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.

Also See...

Latest News

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.
Health and Wellness report card finds slow progress in Massachusetts
Date: June 24, 2014

Massachusetts is continuing its slow progress on a number of public health-related areas, but still has work to do, particularly when it comes to sugar-sweetened beverages, according to the 4th Annual Healthy People/Healthy Economy Report Card, which was released Tuesday morning at an Understanding Boston forum at the Boston Foundation.  The annual report card examines progress in 12 issue areas that can be linked to improvements in public health. 


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.