Increasing Philanthropic Resources

Two generations photo


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.  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 Board of Directors bids farewell to longtime Chair and appoints new Chair and Vice Chair
Date: June 16, 2016
The Boston Foundation’s Board of Directors announced Thursday that Sandra Edgerley will be its new Chair, effective June 30, when the current Chair Michael Keating retires from the Board.  The Board also announced that Linda Mason will be the new Vice Chair.
Match High School wins annual innovative school performance prize
Date: May 18, 2016
Match High School, part of the Match Charter Public School, a Pre-K-12 school with campuses in Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park and Brighton, was named the 2016 winner of The Pozen Prize for Innovative Schools, Tuesday afternoon.

Co-investment Opportunities

Giving Common Mom photo

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

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.

The Civic Leadership Fund Golden Dome photo 2016 Over the last 15 years, the Boston Foundation has become a major civic leader for Greater Boston and our region—with crucial support from the Civic Leadership Fund. The Foundation and its many partners in the business and nonprofit communities—as well as numerous public officials—have had a real impact on a series of issues that are critical to the economic competitiveness and civic health of Greater Boston.