The Boston Foundation believes that the children and families of Greater Boston deserve to live in neighborhoods that are safe, clean and free of violence. As such, it works with its partners in the nonprofit and public sectors to develop positive activities for the city’s young people and strengthen neighborhood-based organizing designed to create safe and vibrant communities.
In close cooperation with the Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice (CJI), the Boston Foundation’s Understanding Boston series has published several reports that helped shape landmark legislation passed in 2010, which reformed the state’s criminal offender record information (CORI) system. The bill reduced the timelines for criminal convictions to remain on CORI checks and called for a “ban the box” provision, requiring the removal of criminal history questions from employment applications in most circumstances. After research from Harvard’s Kennedy School showed that the vast majority of violence occurs in the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of Boston--including Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury and parts of the South End--the Foundation created StreetSafe Boston. This internationally recognized special initiative focuses on reducing the rate of violent crime, especially among youth, in the geographical area identified by the study.