Launched in 2016, with founding support from the van Otterloo Family Foundation, the SPUR Seed Grant Program offers school-aged youth in the Lynn, Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott communities, an opportunity to receive the support needed to carry out youth-initiated and directed community impact projects.  

This program empowers individuals and groups with initiative and aspiration to implement thoughtful ideas which positively affect the local community.  Learn more about the program and view application.


Seed Grant Awards:

Jared W.  (May 31, 2016)

“These children leave their homes with nothing, but can enter their new homes with something to claim as their own.”

Jared, an 8th grade Swampscott resident, came up with the idea to plan an annual drive and to prepare bags for children removed from their home in emergency situations by the Department of Child and Family Services. The bags included essential children’s items such as a blanket, notebook & pen, an outfit, a book, a toy and personal care items. Jared’s project yielded 78 backpacks from his seed grant project and he has continued this effort annually since. 


Camden A. And Matthew C.  (June 16, 2016) 

"We were inspired to do this project because we believe that the graffiti ruins the atmosphere and beauty of our surroundings and we want to make a positive impact in our community by removing it.” 

7th graders Camden and Matthew applied for help with their "Graffiti Free Marblehead” project. The project used environmentally friendly, earth sensitive projects with the ECO-SEAL to remove graffiti from a sea wall near Preston Beach. Read more here.

Grace E.  (September 17, 2017)

“When I found out the walk was ending, I was bummed because it meant so much to me because my mom had cancer. I told the organizer that I wanted to take it over and he said that would be amazing.”

9th grade Grace, was determined to carry on and grow the Breast Friends Walk of Marblehead. The SPUR Seed Grant helped to fund the police detail and event shirts. Nearly 200 walkers participated, exceeding her goal of $5,000 to support Mass General's Cancer Treatment Center. In total, Grace raised $7,500. Read more here. View photos here.


Angelica P.  (October 1, 2017)
As a Salem Academy Charter School senior, Angelica organized a blood drive to address the blood shortage in her community and to raise awareness about this easy and impactful way to save a life. 


Ashley B.  (October 17, 2017)

"The SPUR Seed Grant program connected me to an organization and a team of people I forever will be grateful for. SPUR believed in me and my vision to create an impactful community project. The support I received and guidance is truly one of a kind.”

Ashley, a Salem Academy Charter School student, used the SPUR Seed Grant Award to plan the Diamond Fall Event at Salem Knights of Columbus. The event included a Fashion Show and awareness campaign to open the lines of communication and encourage self compassion around body image, low self-esteem and inspire self-confidence in young girls. Read more here.


Hayden M.  (August 15, 2018)

I am so grateful to SPUR for providing me with the seed grant money to help get Young at HeART up and running. Through this funding, I was able to carry out my vision of creating a volunteer program that was meaningful to me. My hope was to use art based activities as the vehicle to connect high school students with elderly residents at the Lafayette Nursing Home.  I have always been active in volunteer work, however, starting Young at HeART has given me a new perspective and has allowed me to develop important skills. Through this program, I have had regular opportunities to meet and communicate with the Activities Coordinator at the nursing home, develop an art curriculum and coordinate art supply needs with SPUR, create a logo, recruit and train student volunteers, and work directly with the nursing home residents. The Young at HeART program  is off to a great start in that it is engaging students in the spirit of volunteerism while offering enrichment for the seniors in our community.  I am very thankful for the funding that SPUR has provided me, and I look forward to continuing this effort. Many thanks.” 

11th grader Hayden created and organized an ongoing art workshop program called “Young at HeART” that occurs bi-monthly at the Lafayette nursing home in Marblehead. The project connects student volunteers with nursing residents through art based activities. Read more here.

Annabelle D., Eliza K., Lucy B. and Shrreya N.  (September 27, 2018)
Annabelle D., Eliza K., Shrreya N., applied for a grant to expand their ongoing pedestrian safety campaign “Stop, Look, and Wave after receiving the green light for additional sidewalk stencils from the Board of Selectmen in Marblehead on September 20, 2018. The goal of the project is to make Marblehead's streets and crosswalks safer by encouraging pedestrians to stop, look both ways, wave and wait for the driver to look and wave signaling it’s safe to cross. This project covers supplies for 20 additional cross walks, as well as mentorship and brainstorming around larger awareness campaign. Read more here.

Ms. McCarthy’s 2nd Grade Class  (February 6, 2019)

“Our classroom decided to do this project because we want to help people.  If you are a kid and are visiting the hospital, you might feel sad, upset, or scared.  We hope that our coloring book will help you feel better.” – Dominic S., 2nd grader who had the idea after being in the hospital following a broken arm

Ms. McCarthy’s 2ndgrade class at Coffin School in Marblehead developed a special coloring book for children in the hospital. Every student in the class created a picture for the coloring book with a message of kindness. 200 coloring books were created and delivered to Children’s Hospital of the North Shore with coloring crayons. Read more here