Services and Solutions for Nonprofits

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In addition to the Boston Foundation’s competitive grant making, the Nonprofit Effectiveness Group at the Boston Foundation supports Massachusetts nonprofit organizations through a range of work focused on enhancing the long-term vitality of the Massachusetts nonprofit sector.  Through this work, we focus on: 

  • Facilitating a deeper understanding of nonprofits throughout Massachusetts and encouraging strategic philanthropy
  • Helping to build the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and leaders
  • Promoting and supporting strategic collaboration within the nonprofit sector and with public and private partners

View this Prezi presentation to learn more about our approach.

Here are some of the ways we support this important sector:

Facilitating a Deeper Understanding of Massachusetts Nonprofits
The Giving Common, which was launched in May of 2012, is an online, in-depth database of profiles through which your organization can tell its story, in your own words, to funders and donors.  We encourage you to participate in this innovative initiative that facilitates a deeper understanding of nonprofits and encourages strategic philanthropic giving.

Through the site donors can easily access information about  nonprofits that are working in the issue areas and geographic locations they care about most—and have the opportunity to donate online through a credit card—or through their Donor Advised Fund at the Boston Foundation.

Building the Effectiveness of Nonprofits
Investing in the capacity of your organization and its leaders to deliver on your mission is a major focus of our work.

The Boston Foundation also supports capacity building projects for grantee organizations who want to increase their organizational impact and effectiveness.  For more information on grantee capacity building opportunities, please contact your Program Officer.

The Nonprofit Effectiveness Group is conducting a series of lunches and workshops designed to strengthen nonprofit organizations and to be responsive to their needs.  These include educational offerings as well as less formal opportunities to network with nonprofit colleagues and connect with Foundation staff.

The Vision Fund at the Boston Foundation supports Greater Boston’s nonprofit organizations with grants of up to $7,500 to develop your leadership and build your capacity for organizational impact.

As a founding funder of the Institute for Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Boston University, the Boston Foundation is also helping to educate, support and connect the next generation of nonprofit leaders.  In addition to the Institute’s cornerstone Certificate Program, it conducts research and supports a burgeoning network of practitioners through fellowships teaching and mentoring opportuntieis. 

Serving as a Catalyst for Collaboration
The Nonprofit Effectiveness Group at the Boston Foundation works to promote and support strategic collaboration within the nonprofit sector and with public and private partners.

In 2010, the Boston Foundation joined with other local funders and the Nonprofit Finance Fund to launch the Catalyst Fund for Nonprofits, which supports deep, strategic collaborations and mergers between and among nonprofits.  The Fund is a source of financial and technical advisory support for promising, voluntary collaborative ventures and mergers.
Strengthening the Sector
We’re also focused on increasing the transparency and visibility of the overall Massachusetts nonprofit sector thorough research such as our Passion & Purpose reports on the fiscal health of the sector, advocacy through our founding support of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, and by making data available to promote and inform strategic philanthropy via the Giving Common and the Boston Indicators Project.  The Boston Foundation also regularly provides event sponsorships, and nonprofit organizations are welcome to use our conference rooms to host meetings and events.  Please find additional information on these resources below:

Because we believe that it is critical for the  nonprofit sector to have a strong, independent voice, the Foundation is also a founding funder of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, a membership organization that works to strengthen the nonprofit sector in the Commonwealth through advocacy, public awareness and capacity building services.

Research and Information
The Boston Foundation has published the two most comprehensive studies ever conducted of the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts.  The first, titled Passion and Purpose and released in 2008, identified the sector’s expansive range of organizations and roles, while issuing a ‘”call to action” to address the weaknesses in the sector.  In June of 2012, Passion and Purpose Revisited looked at the impact of the financial roller coaster on nonprofits since the recent economic downturn.

And, for more than 10 years, the Boston Indicators Project has been a primary data resource for the Greater Boston community, providing a rich online portal of data, research and provocative biennial reports that chronicle not only Boston’s accomplishments but the full array of critical challenges facing the city and the region.  We encourage you to visit the Indictors website and take advantage of its remarkable research tools.

Contact information for the Nonprofit Effectiveness Group at the Boston Foundation:

Jennifer Aronson, Senior Director
Katherine Westlund Scott, Manager, Nonprofit Effectiveness (The Giving Common)
Lauren Baker, Office Manager (Conference Space)
Rosemarie Corcoran, Communications Coordinator (Sponsorships)