Hate Is Not Charitable

An Affirmation of Boston Foundation Values

December 1, 2021

By Kate Guedj, Senior Vice President & Chief Philanthropy Officer

Over the past two years, one of the “buzzier” topics in philanthropy has been the fallout from a 2019 report that found donor advised funds based at large commercial providers had made tens of millions of dollars in charitable donations to organizations with anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist, anti-LGBTQ and anti-democracy groups at the behest of their clients. The story sparked dozens of other organizations with donor advised funds, like the Boston Foundation, to join together in an explicit rejection of such practices.

Earlier this year, the Boston Foundation joined more than 90 other philanthropies in signing the Hate is Not Charitable Pledge. Conceived and managed by the Amalgamated Foundation, signatories to this pledge have enacted policies and procedures to make sure they do not wittingly or unwittingly make grants to organizations engaging in activities that marginalize people based on their inherent characteristics.

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Watch Map
The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Watch tracks more than 800 hate-based groups across the U.S., including 12 identified groups in Massachusetts.

For the Boston Foundation, which today hosts more than 1,000 funds, including more than 700 DAF’s distributing well over $100 million annually, this pledge has moral and practical implications, both for the Foundation and our donor community. As Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, it has been an honor to work with colleagues, especially those in our Philanthropy Group who run our Donor Advised Fund program, our President and CEO Lee Pelton, our Board of Directors, and a number of outside partners who have advocated for us and with us to stand more publicly against hate and ensure our entire grantmaking portfolio lives up to our organizational mission and values.

We began by looking back at our own DAF grantmaking, and all of our grants in recent years. It came as no real surprise to Foundation staff that the donor community, with whom we have cultivated strong personal relationships over the years, was not in fact part of the problem. We found no grants from the Foundation to organizations listed on lists such as the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Watch. But nonetheless, we felt it was important to institute new procedures to make clear our policies and ensure these types of grants would never happen.

In consultation with my colleagues and TBF’s senior leadership team, we presented TBF’s Board of Directors with a policy that in part reads:

“(The) Foundation prohibits any support of organizations engaged in “hateful activities” defined to mean activities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. These activities are contrary to the Foundation’s mission and its charitable status.”

We are committed to regularly reviewing information from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Change the Terms, Color of Change, GLAAD, and others, to update our procedures. We thank them for their leadership in this work.

As Greater Boston’s Community Foundation, TBF’s community is a “big tent” full of diverse ideas and people of different lived experience. We are glad to honor and uphold our community and ideals in all our grantmaking.