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 our economic competitiveness and civic health.

Fifteen Years of Impact

Promoting Healthy People in a Healthy Economy


Our Civic Leadership Formula

Cutting Edge Research
Major Forums and Convenings
Strategic, Proactive Grant Making
Task Forces and Coalitions
Communications and Media
Deep Public Policy Work
Advancing Legislative Solutions

In 2007, the Foundation and NEHI published a groundbreaking report called The Boston Paradox: Lots of Health Care, Not Enough Health, alerting the region to the fact that Boston, even with its unparalleled health care sector, was very susceptible to the crisis in preventable chronic disease. The Foundation and NEHI co-founded the Healthy People/Healthy Economy Initiative, which has published five annual Report Cards and is working to make Massachusetts the national leader in health and wellness.

Leveraging the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund

The Campaign for Cultural Facilities, co-convened by the Foundation, led to the creation of the state’s Cultural Facilities Fund. Since 2006, the Fund has made $82.4 million in grants to nearly 600 projects in 118 cities and towns, leveraging more than $1.5 billion in support and providing work for tens of thousands of people.

Advancing Criminal Justice Reforms

In 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that featured recommendations made in Boston Foundation reports, including funds for CORI training for employers.  The Foundation and the Criminal Justice Institute also staffed a blue ribbon task force on CORI employer guidelines and published reports on the Massachusetts Probation Department that revealed lack of oversight and skyrocketing budgets. The reports led to Spotlight Team coverage in the Boston Globe and sweeping probation reform within the system.

Groundbreaking K-12 Education Reform

The Race to the Top Coalition, convened by the Foundation, played a central role in passage of 2010 education reform in Massachusetts, giving turnaround powers to district schools, lifting the cap on charter schools and attracting $250 million in federal dollars, impacting close to 700,000 students across the Commonwealth. It continues to seek further charter school expansion and district reform.

Spearheading Community College Reform

The Foundation-convened Coalition FOR Community Colleges, made up of business and community leaders, played a key role in passing new performance-based funding for community colleges in 2013, leveraging $20 million in state funds, as well as bringing about important governance reforms.

Saving Hundreds of Millions through Health Care Legislation

In 2011, the Foundation played a critical role in passing pioneering municipal health care legislation by publishing research on the soaring costs of health plans and helping form a coalition to urge the bill’s passage. The legislation has saved more than $247 million in 257 communities, saving jobs and services.

Building Success in Smart Growth Housing

In 2002, the Boston Foundation convened the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, which led directly to the passage of Smart Growth Housing legislation—Chapters 40R and 40S. To date, the legislation has resulted in 12,350 zoned units in 32 smart-growth districts, with 3,037 units already constructed.

Call 617-338-1700 for more on the Civic Leadership Fund.

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