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  • Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Announces Grant for Innovative Programming for Younger Audiences

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    Family Foundation recognizes tremendous opportunity to invest in this exceptional non-profit

    PORTSMOUTH—The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) is proud to announce the receipt of a $50,000 grant from the Robbins de Beaumont Foundation to support the implementation of innovative programing and discussions based on the documentary, Shadows Fall North, throughout New Hampshire and Seacoast Maine.

    According to BHTNH Executive Director JerriAnne Boggis, “This grant is perfectly in line with our goals to increase our statewide programming. We were tasked by our Board with developing new programs with strategic partnerships so we can continue to expand our services to serve youth. 

    Seacoast residents John and Shaye Robbins, representatives of the Robbins de Beaumont Foundation first became aware of the work of the Trail through the re-internment ceremony and unveiling of the African Burying Ground Memorial Park.

    Shaye Robbins reflecting on the relationship said, “We are an early-stage philanthropy foundation.  We support non-profit entrepreneurs and visionaries as they set out on their adventure.  After the successful creation of the monument, we joined their walking tours. After meeting staff and volunteers alike we were hooked.”

    The BHTNH is known best for creating safe environments for public conversations around race via its signature programs including: Winter Tea Talks occurring each February to March; Summer Walking Tours in Portsmouth, Milford, Hancock, and Warner NH; The Juneteenth Celebration marking [the official] end of slavery in America; Frederick Douglass Community Readings each July 3, and the Black New England Conference a signature program now in its fifteenth year.

    The grant from Robbins de Beaumont supports programing in schools using the documentary, Shadows Fall North, which traces the history of African Americans in New Hampshire from the colonial era to the present. BHTNH is developing a pilot high school curriculum package centered on the noted film.

    The grant also supports opportunities for students to create short videos regarding Black History in their communities. 

    “This is our third grant to BHTNH, and we are looking forward to continuing the relationship.  The previous grants have been very innovative, successfully implemented, and strategic, as the Board has ensured. This is an exceptional nonprofit, built carefully and thoughtfully, with excellent leadership and a dedicated group of volunteers and staff.  We welcome and encourage other funders or donors to get involved with this organization because they work and people are very interesting and meaningful.”

    John Robbins President of the Board of Directors of the Foundation echoes his wife’s praise for the nonprofit, staff, and volunteers. “We’ve been involved in early-stage philanthropy for 30 years. As we consider our funding, we look at the arc of an organization. What we see with BHTNH is an incredible trajectory. We want to help bring this organization to the attention of other funders who are interested in this work-- American History, Black History, quality education programming, the effects of history on race, and equality in our country.

    Participation in BHTNH programming gives people the tools and helps them understand local history which helps us understand how our past affects the reality of today.  We are quite proud to stand with them and be a part of their continued success.”

    The Shadows Fall North pilot uses an online platform to deliver programming. During this past year of Covid 19, this type of programming has become the norm. “We are grateful we had already been planning and envisioning this online program,” says JerriAnne Boggis. “Because of that planning we were able to ramp up and provide many of our programs in this manner.  It has had unexpected benefits. People are joining our talks on Zoom from around the country by the hundreds!  --almost 500 people at one program last summer!  We see a great opportunity to ensure our mission reaches a larger NH audience in this manner through this grant.  We are excited!”

    Maryellen Burke, Seacoast consultant for BHTNH, echoes the sentiment, “We are so grateful to early funders such as the Robbins-de Beaumont Foundation. This is a big grant, and we hope other funders will heed the signal to think big, to think about growing the capacity of this nonprofit to respond to the present moment and the increased interest around race. 

    Burke continues, “Donors and Funders are encouraged to contact us. Black History is our American history, and working on localized history projects creates a deeper conversation on race. The organization is poised for investment as it expands statewide. Right now, they are delivering programming with a tiny staff and a huge amount of volunteer effort. It is a great time for more investment for a huge return. ”

     For Information on bringing the Shadows Fall North Documentary program to your school or community group, contact:  gina@blackheritagetrailnh.org