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The power of collaboration and Collaborate Boston

Here’s what I see all across this great city - people working together to make Boston a better place to live and to raise children, to grow and pursue dreams.”

-Mayor Thomas M. Menino, 2005 State of the City Address

Look up community in the dictionary, and you’ll find two general definitions – one based on place, the other based on something less tangible, a shared interest.

As a community foundation, we were founded with the first definition in mind – as a foundation to serve the community of Boston. But it’s the shared mission and goals that often drive our work. No place is that more critical than along the Fairmount Corridor, where the expansion of rail service creates an opportunity to create opportunity, in terms of jobs, housing and community development, for thousands of Boston residents.

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Boston EdTalks: Amplifying Teacher Voice

Boston Public Schools are closed this week, but we know that for thousands of teachers the break is one being spent catching up, grading, planning, and we hope making plans to share their innovative ideas.

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Donor Advised Funds and local philanthropy

In the foundation world, community foundations are a bit different. Unlike the national foundations – recognizable names like Rockefeller, Case, Gates and Knight – we have a more local focus. Unlike private foundations, which are typically funded by a single entity, community foundations are designed to both reflect and affect their communities – more and more often through the generosity of donors who have set up donor advised funds.

But while a lot has been written about donor advised funds – and the differences between these funds at community foundations versus corporate entities like Fidelity and Schwab – the discussion often gets caught up in issues of taxation, fees and logistics, all of which are important but don’t get to the ultimate question – where does the money go?

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Will third time be the charm for sensible soda tax reform?

Here we go again.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has once again put a long-overdue removal of the state sales tax exemption on candy and soda in his Fiscal Year 2015 budget. It’s the third straight year that he has put the provision in his budget – but will the third time be the charm?

We hope so.

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Donor Advised Funds: Adding community to community foundations

When you work at a community foundation, there are two things you can always guarantee in December. Finance and fund administration gets busy with year-end giving, and communications gets busy with reporters calling to ask about year-end giving.

We don't mind either problem. Last year, a busy December led to a record year for donations to our Donor Advised Funds, which means likely another record year for donations to the community in 2013-14. And the year-end giving stories are appearing as well. One of them, titled "Where Charity Goes to Wait", focused on the donor advised funds being operated by large, otherwise for profit investment firms like Fidelity and Schwab, and ran in the Boston Globe Ideas section right after Thansgiving. It posited that billions of dollars invested in donor advised funds each year were sitting on the sidelines when they would have otherwise gone to nonprofits. 

It's not an argument with which we concur, but it did raise interesting points about donor advised funds, and the difference between those funds at a foundation like TBF and elsewhere.

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About the Blog
As Greater Boston’s community foundation, the Boston Foundation is focused on the myriad factors which make our city unique and successful.  Read about what we’re up to in Paul S. Grogan’s blog, City of Ideas.
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