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Boston Foundation announces nearly $30 million in quarterly grant activity

Date: March 28, 2013

Education, Success Boston college completion efforts highlight the discretionary grant docket for quarter

Boston – The Boston Foundation announced its quarterly discretionary grants after a meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors today. The Board approved $2,010,500 in single and multi-year discretionary grants to be paid out beginning in April 2013. Of the grants, $850,000 support partners in the Success Boston initiative, which strives to get students ready, into and through college. Of the 18 grantees for the quarter, four are receiving multi-year grant support.

In addition, the Board acknowledged nearly $25.6 million in grant payments disbursed since the December meeting of the Board through the Foundation’s Donor Advised Funds, and nearly $1.9 million in other grants released through various Boston Foundation-sponsored initiatives, for a total of $29.5 million in investments for the quarter.

“We are excited to continue our work in key areas with this round of grants,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, “But we want to especially note the great work being done by all the partners in the Success Boston initiative, including the grantees, the city of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, UMass-Boston and our other college partners. As the recent report by Andy Sum of Northeastern University shows, Success Boston is moving the needle when it comes to keeping students in higher education, and is worthy of this continued investment.”

A focus on education

Through the Success Boston initiative, the Boston Foundation is making $850,000 in one-year grants to six organizations, all of which are focused on helping students and their families plan, prepare for, and complete programs in higher education. The Success Boston Initiative is a partnership of the Boston Foundation, the city of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, UMass Boston and dozens of higher education institutions with a goal of doubling the higher education completion rate for Boston Public Schools students to 70% for the BPS Class of 2012. This marks the fifth year of Boston Foundation support for Success Boston, which was announced in November 2008 by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

The six organizations, American Student Assistance ($100,000), Boston Private Industry Council ($150,000), Bottom Line, Inc. ($150,000), Freedom House, Inc. ($100,000), Hyde Square Task Force ($150,000), and uAspire ($200,000), work with subsets of the Success Boston students to provide academic, social, financial aid and other needed support. A report released earlier this year by the Boston Foundation found that Success Boston students were 20-25 percentage points more likely to persist through the first two years of higher education than their BPS counterparts, with the biggest gains among Black and Latino students.

In other education-related grants, the Foundation is giving a $184,000, one-year grant to the Boston Plan for Excellence to support their work preparing and support a talented, diverse pool of teachers for the Boston Public Schools.

And in higher education, the Foundation is providing a $94,000, one-year grant to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for The Massachusetts Vision Project, a strategy for bringing transparency, accountability and reinvestment into the state’s higher education system. This is the second year that the Foundation has supported the Vision Project, which measures key outcomes in which Massachusetts needs to be a leader among state systems of higher education.

Family Independence Initiative

The Foundation is pleased to continue its support for the Family Independence Initiative, whose founder, Mauricio Lim Miller, was honored with a MacArthur Genius Award in 2012. FII is a national center for innovating new strength based approaches for economic and social mobility that put people in the driver’s seat of their own change – the $225,000, three-year grant will support expansion of FII’s Boston site and its policy agenda.

Building strategic efforts to stop violence

The Foundation is pleased to provide a $150,000, three-year grant to Root Cause Institute to support the State Street Foundation-initiated Youth Violence Prevention Funder Learning Collaborative, which serves a critical role by highlighting what businesses and funders can do to reduce youth violence and enables more strategic alignment of funder efforts to reduce youth violence.

Building healthy communities

Two grants target efforts to encourage healthy behaviors among Greater Boston residents.
A $35,000, one-year grant to the Massachusetts Public Health Association will support efforts to increase physical activity and physical education in schools, expand the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund and invest more strongly in healthy community design.

A $75,000, three-year grant to the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition will support its work to increase access to healthy and affordable food and promote active lifestyles among Mattapan residents – reducing the level of obese and overweight residents in this Boston neighborhood.

Supporting and empowering youth

The Foundation is also pleased to support More than Words, an organization that empowers youth who are in foster care, court-involved, homeless or out-of-school to take charge of their lives, giving them training and support while involving them in the operation of a bookstore and café. The $60,000, one-year grant will allow for the expansion of More than Words’ Boston site.

And the Foundation continues its investment in summer programs, with a $50,000, on-year grant to Associated Grant Makers in support of the 2013 Summer Fund, which is a funder collaborative promoting access to quality summer programming for Boston youth. The Summer Fund is just one of many funding commitments the Foundation makes each summer to give Boston youth and families safe, supportive and constructive activities.

A full list of discretionary grant approved by the Board of Directors follows (listed by strategy):

Strategy: Accelerate structural reform and promote innovation in public schools in Boston.

Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools Foundation: A $184,000/1-year grant to the Boston Plan for Excellence for its work to prepare and support talented, diverse teachers for Boston's schools, and partner to create strong schools where teachers can do their best work and children learn at their highest potential.   

Strategy: Increase the college graduation rate for low-income, minority, and first-generation college students from public schools in Boston.

Massachusetts Dept. of Higher Education: A $96,500/1-year grant, payable to the Donahue Institute at the University of Massachusetts to support the implementation of the Massachusetts Vision Project, a strategy for bringing transparency, accountability and reinvestment to the state's public higher education system, with a focus on producing a Vision Project dashboard to track progress against key indicators, Campus Feedback Reports to provide institution-specific data on performance outcomes, and an assessment of workforce needs and post-graduate employment.

*American Student Assistance: A $100,000/1-year grant for general support of its Success Boston work, which assists aspiring, current and former students and their families in successfully planning, preparing, and completing a program of higher education financing and repayment.  Release of the funds is conditional on the organization meeting data tracking and reporting deadlines.

*Boston Private Industry Council, Inc.: A $150,000/1-year grant for support of its college transition support to graduates of Boston Public Schools.  Release of the funds is conditional on the organization meeting data tracking and reporting deadlines.

*Bottom Line, Inc.: A $150,000/1-year grant for its efforts to support 500 high school seniors from Greater Boston through the college application process and to expand its college success program to support 1,315 students from Greater Boston who are currently in college.  Release of the funds is conditional on the organization meeting data tracking and reporting deadlines. 

*Freedom House, Inc.: A $100,000/1-year grant for general operating support, to aid in the implementation of its capacity building and expansion of PUSH, a college transition support program.  Release of the funds is conditional on the organization meeting data tracking and reporting deadlines.

*Hyde Square Task Force, Inc.: A $150,000/1-year grant for its College and Career Success program and continued participation in the Success Boston Initiative.  Release of the funds is conditional upon the organization meeting data tracking and reporting deadlines.

*uAspire: A $200,000/1-year grant for its financial aid coaching to more than 2,500 BPS high school seniors annually and for its contribution to the Success Boston data systems, including managing the Salesforce database, to track student outcomes for Success Boston. Release of the funds is conditional upon the organization meeting data tracking and reporting guidelines. 

*- Grant allocated as part of the Success Boston Initiative

Strategy: Promote the career advancement and economic security of low-income individuals.

Family Independence Initiative: A $225,000/3-year grant to FII, a national center for innovating and testing approaches to economic and social mobility that strengthen social networks, respond to family initiative, and respect low-income families’ ability to lead their own lives, to support the continued expansion of the Boston site, which will engage 400 additional families in the FII model, as well as formulate a policy agenda.

Strategy: Invest in initiatives that create, retain and attract workers and jobs in high-growth sectors, especially in inner-city neighborhoods.

More than Words, Inc.: A $60,000/1-year grant to More than Words, an organization that empowers youth who are in foster care, court involved, homeless or out of school to take charge of their lives by involvement in the More Than Words bookstore and café businesses, for support of Boston program expansion.  

Strategy: Encourage healthy behaviors among Boston residents and increase access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity.

Massachusetts Public Health Association: A $35,000/1-year grant to this statewide membership organization that advances public health priorities through advocacy, prevention work, and coalition building, to support its efforts to address such issues as increased physical activity and education in schools; implementation and expansion of the Prevention and Wellness Trust; and healthy community design.

Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition: A $75,000/3-year grant for its work to increase access to healthy and affordable food and promote active lifestyles among Mattapan residents.  The grant is to be paid in three equal annual installments.

Strategy: Reduce the incidence of violence in Boston neighborhoods, especially among youth.

Root Cause Institute, Inc.: A $150,000/3-year grant for support of the State Street Foundation-initiated Youth Violence Prevention Funder Learning Collaborative, which highlights what businesses and funders can do to reduce youth violence, connect the dots to enable strategic alignment of funding and do their part as funders to reduce youth violence.

Strategy: Increase neighborhood stability and the production and preservation of affordable housing for vulnerable populations.

Coalition for Occupied Homes in Foreclosure: A $75,000/1-year grant for this coalition of 25 tenant, community, nonprofit, legal, and government groups and organizations promoting household and community stability by focusing on keeping homeowners and tenants in their homes during and after the foreclosure process, to complete the second year of its community stabilization pilot in the Four Corners neighborhood of Dorchester including the purchase or rehabilitation of up to 30 housing units and the identification of alternative finance methods that promote new models of homeownership. 

Strategy: Strengthen and celebrate the region’s diverse audiences, artists and nonprofit cultural organizations.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Inc.: A $60,000/3-year grant to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a Boston cultural icon that actively seeks to fire the imagination of all who participate through engagement with historic art, contemporary art, music, and the landscape, to expand their earned revenue strategies while increasing their paid participation from communities of color and deepening their education based partnerships.  

Cross-Strategy and Special Opportunity Grants

Associated Grant Makers: A $50,000/1-year grant to support the 2013 Summer Fund, a funder collaborative promoting access to quality summer programming for Greater Boston youth.

Boston’s Higher Ground: A $50,000/1-year grant for this emerging place-based initiative developed by Hubie Jones to better coordinate social services and educational resources for families in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, with a primary focus on the Warren Gardens Housing Development in Roxbury. 

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, Inc.: A $100,000/1-year grant to provide general operating support for its efforts to unite and strengthen the nonprofit sector in the Commonwealth through advocacy, public awareness and capacity building services. 

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The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of more than $800 million.  In 2012, the Foundation and its donors made $88 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of close to $60 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with some 900 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. 

The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener and sponsor of special initiatives that address the region’s most pressing challenges.  The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements custom philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. Through its consulting and field-advancing efforts, TPI has influenced billions of dollars in giving worldwide.  For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit www.tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.

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