Notes from the Field #13

Hear from 2008 Social Innovator, City Sprouts!
Updates from our Portfolio Organizations
City Sprouts, a 2008 Social Innovator 

CitySprouts’ mission is to cultivate wonder for all children with hands-on learning through urban gardening. CitySprouts collaborates with public elementary and middle schools in Boston and Cambridge to open the door to hands-on science education through the schoolyard-learning garden, leveling the learning field for children growing up in economically stressed neighborhoods. When the pandemic struck, the organization pivoted quickly to help meet the essential education needs of children through offering remote learning. Almost immediately, they offered students an at-home-learning site on YouTube to keep them engaged and grounded. When emergency grant funds became available, CitySprouts hired an additional gardener to grow food in their school gardens for a hunger relief effort. They grew 738 lbs. of vegetables for hunger relief and partnered with Food for Free to get it distributed to families in need. During this time, CitySprouts saw a threefold increase in volunteer participation.

CitySprouts created new remote lessons for their school day program known as the Early Start in Science Initiative. The lessons start with short videos made in the school's gardens. Teachers or adults at home can lead the activity to engage children directly with nature, whether that is a garden, park nearby or items found in the house. They also introduced in-person opportunities for 30 youth in three youth leadership teams after school clubs in Codman Square (Dorchester), Nubian Square (Roxbury), and East Cambridge. Since school grounds closed in-person programs, the organization has partnered with urban farms as a place for youth to garden with them through the fall and spring, including weekly remote meetings over the winter. CitySprouts is excited to work with these new partners, especially to get young people outdoors in a garden, growing food, and thinking deeply about the world around them.

Over the years, CitySprouts has relied on key partnerships for general operating support. The organization established a base of earned income from their service to school districts, but more than two-thirds of their operating budget comes from individual gifts, business donations, and grants. Although the pandemic has threatened the threads of their fundraising fabric, the organization remains committed to being present for families at a time of unprecedented need. Donations of any size would make all the difference in their efforts to help these families. The organization is also planning to raise funds for its 20th-anniversary celebration and spring fundraiser in April 2021. Proceeds will support summer programs in six neighborhoods in the Boston area. 

Donations to CitySprouts can help in the following ways:

  • $2,500 -- Sponsors CitySprouts Early Start in Science Initiative at one of their 20 partner schools, reaching 150 students or more with an on-going science-learning curriculum through the entire school year.
  • $750 -- Covers the cost of tuition for one youth in the summer program, giving them five weeks of intensive gardening and learning in a supportive community of their peers 
  • $500 -- Covers the cost for all the seeds and seedlings one of the school gardens needs for the new growing season in the spring
  • $100 -- Replenishes the supplies for educators to bring science in the natural world into the classroom: snail houses, worm bins, hand lenses, and nature books for young children
  • $50 -- Provides a take-home kit for an after school club youth: soil, seeds, and pots to start a porch garden at home, science notebooks and color pencils, young adult books to read together over the winter

Make a financial gift here!

To make an in-kind donation or to volunteer your time please email Alexandra at

Social Issue Talk Series 

Julia Mejia, City Councilor At-Large City of Boston, shared her tears, laughter, and joy as she spoke about her experiences growing up as a first-generation Latina student!

We had a wonderful kickoff event last week! Thanks to everyone who came to support Boston HERC (Higher Education Resource Center), and we hope that many of you will extend your generosity to the 2020 Social Innovator cohort through the end of this year and years to come!

The next event in the series on Wednesday, November 18, features Mary Dubon, MD, Attending Physician, Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, and Attending Physician, Sports Medicine Division, Boston Children's Hospital, and Adaptive Sports New England, a 2020 Social Innovator.

RSVP today!

View Notes from the Field #12

Receive blog updates

Enter the characters shown in the image.