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A Reflection on the First Year of Open Door Grants

As we entered the final quarter of the first year review process for our Open Door Grants program, I find myself reflecting back at what a tremendous experience it’s been. As a Foundation, we’ve had the opportunity to connect with organizations we’ve never worked with before, and reconnect with organizations that we haven’t worked with since establishing our impact areas in 2009. We’ve supported pilot efforts as well as long-standing programs and organizations with decades of success under their belts. And, given the recent shifts in the federal landscape, I am especially proud that we were able to show up for and support organizations that work to protect and support immigrants and other marginalized communities.
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Pledge 1% Boston Member Spotlight: Cuseum

Brendan Ciecko is the founder of Cuseum, and a proud early member of Pledge 1% Boston. Growing up in Massachusetts, he got his entrepreneurial start as a teenager and has always been dedicated to making our region more vibrant and engaging. Brendan built and scaled a successful company in the fast-paced music industry and was named one of America’s top entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine – all before he could legally buy a drink.

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An Unexpected Cultural Exchange

On April 5th, I covered the 21st Annual Immigrants’ Day at the State House, sponsored by MIRA (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy) Coalition, an organization the Boston Foundation supported with seed funding 30 years ago and continues to support. Recently MIRA and other groups received emergency grants from the Foundation because of the tremendous increase in tensions in the immigrant community and other vulnerable communities.

One of the great rewards of working at the Boston Foundation is that we are constantly exposed to the tremendous diversity of our community and the immeasurable ways in which it strengthens Greater Boston. This is apparent through the data we analyze, the people we meet and the stories we tell.

As Michelle Obama said in her final speech as First Lady, “Our glorious diversity—our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds—is not a threat to who we are; it makes us who we are.”

The following is a personal story, but I can’t help but think that my receptiveness to the events depicted here were profoundly influenced by everything I have learned through the many years that I have been privileged to write about the work of the Boston Foundation.

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The Innovation Economy Gives Back

This post is the first of several that will highlight various stakeholders in the region’s innovation economy, with a focus on spotlighting Pledge 1% Boston members and their companies.

We like to imagine leaders of tech start-ups as socially awkward geniuses, huddled around their laptops late into the night trying to “disrupt” the status quo by bringing something new into the world.  The reality is somewhat different.  Rather than operating as independent silos, start-ups are stakeholders in a complex web of relationships that collectively comprise the “innovation economy.”  Behind that buzzword are inventors, financiers, consumers, and supporters of these new ideas, each pursuing their own specialized interests and skills and collectively fostering an environment that creates wealth and prosperity.

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NE500/501Circle: Building collective philanthropy with Giving Common in their toolbox

Today we are talking with Brett J. Barthelmeh, Esq., Partner with Squillace & Associates, P.C, and Jeff Muir, Director with Beacon Equity Advisors, Co-Chairs of the NE500/501Circle, a collaborative philanthropy arm of the New England chapter of the USA 500 Clubs. We are excited to learn more about their giving circle and the impact of their grant making.
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About the Blog
As Greater Boston’s community foundation, the Boston Foundation is focused on the myriad factors which make our city unique and successful.  Read about what we’re up to in the City of Ideas blog.

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