In addition to our competitive grantmaking, the Boston Foundation also supports and raises resources for a series of ambitious special initiatives aimed at solving Greater Boston’s most serious and demanding challenges. These initiatives are developed when the Foundation, often in partnership with government, business and other funders, sets aside resources to address particular issues, frequently over a multi-year period. All of our special initiatives are informed by data and their success is tracked by the Boston Indicators Project.


  • Health Starts at Home

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    Health Starts at Home is an initiative hosted by the Boston Foundation that brings together housing and health-care organizations to support work that focuses on the positive benefits of stable, affordable housing on children’s health outcomes.

  • Success Boston

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    Success Boston is Boston’s citywide college completion initiative. Together, the Boston Foundation, the Boston Public Schools (BPS), the City of Boston, 37 area institutions of higher education led by UMass Boston and local nonprofit partners are working to double the college completion rate for students from the BPS.

  • Healthy People/Healthy Economy

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    Healthy People/Healthy Economy is an initiative launched by the Boston Foundation and NEHI with the ambitious goal of making Massachusetts the national leader in health and wellness. The initiative was formed in response to the stunning findings of reports published by the Foundation and NEHI that showed that an epidemic of obesity and a rising tide of chronic disease are crowding out spending for all important determinants of health, such as education and recreation.
  • The Giving Common

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    The Giving Common is an innovative, web-based technology platform designed to provide comprehensive and current information about nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth—and to make online charitable giving easy and quick.  More than 300 nonprofits were represented on the site at the launch in May 2012, and hundreds more are developing profiles. 
  • SkillWorks

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    SkillWorks is a multiyear initiative, launched by the Boston Foundation in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts.  SkillWorks brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of helping low-income individuals attain family supporting jobs and helping businesses find skilled workers.
  • Boston Opportunity Agenda

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    The Boston Opportunity Agenda is dedicated to ensuring that all of Boston’s residents have the opportunity to acquire the education they need to find work in the region’s knowledge economy and to help them lead secure, fulfilling lives.
  • The Catalyst Fund

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    The Catalyst Fund is organized around the notion that formal nonprofit collaborations are a viable and important strategic option for delivering increased social impact to the Boston area community.  The Fund was developed in response to continued economic challenges and ongoing inquiries made by local nonprofits to funders for assistance with proposed collaborative ventures. 
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