Jobs and Economic Development

Increase the livability, affordability and safety of Greater Boston neighborhoods

Jobs The Jobs & Economic Development impact area focuses on the creation of and training for good, quality jobs while also focusing on providing a myriad of pathways for individuals to secure economic stability and opportunity. We work toward these objectives through three strategies designed to increase upward economic mobility:

Workforce Development

Expand our efforts in hospitality and early child care, vocational training and credentialing.  We also work with the nationally renowned workforce development initiative SkillWorks to connect potential employees with employers that offer good, quality jobs with career tracks.

Grantee Highlight

SkillWorks is a $25 million public/private partnership between the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, local and national philanthropic and corporate entities designed to meet worker and business needs while developing pathways out of poverty in the face of overwhelming evidence that: 1) our economy is shedding unskilled jobs and growing middle-to high-skill jobs; and 2) a large percentage of our workforce is unprepared for the available jobs in our economy.  SkillWorks invests in employer-driven, sector-based training and placement strategies to help low-skill, low- and moderate-income residents move to family-sustaining jobs; and help employers find and retain skilled employees.


Foster an environment of support for inner city entrepreneurs, with a specific focus on women and under-represented minorities, which we believe will lead to economic resilience and the building of generational wealth.

Grantee Highlight

Center for Women & Enterprises (CWE) developed the Community Classrooms entrepreneurship program to get beyond barriers by bringing training and resources directly to convenient locations in underserved neighborhoods, thereby establishing a support system to help people seeking a way out of poverty. Financial literacy and practical business skills provide the foundation for self-sufficiency and financial independence. CWE's goal is for the Community Classrooms program to encourage the growth of local businesses; increase the number of those businesses owned by people of color, women and immigrants; and increase beneficial outcomes for local businesses and communities that have been historically shortchanged.


Increase the participation rate of women and under-represented minorities in the innovation economy.  To achieve this, we will invest more in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.  We also work closely with the Health & Wellness impact area to build out our food systems work.

Grantee Highlight

Since 2009, CommonWealth Kitchen has operated Boston's only non-profit food business incubator and shared-use kitchen. Their mission is to promote entrepreneurship and small business development; create jobs with few barriers to entry; improve access to healthy food for low-income families; and strengthen Boston’s regional food economy. CommonWealth Kitchen operates commercial kitchens in Jamaica Plain and Dorchester, providing hourly rental to 40+ entrepreneurs each month making products like hot sauce, jam, salsa, bagels, cookies, ice cream, fresh juice and other specialty foods, plus multiple food trucks and caterers. Approximately 65% of their businesses are owned by women and/or people of color. Combined, they employ 100+ staff, of whom 70% are women and/or people of color.

Learn how to apply for the different types of available funding.

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Latest News

Boston Foundation announces $1.02 million in quarterly grants to Greater Boston organizations
Date: December 06, 2016
The Boston Foundation announced its quarterly discretionary grants after a meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors on Tuesday. The Board approved $1.02 million in single and multi-year discretionary grants to be paid out beginning in December 2016.
Venture capitalist announces major commitment to Boston Foundation grantees at local launch of national business-philanthropy movement Pledge 1%
Date: September 30, 2016
Jeff Fagnan, founder of Accomplice, a venture capital firm with more than $400 million raised to date, announced Wednesday evening that his company would begin committing one percent of its equity to support Boston Foundation grantees.  The announcement came at the launch event for Pledge 1% Boston, a new regional chapter of Pledge 1%, a national corporate philanthropy movement dedicated to making new stakeholders in support of local communities.


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.


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.