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Patron in the City: Emily Hall

Patron in the City: Emily Hall

We believe that passionate individuals can spur change in their communities. We refer to those individuals as Patrons in the City.

Emily Hall is a passionate public servant. We met Emily through PROVA!, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prove that Brockton, Massachusetts can come together as one community and have fun while supporting the local small business community in the process. Emily served as a Project Creator for two successful crowdgranting campaigns, through our Commonwealth Places program, that supported the development of PROVA!.

Prova, a word that means “Proof” in Creole, is designed to be a rich, colorful garden, a “garden” that is a dynamic venue which proves and celebrates Brockton’s rich multicultural heritage through local food and craft beer, family fun, and diverse arts and entertainment. PROVA! has demonstrated the potential that exists for businesses to be successful in downtown Brockton.

At Patronicity, we believe that passionate individuals can spur change in their communities and are honored to get to work with so many of them. We refer to these individuals as “Patrons in the City,” dedicating their time, sweat, and tears to building vibrant communities. We recently had the chance to chat with Emily and learn more about her passion for community and her experience working on PROVA!

About Emily Hall

After graduating with a BS in Public Administration with a minor in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida in May of 2015, Emily began a career in nonprofit development. Then heading into the MPA program at Northeastern in the fall of 2016 to make the transition to the public sector. In March 2018, she began her public service career in Brockton, Massachusetts at the Brockton Redevelopment Authority managing federal grants, community development and compliance. Emily currently holds the role of Chief Operating Officer for the Brockton Redevelopment Authority.

Emily Hall with the Director of Planning, the Mayor of Brockton, and Executive Director of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority.
Emily Hall with the Director of Planning, the Mayor of Brockton, and Executive Director of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority.

Q: Why do you love where you live?

Emily: I don’t actually reside in the City of Brockton, though it is very much home for me. My mother was born and raised in Brockton, but moved to Florida as a teenager where she had our family. We spent my childhood vacations coming back to Massachusetts to see her family, and always came to Brockton to go to the mall and see the houses, parks, and schools she grew up with. I fell in love as a child coming up here, and knew I wanted to one day work in Brockton to make it a place she was proud to come back to and call home. In undergrad, I did all of my research projects I could on the City of Brockton and fell even more in love with the history, diversity and potential the city holds. I love this city because of the community, they make it such an amazing place to be. The community holds such a diverse population, full of so many stories and learning experiences. The community comes together like nothing I have ever experienced before and makes so many people feel like Brockton is home for them even if they don’t sleep here at night.

Q: How has PROVA! changed your community for the better?

Emily: PROVA! has given so many businesses, local artists, and community members a chance to interact in ways they have never had before. It has given restaurants and restaurant hopefuls a place to experiment, gain exposure, and build relationships with one another and others that they wouldn’t have had so easily otherwise. It has given a brewery proof that they could have a successful location in downtown Brockton, has helped them gather data and information on what the community wants and how they receive from them, and has created buzz and excitement leading to their opening now. It has given the community a place to come and gather outdoors all summer long, a place to meet people they never would have before, and a place to share their culture and experience others.

My favorite line I heard every night of the first year, with the way the crowds and cultures mixed, was, “I know everyone in Brockton, and I don’t know anyone here tonight.” PROVA! has given so many local artists a place to display their talents and be rewarded for them. We have been able to have developers, political leaders, and many others from similar, but differing communities, come out to our sites to really experience the diversity and opportunity that is present in downtown Brockton. PROVA! as a whole has been able to generate good media and marketing for the City of Brockton, to bring some positive light to the downtown consistently.

PROVA! Brockton
PROVA! Brockton

Q: How has the community responded to the project and your efforts to build a vibrant community? What do you hope community members take away from this project?

Emily: The community overall has responded well to the efforts of PROVA! to build a place to showcase and celebrate our vibrant community. We are constantly evolving our efforts and sites and getting the word out that we are there and what we are trying to do. Not enough people know about us, and what we are truly here for, but every year and week that we are open, we see the word spread. We want the community to feel like this is theirs, a place to come and experience the best parts of Brockton, and uplift and grow the community as a whole. We have tried to keep our leadership very behind the scenes, since this isn’t about any one of us, rather about the community, who they are, what they want, and what they bring to the table. We want people outside of the community to see from PROVA! who this community is and what this community can do.

Q: If someone wanted to become more involved in their community, what advice would you give them?

Emily: Pick your passion, find your mission, and stick to it. Own your goals and be persistent, do whatever it takes to learn the necessary skills and information to be successful, and don’t let obstacles hold you back. This kind of work takes a lot of effort, commitment, trial and error, and the ability to take things as they come. Be aware of the whole community around you, what kind of impact you really are and can make, and that most of this work is bigger than yourself. “Be the change you want to see” is the best summary I can give for being involved in your community and being successful.

PROVA! Brockton in year one, 2018, featuring outdoor lighting, a stage, and pop-up seating.
PROVA! Brockton in year one, 2018, featuring outdoor lighting, a stage, and pop-up seating.

Incredibly humble, as well, Emily was honored to be named Patron in the City, but immediately noted that she is merely a participant in the greater community who makes PROVA! possible. As in so many placemaking projects, the credit is due to a collective of passionate community members, and those sentiments were echoed by Emily.

Emily: PROVA! wouldn’t be possible without a whole team of people that has come and gone, and evolved since March of 2018, from a group of community partners, to a Board of Directors, and many community partners and sponsors. It takes a lot of time and energy to program a whole summer, build relationships with local businesses, market our efforts, build and take down a new site every summer, and so much more, all with volunteers and a very small budget. We have come so far these past three and a half years because of the leadership team from PROVA!, but also because of this great community, many sponsors, community leaders, local businesses, and artists. PROVA! wouldn’t be what it is today without the whole Brockton community.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

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