Our Vision: A clean, green, litter-free landscape across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Our Mission: Taking action to make Massachusetts a cleaner, greener, litter-free place to live, work, and play.
Keep Massachusetts Beautiful is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the simple idea that “beauty matters.” A landscape littered with trash is anything but beautiful.
The most important words in our mission statement are “taking action.” We focus on getting people involved and actively working to improve their communities through community cleanups and beautification projects. We also encourage local business and government leaders to take an active role in these efforts.
Once people see how their actions, efforts, and personal behaviors are helping to improve their communities, they feel empowered to do even more. Many of our local Keep Massachusetts Beautiful chapters evolved from community cleanup projects.
We have found that people take better care of places that appear to be cared for. Residents can improve the health, cleanliness, and appearance of their own neighborhoods and communities. They just need a little guidance, and that’s where Keep Massachusetts Beautiful can help.
We teach local volunteers how to collaborate with government and business leaders to achieve significant and lasting improvements. We focus on four impact areas in order to improve local communities:
- Litter Prevention & Cleanup: Understand who and what is causing litter and mobilize volunteer and government resources to clean it up and prevent future littering behavior.
- Waste Reduction & Recycling: Reduce reliance on single-use plastics and other non-sustainable products. Promote reuse and repair and effective recycling programs to reduce the volume of trash that ends up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter.
- Beautification & Community Greening: Beautify public spaces through landscaping projects, tree plantings, pollinator-friendly plantings, and other infrastructure improvements.
- Environmental Education: Educate people of all ages on ways they can change their behaviors to better protect our environment and inspire the next generation of environmental scientists, advocates, and leaders.
Learn how to launch a local Keep Massachusetts Beautiful chapter in your community!
Our Values & Guiding Principles
At Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, we believe that everyone can play a role in finding solutions to our state’s solid waste, litter, recycling, and other environmental challenges. This includes:
- Individuals. Lasting change begins with personal responsibility. While companies produce the products that often end up littered on our roadsides, parks, playgrounds, beaches, and in our oceans, it’s the people who consume these products who are guilty of littering. Think about it. If people simply did not litter, organizations like Keep Massachusetts Beautiful would not be necessary. Each of us plays a role in protecting our communities and planet Earth. Each of us can dispose of trash properly, recycle correctly, and teach our children, parents, and friends to do the same. We can also vote with our money by simply refusing to buy products that are environmentally irresponsible. This will send a message to the business community that people are willing to forego convenience if it helps support a cleaner planet and more sustainable practices.
- Corporations and businesses. Personal responsibility can go only so far if corporations and businesses are not part of the solution. For-profit ventures often resist proposed solutions that will impact their bottom-line profits. We understand that commercial enterprises do what they do to earn profits for their owners, shareholders, and employees. And the fact that businesses employ millions of people cannot be overlooked when searching for solutions. Yet we also believe that businesses need to take real, actionable steps to reduce or eliminate the adverse impacts their products have on the environment and society. Simply pledging to do better is not enough. Effective solutions often do impact companies’ bottom lines. But we believe that is a reasonable price to pay for protecting our communities and the environment.
- Government. Our local, state, and national leaders have a critical role to play. We believe they should resist being unduly influenced by corporate lobbyists and do what’s right for their constituents. We also believe that government leaders can do more to ensure we enforce laws that are already on the books. For example, in Massachusetts we see piles of litter scattered directly below highway signs that warn of littering fines of up to $15,000. With virtually no enforcement of litter laws in Massachusetts, these signs are simply an empty threat.
Our Funding Sources
Keep Massachusetts Beautiful launched in 2014 with a budget of $0. Since then, we have worked diligently to develop a variety of funding sources, including:
Donations and sponsorships from businesses
We rely on our business partners for a portion of our funding. Some will argue that accepting funding from corporate sponsors, including the makers of many highly littered products, equates to “greenwashing.” We respectfully disagree.
The hard truth is that the purveyors of single-use consumer goods are here to stay. We believe that engaging with these companies and trying to influence them to do better is more effective than treating them like enemies. Because let’s face it—many of us use and enjoy products from many of these same companies. And most of us probably know someone whose livelihood comes from working at one of these companies.
However, we also make it clear to our corporate sponsors that their financial support will not influence or alter our public positions on proposed solutions to the challenges we face.
For example, we believe that litter from miniature liquor bottles (nips) is a serious problem in Massachusetts. We have publicly advocated for a bill that would add a $0.05 (or preferably higher) deposit on the sale of nips. Our petition on Change.org has garnered support from more than 6,800 people so far.
When Sazerac, the producer of Fireball and Dr. McGillicuddy’s nips, offered to subsidize the cost of community cleanups in Massachusetts in 2019, we did not turn them away. But we also made it clear to them that their funding would not change our position on the proposed nip deposit bill. They accepted that position in good faith, and together we were able to conduct four successful community cleanups, thanks to their funding and in-kind donation of supplies. In 2020, Sazerac made another sizable donation and those funds are helping to offset the cost of our Massachusetts Litter Cleanup Crew program.
Corporate Engagement Fees
We host Corporate Community Service events within the greater Boston area. A typical community service project might include a local litter cleanup, a DCR park beautification project, or an indoor event that benefits the local community. Working together, we provide corporate employees with a rewarding, first-class community service experience. We charge a minimum donation of $500 to cover the cost of organizing these projects.
Government Support and Grants
Thanks to the efforts of State Senator Paul Feeney, we secured an earmark in the Massachusetts fiscal-year 2020 state budget. We also secured a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to launch and deliver our Talking Trash & Recycling Program across the state. We thank Senator Feeney, Governor Charlie Baker, and MassDEP for their support. We are confident this funding will deliver a strong return on investment for the Commonwealth.
Individual Donations and Merchandise Sales