jobs Policy remains relevant now and in the future at 51% Boston Residents, 40% People of Color, and 12% Women on all
local construction projects.  
A successful Job Fair and a MT2T participant hired!
In collaboration with Preservation of Affordable Housing, Madison Park Development Corporation hosted its 2nd Annual New Year, New Career Construction Job Fair virtually on January 26th.
Job seekers spoke with hiring general and subcontractors about their experience working in residential & commercial construction. Dellbrook/JKS, NEI General Contracting, J & J General Contractors, and their related subcontractors discussed their current projects in Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester. They expressed their immediate hiring needs based on the Boston Resident Jobs Policy requirements (51% Boston Residents, 40% People of Color, and 12% Women).  

Thank you to all of the participating subcontractors, including Turner Brothers Concrete, J. Derenzo, Optiline, Atlantis Comfort, and Marguerite Concrete.
MPDC offered job seekers that did not have relevant experience or OSHA-10 training information about local training programs, including Madison's Train 2 Trades (MT2T), Building Pathways, and YouthBuild Boston.  

We are so thrilled to announce one of the Job Fair participants has already been hired!
If you seek qualified Boston residents to add to your workforce, contact Katrina Conrad, MPDC's Workforce Development Manager.
Congratulations to Joel Escobar, a recent Madison's Train 2 Trades (MT2T) program participant and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology graduate! Joel has accepted an HVAC technician position with Fletcher’s Installation, a trusted subcontractor who has worked on several MPDC developments. Joel completed his HVAC-R certification in December 2020 and, with the help of Katrina Conrad, MPDC’s Workforce Development Manager, was able to assist Joel with immediate job placement.

“I would like to thank Katrina and MPDC for the hard work and dedication to all of us who looked to MPDC for help. Katrina helped me land not just a job but also an excellent career opportunity, and I will be forever grateful. Thank you so much.” - Joel Escobar

Congratulations Joel and thank you to Fletcher’s Installation for continuing to add Boston residents to its
growing business!
Congratulations to these graduates!
Last month, the MPDC Opportunity Employment Program (OEP) celebrated youth leaders Andrison (Andy) Salas and Danelis Acosta for completing their HiSet exams. While in the OEP program, Andy and Danelis attended HiSet preparation classes and completed many hours of assignments. They also participated in job readiness and personal development workshops to improve their professional communication and problem-solving skills. Their hard work paid off, and both graduated from the OEP Program in December! 

Danelis is now working as a part-time assistant in MPDC's OEP department and is looking into a healthcare career. Andy completed an internship with the YMCA and is looking into law enforcement and a military career. The virtual graduation was well attended by family, youth program peers, MPDC staff, and program partners.

Congratulations Andy and Danelis!
Honoring Roxbury's Block Captains
The Community Support Program would like to highlight a few unsung community heroes, MPDC's Block Captains Daryl Fuller and Hugh Johnson. They have been consistently working in our community, providing vital resources and information to our residents. The pandemic has not halted their fantastic work. Darryl and Hugh continue to deliver PPE, food baskets, and informational literature on resources associated with the Village in Progress and Neighborhood Trauma Team initiatives to those who need it most. MPDC is very proud of them and their consistent hard work. They love our community, and MPDC loves them back.  

Thank you, Daryl & Hugh!
The Dewitt Center says thank you to the Delta GEMS
The Dewitt Center would like to thank our program partner, The Boston Alumnae Chapter Delta GEMS, for donating cloth and disposable masks from their Holiday Mask Drive! The Delta Gems collected 2,215 masks, 179 pairs of socks, and 29 pairs of winter gloves. They donated to 10 shelters and organizations in the Greater Boston area. Learn more about the Delta GEMS here.
Join Dewitt Center program partner, Dreams 2 Reality for KidZ-FitnessFIRST Class every Wednesday from 4:15 PM -5 PM for fun & inspirational
kids fitness workouts.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Environmental victory for
Lower Roxbury!
For the past decade, Lower Roxbury neighbors and allies have worked to influence and change the proposed project that would have removed and damaged hundreds of trees. Standing alongside Roxbury residents were over 13,000 petition signers, multiple actions, multitudinous letters, and meetings; support from over 50 community-based organizations, allies including organizations & individuals from the medical field, environmental groups, bicyclist groups, and the Attorney General's Office. This campaign was a victorious neighborhood effort to ensure the health and well being of all. Thank you to Mayor Walsh, Chris Cook (Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space), Dr. Karilyn Crockett (Chief of Equity), Chris Osgood (Chief of Streets, Transportation, and Sanitation), and members of the Boston City Council, The Friends of Melnea Cass, residents & community members for working with the community to find a better way forward.
Honoring MLK with a Day of Service
MPDC was honored to organize and partner with Dellbrook JKS & Boston Jobs Coalition for a masks & mittens drive in honor of Council President Kim Janey's MLK Jr. Day of Service. Shout out to Katrina Conrad for coordinating MPDC's efforts to contribute masks & mittens!
Updates from Roxbury In Motion
PLAN: Nubian Square Updates
The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee has approved the final request for proposal for Crescent Parcel, a piece of public land on the corner of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Tremont Street.

Parcel P3, a large lot of public land located between Whittier Choice, Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, and the Boston Police Headquarters, is beginning its public process again. The land is extraordinarily contaminated, and the conversation right now is about environmental remediation. Boston Planning & Development Agency will be hosting a P3 Environmental Chat with a Planner on February 8th. On February 15th, BPDA will be hosting the first PLAN: Nubian Square P3 Workshop to kick off the public process.

Ruggles Street Update
Ruggles Street Corridor has been redesigned, and the Boston Department of Public Works will likely be breaking ground this year. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission has been performing work on Ruggles Street over the past couple of weeks. This work is to upgrade the infrastructure under the street to make it ready for the upcoming Public Works roadway project. MPDC will continue to keep you updated about learning what the design will look like and the construction timeline. MPDC would like to thank the Madison Whittier Coalition, comprising a dedicated group of Madison Park Village and Whittier residents, for their hard work and oversight of this project.

For more information contact MPDC's Community Planning Manager Chavella Lee-Pacheco.
Become a Friend of Hibernian Hall
Hibernian Hall's 2021 schedule is exciting and virtual! Hibernian Hall will present compelling performances by local performing artists throughout MPDC's 55th Anniversary and two theater productions by playwrights Dillon Bustin and Mary McCullough. Please join the Friends of Hibernian Hall to support MPDC's work as we keep our virtual doors wide open to Roxbury audiences and beyond. Enjoy exclusive membership benefits, including invitations to private online receptions. We are grateful to the current members made up of artists, theatergoers, and supporters!

For more information on becoming a Friend of Hibernian Hall, contact MPDC's Resource Development Manager Kay Mathew.  
MPDC is committed to healthy aging outcomes for our residents!
The Smith House Wellness Room is on its way to opening, with safety protocols in place! With safety protocols in place. Fitness machines are installed, and the flooring has been acoustically reinforced. The planning team anticipates hiring a Geriatric Specialist soon to instruct, lead activities, engage residents in meaningful physical fitness experiences, and offer exercise opportunities that contribute to healthy aging. The project is a pilot that could serve as a replicable model for other affordable housing sites serving older adults. Thanks to Enterprise Communities for supporting the Wellness Room staff and for helping MPDC plan the project. Thank you to WinnCompanies and Boston Medical Center, whose health navigators at The Smith House have been instrumental in realizing the project.

Contact MPDC's Director of Health Equity & Resident Engagement Javier Gutierrez or MPDC's Resource Development Manager Kay Mathew to learn more about this project.
Public Art installation pays tribute to displaced families
On January 25th, recognized as People Before Highways Day, Lower Roxbury residents commemorated the lives of families and individuals displaced by neighborhood destruction to make way for the I-95 Inner Belt Highway in the 1960s. Hundreds of homes in Lower Roxbury were seized and demolished by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston. A powerful coalition of neighborhood activists stopped the Inner Belt and all Interstate Highway projects coming into Boston, and on January 25th, 1969, People Before Highways Day was declared. To remember the history and pay tribute to the Lower Roxbury families who lost their homes, The Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard created a temporary public art installation with hundreds of lit paper lanterns symbolizing the hundreds of families who were displaced. Each lantern featured the names, addresses, and occupations of some of the displaced people whose lives were irretrievably disrupted.

MPDC highly recommends reading People Before Highways, by Karilyn Crockett to learn more about the history & destruction related to the I-95 Inner Belt Highway.
Congratulations, Jeanne Pinado!
Last week, it was announced that former MPDC CEO Jeanne Pinado is joining Colliers' Capital Markets Team, a prominent Boston real estate firm, which puts together financing packages for large deals, as the Executive Vice President.

Jeanne will miss her MPDC family, residents, and partners and is excited to embark upon a new commercial real estate career. Jeanne plans to stay connected and will see everyone at the next ribbon cutting or at the 55th Anniversary Gala.

Read more about Jeanne's new role in The Boston Globe & Boston Real Estate Times.

 Congratulations, Jeanne!
Thank you to our January 2021
Newsletter Contributors!
Arlene Baldwin
Chavella Lee-Pacheco
Erica Davis
Katrina Conrad
Juan Leyton
Kay Mathew
Kelly Ransom
Leslie Reid
Lisa Morishanti
Meghan Higgins
Olawumi Akinwumi
Sandra Sierra
Wilbur Smart
Yhinny Matos
Black History Month Celebration
Celebrating past & present Black leaders through
artistic expression!

WHEN: Thursday, February 18th & 25
7 pm

WHERE: On Zoom (link provided upon registration)

For more information contact
Hibernian Hall Program Director Olawumi Akinwumi.
Apply for the Kuehn Fellowship
MPDC has been chosen as a placement site for the Kuehn Fellowship.
Apply today!

Live Q&A Session with Kuehn Foundation representatives
January 20, 2021 @ 12-1pm
 Application deadline
February 12, 2021
Interviews, Fellow Selection & Matching
March/April 2021
Fellowship begins
July 2021
MPDC remote offices will be closed on
Monday, February 15, 2021.