Mattahunt Wheelock Partnership: 2010-2016
For six years, a unique and vibrant public-private partnership flourished between Wheelock College, the City of Boston, the Mattahunt Community Center (MCC), and residents in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston.
The immediate aim of the Mattahunt-Wheelock Partnership was to ensure that a community center slated for closure in one of the city's most underserved neighborhoods would not only remain open but actually expand its mission by delivering innovative, holistic services to children, youth, and families. The MW Partnership accomplished this goal and emerged as a successful example of a public-private partnership involving a community center and an institution of higher education focused on academics, youth development, and family support.
Among the partnership's many accomplishments:
- Re-opening the MCC in 2011 with an innovative blend of recreational, intergenerational, and academically focused programs
- Establishing the center as a thriving community hub using a place-based model
- Making significant landscaping and exterior improvements to enhance public safety at the facility
- Repairing and opening the facility's closed pool
- Recruiting nearly 40 collaborators to deliver a range of services
- Enhancing the civic capacity of Mattapan's residents
Important lessons for similar partnerships emerged from this successful civic experiment. The partnership offers key learnings for how:
- Government can partner effectively to maximize services to community members
- Community centers can conceptualize service delivery
- Higher education can better engage in respectful, productive relations with communities
Partnership Honored with John Blackburn Award
The American Association of University Administrators (AAUA) presented Wheelock College with the 2012 John Blackburn Award for the Revitalization of the Mattahunt Community Center. This national award recognizes outstanding examples of college and university leadership that demonstrate creative solutions to common problems, and/or illustrate successful efforts to meet demands.
"We [The American Association of University Administrators] were attracted to the Mattahunt Center revitalization because it represents a unique expression of the Wheelock College mission of improving the lives of children and families," Jerome L. Neuner, the AAUA Awards chairman, said in a statement. "It is also a model partnership between a city, a community, and a college."