Seizing the Opportunity


By Soni Gupta, Associate Vice President, Neighborhoods and Housing

Moments to convert Greater Boston’s critical stock of housing for long-term affordability don’t come along every day. That realization inspired the Boston Foundation to create and seed a new fund in 2021 – the Carpe Diem Fund.

Just over a year later, the Fund has made its first significant investment. The Fund partnered with the City of Boston, the East Boston Community Development Corporation and a number of nonprofits, lenders, funders and philanthropic organizations to convert a portfolio of 114 rental units in East Boston to the state’s first-ever Mixed Income Neighborhood Trust (MINT) – the East Boston Neighborhood Trust (EBNT). EBNT places governance and control of the portfolio in the hands of a local purpose trust, while financial investors hold the economic interest in the portfolio. Residents and community members sit on EBNT’s governance boards – its Trust Stewardship Committee and Operating Board.

TBF’s commitment totaled $600,000 – including a $100,000 grant and a $500,000 Program Related Investment at a 1% interest rate.

The East Boston Neighborhood Trust portfolio includes 36 separate buildings, creating a perpetual affordable local housing stock of triple-deckers that is well-suited for families, with 3, 4, and even 5-bedroom units.

In the press release announcing the project, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu called the East Boston MINT “a great example of what is possible when we use every tool as a City and partner across sectors to make Boston a city for everyone.” The City provided significant funding support to make this acquisition possible.  

In addition to TBF, East Boston Neighborhood Trust was supported by the Boston Impact Initiative, the Hyams Foundation, the Eastern Bank Foundation, City Life/Vida Urbana, and private individuals who combined to provide over $8 million  in private financial support. Additionally, the Barr Foundation provided the East Boston CDC with a grant to support the acquisition. 

If we are to truly meet the need for affordable housing in Greater Boston, we must invest in producing new housing, but we must also seize the opportunity to protect existing units and preserve more of the region’s housing for lower-income residents who wish to continue living in their neighborhoods, particularly in communities of color. If we are to truly move forward on Our New Pathway, we need to create more of these opportunities, and we can’t afford to miss a moment. Carpe diem – seize the day.

Donors: To learn more about the Carpe Diem Fund and your options to support its work, contact your relationship manager.