Increasing Philanthropic Resources

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As Greater Boston’s community foundation, the Boston Foundation is dedicated to building and increasing philanthropic resources for our city and our region.  Since our founding in 1915, the Foundation and our many donors have made more than $1 billion in grants to nonprofit organizations, including close to $78 million in 2011 alone.  The Foundation holds some 900 separate funds established by individuals, families or businesses either for current giving or as a legacy for the future.  The Foundation also raises funds for our civic leadership work and for a series of special initiatives focused on some of our community’s most critical challenges. 


The Boston Foundation works closely with donors who establish Donor Advised Funds to enhance their giving in informed and effective ways.  Another way we support donors is through the services of The Philanthropic Initiative, which provides customized philanthropic consulting to individuals, families, foundations and companies looking to increase the impact of their giving.

We also conduct an annual campaign for the Civic Leadership Fund, which supports all of the Foundation’s research, convenings and public policy work in Greater Boston—and we raise funds to support a series of Special Initiatives, such as those in the areas of college completion and community safety. 

And in the fall of 2011, we launched a special initiative to build the Permanent Fund for Boston, the large, flexible endowment, which supports all of the Foundation’s grantmaking in Greater Boston and is primarily funded through planned and legacy gifts.  And we are proud to host the Giving Common, an innovative, web-based resource for giving in Massachusetts that provides current information about nonprofits and invites easy and quick giving online.

Desired Outcomes

Through Donor Advised Funds, the Boston Foundation assists individuals, families and corporations to enhance the impact of their giving in the areas they care most about.  We also raise close to $1.5 million annually to support the Civic Leadership Fund, which helps the Foundation inform and ameliorate the underlying forces that affect poverty and inequity in our community.  We also seek outside funds to support our special initiatives, such as Success Boston, CHAMPS Boston and StreetSafe Boston.  And, as a way of building our region’s long-term charitable capital and momentum to our 100th anniversary in 2015, the Foundation is conducting a special effort to raise more than $100 million in planned gifts by 2015 for our Permanent Fund for Boston, which supports all of our grantmaking in Greater Boston.  Finally, the Foundation is strengthening personal philanthropy throughout Massachusetts with an online giving resource, called the Giving Common, with the goal of increasing philanthropy in the Commonwealth.

Also See...

Latest News

Boston Foundation announces $2.2 million in grants to Greater Boston organizations
Date: March 28, 2014

The Boston Foundation Board approved $1,309,000 in single and multi-year discretionary grants to be paid out beginning in April 2014. 

Massachusetts Launches Landmark Initiative to Reduce Recidivism Among At-Risk Youth
Date: February 04, 2014
Governor Deval Patrick today announced the launch of the nation’s largest financial investment in a Pay for Success (PFS) initiative, which is designed to improve outcomes for hundreds of at-risk young men in the probation system or leaving the juvenile justice system.

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The Giving Common

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.

Visit the Giving Common.


The Permanent Fund for Boston Longley-Elisio-photo The Boston Foundation partners with our donors and a wide range of other philanthropists to establish legacy gifts for the future betterment of Greater Boston.  Together, these gifts contribute to the strength of the Permanent Fund for Boston. These resources allow the Foundation to deepen our capacity to practice innovative philanthropy today and in the years to come.

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.