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The concept of sticking together means a lot to me.

I play best in small groups brought together by common threads… from dinner parties to work environments… from volleyball teams to sharing music.

In 1996 I started using the word glue a lot when talking about neighborhood and community building. Two friends and I founded Community Glue Inc. in Boston’s South End in 1997. The first line of our Mission Statement read… Glue “was founded to strengthen community, promote literacy, and expand avenues for shared cultural expression within urban neighborhoods.“

In 2001 the Massachusetts State Legislature decimated the Mass Cultural Council’s budget by 62% and monies for cultural not-for-profits dried up. Our credit cards weren’t enough to keep us going.

I have continued to use glue as a moniker for many different projects… all aimed at bringing people together around a common goal. My resume is sprinkled with glue.

Below is the Mission statement of the original as written in the 90s… followed by some of our plans to spread glue across the city. Please feel free to use any or all of these ideas in your own neighborhoods!

Community Glue, Inc.

Community Glue Inc. was founded to strengthen community, promote literacy, and expand avenues for shared cultural expression within urban neighborhoods. We share the belief that a healthy, vibrant city requires a sound infrastructure. To that end, CGI’s vision of urban neighborhoods includes safe streets, a literate population, adequate open space and strong, viable commercial activity.

There are three distinct elements to Community Glue, any one of which is a project independently. But it is how they are interwoven that makes Community Glue so vital.

First, and what many are most familiar with, is the magazine, glue, that celebrates the people of the City while expanding literacy opportunities for people throughout our neighborhoods.

Next is the  programmatic/collaborative component designed to be a tool for people and existing agencies to be able to use their strengths to expand their reach and benefit more people.

The overall picture becomes complete when we tie it all together with glue magazine serving as a model for what we call a citywide Public Print Initiative – putting journalism in the position to shape civic renewal.

Community Glue is an effective agent of change. We translate the social research and findings taking place in our institutions into straight-forward role models that are grounded in community. Through the magazine and our collaborative efforts, we give community members, young and old, an opportunity to participate in the media itself and with it a belief that we can improve civic life.

Community Glue is a community-based organization incorporated in February of 1997 and receiving tax-exempt status in August of 1997. The organization was founded by three ex-presidents of neighborhood associations needing a more positive way to make a difference –   Roy Krantz, Betsy Johnson, and Lydia Walshin.

The organization is led by a seven-member Board of Directors consisting of individuals who have a long history of involvement in neighborhood and community building. Their strong leadership in community planning, development and a variety of local social service, arts and environmental activities shepherds Community Glue as we expand citywide. The Board meets quarterly to oversee the organization‘s finances, determine priorities, establish general policies and track project implementation.

Community Glue’s primary project, glue magazine, is managed by Roy Krantz and staffed with two part-time, compensated people as well as ten to twelve part-time volunteers.

glue has created a new venue for local literary and visual artists to reach community audiences. Both the magazine’s contributors and its readers are drawn from among community residents who have not traditionally participated in conventional urban cultural activities. The magazine aggressively pursues material, both written and graphic, that shares cultural backgrounds, place and personal histories, and local resources.

Other projects of the organization are managed by a Program Director, with assistance from volunteers and non-compensated interns.

Community Glue creates activities and events that promote the community‘s residents and resources, thereby building greater understanding of the rich diversity of cultures within the city. CG facilitates collaborations to foster success of existing programs and generate wider-reaching, more encompassing neighborhood activity.

Collaborative programs are chosen to create jobs for neighborhood people as well as to provide access to the arts and media for those who have not traditionally participated. By urging neighbors to use and share their diverse assets and skills, Community Glue encourages the cooperative efforts of individuals and groups to promote communication and build audiences for programs.

Community Glue’s strength comes from our ability to create rich collaborations of and with other programs and agencies and facilitate neighborhood activities.

Community Glue activities are designed to promote literacy and art access for all ages and increase collaborative art programming in existing neighborhood venues, working with the City, the libraries, schools, agencies, organizations and CDCs throughout the City.

Sharing the stories coming from our branch libraries, schools, neighborhood health centers, parks and parking lots will not only help chronicle neighborhood life in the City, but present a sense of place, community and activity.

We strongly believe Community Glue can serve a vital role in reducing the current competitiveness in the public sector by working to strengthen collaborations. To that end, Community Glue needs to be a citywide venture.

Getting From Here To There


  1. Focus attention on Board Development and Fundraising.
  2. Re-start publishing of glue magazine and circulate to Back Bay, Dorchester, the Fenway, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and the South End (estimated circulation of 25-30,000).
  3. Publishing of “Prevention NOW!’s” Kid Views as a newsletter and include in glue.
  4. Strengthen collaborations by creating activities that meld existing community work being done to promote literacy; and to make the arts more accessible s to more people throughout the city.

glue will expand to five or six editions with a circulation of approximately 80,000. The editions will geographically divide the city. Each edition will have a center eight page section which will highlight local activities with photographs and references from that neighborhood. The separate editions will also allow smaller businesses the opportunity to advertise “closer to home” at substantially lower rates.

  1. Roslindale / Hyde Park / West Roxbury / Jamaica Plain
  2. Allston / Brighton
  3. East Boston / North End / Charlestown
  4. Beacon Hill / the Fenway / Back Bay
  5. South Boston / Chinatown / South End / Roxbury / Mission Hill,
  6. Dorchester / Mattapan

Community Glue will move forward to expand collaborations citywide. These will build on our existing working relationships with many art-oriented organizations and be funded jointly with corporate sponsors, foundation grants and city participation.

Community Glue has a history of creative activities. None of them is particularly earth shattering…  just the opposite. They are simple ideas that can work. The key is to coordinate an effort so the number of events (NOT their size!) begins to create a feeling of social activity which will work to strengthen neighborhood.

Our collaborations will allow for Storytelling Days, Exhibitions, Poetry Readings and Cook Outs to become regular events in neighborhoods throughout the City. As funding allows, we will create events supporting the efforts of others working to support the city’s efforts, possibly with the Main Street program and/or Parks Department.

We have worked to create model activities. Now we must use what we have learned to create a new economic model for non-profit organizations. We must break the competitive cycle found in today’s third sector.

Key Achievements :: A Little History

  • Starting in fall of 1997, a cooperative project was undertaken with the Allan Rohan Crite Research Institute and Museum. A ‘Walking Tour’ of the South End with Mr. Crite, the neighborhood’s oldest and most renowned artist, was created and published in glue. A companion student study guide was created and is currently in use by the museum. The tour, which included stories of community life in earlier decades, led to a showing of the artist’s works at the South End Library.
  • In July of 1998, Community Glue and Space 12 Gallery jointly sponsored an exhibition of artists who had either contributed to or been featured in glue magazine. Among those showcased were Fern Cunningham, Johnetta Tinker, Craig Bailey, Allan Crite, Linda Haas, Eric Lewandowski, Donna Bonica, Ken Beck, Lou Jones, and Humberto Cordero.
  • In September of 1998, Community Glue worked with the Washington Street Main Streets Program and the Blackstone/Franklin Neighborhood Association to create the South End’s first Storytelling Event, which wove music and dance together with storytelling and chalk art — establishing a model for future programs. We hope to add puppeteering next.
  • Throughout 1998 and 1999, Community Glue developed poetry projects with children, including participating in a poetry festival at the South End Branch of the library.
  • Community Glue co-sponsored exhibits, beginning in 1998 with the Aetna Show of Lou Jones’ photographs of contemporary African-American leaders, and spawned the creation of the Boston Public Library’s South End Gallery in the fall of 1999. With its opening, Community Glue and the library have provided a regular venue for local artists to display their work.
  • For four years, beginning in 1998, Community Glue has held several very successful cook-outs in small neighborhood parks in the South End and Roxbury.
  • In 2000 and 2001, partnering with artist Jameel Parker, Community Glue raised funds for the creation of new murals in the South End and a mural restoration project in Dorchester.
  • In February of 2001 Community Glue published the 30th issue of glue magazine, providing a venue for local writers, photographers and illustrators to share their work. Since May of 1997, this collective work of storytelling and photography has strengthened our  community through the sharing of our art and culture.
  • In June of 2001, co-sponsored with Ibbetson Street Press, we began a monthly series of poetry and prose readings. Beginning in Upham’s Corner, Dorchester, they have neighborhood writers sharing the stage with some of Boston’s better known authors. Writing workshops are planned.

In addition to the types of activities we’ve been able to collaborate on to date, Community Glue is currently developing collaborations to help turn the following ideas into real community activities:

  • Mini Job Fairs, where local store owners will participate in mini-job fairs in individual neighborhoods where local residents could come and learn of potential neighborhood jobs in an informal environment.
  • Art & Craft Fairs could be organized, either as separate events, or as part of Storytelling Events. These would provide a venue for artists to present and sell their work. Local restaurants could participate with sidewalk stands.
  • A Scavenger Hunt will be developed city-wide, to bring people into the neighborhoods. The Boston Globe could co-sponsor and publish daily clues. Medallions could be searched for, resulting in varying degrees of prizes, hopefully substantial enough to generate a lot of participation. A mix of gift certificates from local artists as well as stores and restaurants may do the trick.