Mission & History

Community Rowing Inc. (CRI) was founded in 1985 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the belief that the sport of rowing provides unique opportunities to promote personal and community growth through teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness. 


At CRI, we invite individuals of all backgrounds, abilities and experience to grow through rowing. 

The Values that Guide our Work

We commit to practicing what we preach by rigorously adhering to the core values of our organization.  Below are the values approved by the board of directors in February, 2020.  Our values are a living, dynamic expression of not only what we value but how those values reflect our beliefs and our actions  And, as part of the process of refining, improving, and learning, we will adapt and address how our values also inform our behaviors, mindsets, and the principles that guide us.   

We Value...We Believe...Behaviors and Guiding Principles
  • Diversity refers to the makeup of our community.
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to access and experience the benefits of rowing and being a part of our community.
  • We believe in actively recruiting and including people of all backgrounds and abilities, including those who may not find it possible to access rowing elsewhere.
  • Embrace diversity in the people we serve, our staff, volunteers and board, welcoming and seeking out diversity in, for instance, race, gender and identity, ability to pay, age, prior experience and physical and intellectual ability.
  • Create policies that allow individuals of all backgrounds and abilities to join our programs and our community.
  • Build partnerships to connect CRI with the broader Boston community and under-represented populations.
Belonging and Respect
  • Inclusion refers to a culture that allows diversity to thrive. In an inclusive community, people feel respected and a sense of belonging.
  • Feeling respected by and connected to a welcoming and supportive community enriches a person’s life and sense of worth. Social support improves emotional, intellectual and physical health.
  • It is important that we be good stewards of and citizens in the broader Charles River Community.
  • Nurture a culture of inclusion, a perception of belonging. There is a place for everyone regardless of ability
  • Expect each member of our community to treat every other individual with respect
  • Ensure fair access to our human and physical resources
  • Provide opportunities for each individual to do his/her best work and advance
  • Expect accountability for the care of our people and the equipment we share
  • Ensure through regular assessment that staff and beneficiaries feel respected and have a sense of belonging
  • Expect CRI staff, coaches and rowers to uphold and model our values when representing CRI
  • Expect the CRI community to respect the river, the animals in and above it, and the ecology of the waterway
Personal Growth
  • Rowing changes lives in diverse ways, such as: the value of challenge, commitment and grit; a connection to the outdoors and nature; the physical and health benefits of exercise; teamwork and camaraderie; the satisfaction of teaching, coaching and learning.
  • Provide a variety of programs to allow individuals to explore and choose the type, intensity, frequency and atmosphere that optimizes their personal growth
  • Cultivate a culture of developing and mentoring diverse motivations and aspiration
  • Offer programs that, through thoughtful teaching and coaching, provide experiences for growth
  • Embracing rowing and coaching challenges and overcoming obstacles and setbacks are meaningful opportunities for growth, connection and improved well-being
  • Cooperative problem-solving breaks down barriers and builds connection
  • We believe in the power of generous assumptions
  • Offer opportunities to face challenges and gain strength and confidence
  • Model creative problem-solving and innovative solutions
  • Create learning opportunities for mastering a broad range of skills
  • Provide opportunities for people to go outside their comfort zone and explicitly teach skills for becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • Create a culture that encourages and rewards personal empowerment and personal responsibility


Download here the Mission Statement and Values Adopted by the CRI Board on February 9, 2020 (PDF)

Click on the following link lo learn more about Our Commitment to Diversity 

We are committed to making these opportunities available to all. CRI has become one of the largest rowing programs in the United States, with more than 5,000 people rowing with us annually.

Located on the Charles River, an internationally recognized attraction for rowing and a gem within the Massachusetts park system, CRI was the first public rowing club in Boston and remains one of the largest in the United States. CRI is committed to its mission of enriching the greater community and provides broad-based programs for youth and adults of all skill levels—from novice to elite.

Since its inception, CRI has provided education and training for more than 30,000 people, including:

  • Youth (boys and girls) from local high schools
  • Individuals with special needs such as sensory and mobility disabilities from Perkins School for the Blind and other institutions
  • Adults of all levels of ability through recreational and competitive programs
  • Olympians and National Team Rowers
  • National Champions in Women’s, Men’s, and Girls’ Competitive teams

A reputation for excellence and outstanding accomplishments in the sport has made CRI the place to learn to row in the Boston area and a model for similar programs nationally.

CRI has enjoyed a strong partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation since we were founded.  

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country. Its 450,000 acres is made up of forests, parks, greenways, historic sites and landscapes, seashores, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and watersheds.

The health and happiness of people across Massachusetts depend on the accessibility and quality of our green infrastructure - our natural resources, recreational facilities, and great historic landscapes.  CRI in partnership with the DCR continues to strengthen the vital connection between our community and the environment.