The Civic Leadership Fund

Gov Patrick at Life Sciences

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.  It allows the Foundation to: produce and disseminate in-depth reports from area colleges and think tanks; highlight trends and issues that are having a profound impact on all aspects of our community; and promote informed public discourse through a series of forums that attract thousands every year.  The Fund also helps us to take action on these issues by convening task forces of community leaders from the private and public sector to identify new and effective solutions and, ultimately, influence public policy. 

The Civic Leadership Fund also gives the Boston Foundation the capacity to have a positive influence on the underlying forces that influence poverty and inequity in our community.  Education reform—from cradle to career—will always be one of the areas of focus for the Foundation’s civic leadership activities as well as programs that promote health and wellness and strengthen our arts and cultural programming in Boston’s diverse neighborhoods.

Recently this fund was instrumental in supporting efforts that led to a tripling of the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, which means that these important arts and cultural institutions will receive $15 million over the next year.  The Cultural Facilities Fund, which was launched with the help of the Boston Foundation, already has pumped close to $55 million in funding to strengthen 269 arts, history and science facilities in 99 cities and towns.  These investments have paved the way for more than 1,400 new jobs and leveraged more than $1.5 billion in support.  The Boston Foundation and MassCreative successfully urged the Governor to increase this year’s infusion of funds.

In addition, the Coalition FOR Community Colleges, convened by the Boston Foundation and made up of a broad range of business and community leaders, played a central role in passing reforms that were in response to a critical report published by the Foundation in 2011.  Because of the Coalition’s work, Massachusetts has a new, performance-based approach to funding these important higher education institutions and making sure they are aligned to the workforce needs of the Commonwealth, and they have received an additional $20 million in state support.

By convening the Race to the Top Coalition, the Foundation played a key role in passing groundbreaking 2010 education reform legislation that brought $250 million in federal funds to Massachusetts.  The reforms have had considerable success in giving turnaround powers to district schools and opening more highly successful charter schools.  That is why the fight continues to expand these innovations to give low-income students of color a fair chance at a high-quality education, with the Coalition’s efforts to pass An Act to Further Close the Achievement Gap, which would lift the cap on highly successful charter schools.

In addition, the Healthy People Healthy Economy Coalition, led by the Foundation and NEHI, addresses rising rates of preventable chronic disease whose costs crowd out the ability to invest in the very things that improve our health.  While there have been some successes, policy areas that are crucial to our efforts to make Massachusetts the nation’s leader in health and wellness are still getting failing grades.  One focus is our fight to have Massachusetts join the 35 states with no tax exemptions for sugar-sweetened sodas, which are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.  A bill is in front of the state legislature now.

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

Make a contribution to the Civic Leadership Fund through your Donor Advised Fund.

Contribute to the Civic Leadership Fund.