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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    The Boston Foundation is holding a grant competition, Health Starts at Home, to bring housing and health organizations together to address the negative impact that a lack of stable, affordable housing has on children’s health outcomes.  Winners of the competition will receive nine month planning grants from the Boston Foundation to formulate and hone their partnership and proposed program to address health outcomes and housing instability in children.
  • Success Boston

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    The Success Boston College Completion Initiative was launched in 2008 following a study finding that, while the Boston Public Schools had one of the highest college enrollment rates in the country, only 35.5% of the students who enrolled in college earned an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree within seven years.  Success Boston supports academic programming and college advising activities at the high school level, so that students and their families are better positioned to make informed choices.
  • Healthy People/Healthy Economy

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    Healthy People/Healthy Economy is a coalition launched by the Boston Foundation and the national health institute NEHI with the ambitious goal of making Massachusetts the national leader in health and wellness. The Coalition 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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