Health and Wellness

Increasing the health and wellness of Greater Boston residents

Healthy boy photo

While Boston is known as a world class community for providing excellence in health care, it is not immune to the nation’s rising tide of preventable chronic diseases and an epidemic of overweight and obesity.  Several reports published by the Boston Foundation and the health institute NEHI have confirmed these challenges and have shaped our civic leadership and grantmaking in this area, which focuses primarily on efforts to promote health and wellness.

Our approach to all of our programming in the area of health and wellness is to encourage healthy behaviors among Boston residents and increase access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity.  We are approaching this through our grantmaking and through the Healthy People/Healthy Economy Coalition, which we launched in partnership with NEHI.  The Coalition’s ambitious goal is to make Massachusetts the national leader in health and wellness.

Desired Outcomes
In this area, the Foundation focuses on reducing the number of Boston children who are either overweight or obese from today’s 44% to 40% in 2015, and to measure over time a number of important benchmarks, such as greater availability of fresh foods and increased physical activity for children.  We also seek to create a permanent funding stream for public health initiatives through the state’s Prevention and Wellness Trust by removing the sales tax exemption for sugar-sweetened beverages.

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Latest News

Boston Foundation announces $150,000 grant to Boston Public Schools
Date: December 17, 2015
The Boston Foundation announced its quarterly discretionary grants after a meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors on Thursday. The Board approved $2,382,500 in single and multi-year discretionary grants to be paid out beginning in December 2015. Of the 24 grantees for the quarter, three are receiving multi-year funding support.
Boston Foundation announces $160,000 in planning grants for Health Starts at Home initiative
Date: June 08, 2015
The Boston Foundation has announced planning grants of $40,000 each to four health and housing coalitions that seek to improve children’s health and housing stability, while decreasing costs associated with homelessness, rehousing, and healthcare.


The Civic Leadership Fund Female student portrait photo The Civic Leadership Fund supports the Foundation’s role as a civic hub where information, knowledge, resources and influence come together for the greater good of our region.  This crucial fund helps us tackle some of our region’s most serious challenges through a wide range of activities.

The Permanent Fund for Boston Longley-Elisio-photo

At the heart of everything the Boston Foundation has done over the last century—every grant it has made, every innovation it has supported, every cause it has championed—is its endowment, the Permanent Fund for Boston.  Established through bequests left by hundreds of visionary and forward-thinking Bostonians since 1917, this essential fund fuels all of the Foundation’s work and provides the resources that have sparked positive change and enabled new ideas.