Collaborate Boston

Supporting collaborative efforts to build strong communities

Collaborate Boston is an incentive-driven competition that elevates and supports the collaborative efforts that the Boston Foundation believes are critical to the growth of thriving people and vibrant places in our community.

Collaborate Boston

Launched in 2013, the program poses a new question or challenge with each competition cycle and awards $100,000 in grants and technical assistance to the most promising collaborations focused on achieving positive outcomes on that specific challenge. (Past challenges and winners are listed below.) "Community foundations have a unique opportunity to bring together groups large and small to solve local and regional problems," said Boston Foundation CEO Paul S. Grogan at the program's outset. "We hope that Collaborate Boston will expand those cooperative efforts to new individuals, organizations and others with innovative ideas to achieve collective impact on the issues that matter most to them."

Collaborate Boston

word cloud of issues and values terms


Do you think we can learn from
past movements to impact your
community today?

Do you want to build collaborations across age groups to tackle long-standing issues?

Collaborate Boston wants to help you, with technical assistance and grants up to $20,000.

Accepting applications November 12 – December 17. 

Collaborate Boston 2017 Challenge

The Goal

The question for Collaborate Boston 2017 was created by an intergenerational group of grassroots leaders inspired by the Ghanaian principle of Sankofa,a Twi word that means "go back and get it." The goal of Collaborate Boston 2017 is to encourage leaders of all ages to come together, learn from past movements and help vision the future.

How We Define Intergenerational

We hope that Collaborate Boston 2017 will gather ideas from a wide age range of people. We encourage collaborations that include people from across the generations: Baby Boomers (born mid-'40s to '60s), Generation X (born mid-'60s to '80s), Millennials (born mid-'80s to early 2000s) and Generation Z (aka Post-Millennials or iGeneration, born mid-'90s to 2000s).

How We Define Movement

Collaborate Boston identifies movements as groups working collectively to identify a problem rooted in systems of oppression and working toward dismantling that problem. Movements of all kinds can look differently depending on time, context and location. Often, movements are more than a moment, and they include organizing, building, lifting one another, accountability implementation of new ideas, course change, impact and more.

How We Define Collaboration

For the purposes of the Collaborate Boston 2017 competition, collaboration is defined as two or more groups working together on a shared project/idea. Collaborations can include organizations from many sectors, or all from the same sector, as well as individuals.

Nonprofit Affiliation Requirements

Nonprofit status is not required to submit an idea during round one of Collaborate Boston 2017. However, if your idea is moved forward to the second round—requiring a full proposal—and you do not have a nonprofit partner, you will need to find a nonprofit fiscal sponsor who can accept the grant on your behalf.


Collaborate Boston will accept ideas from collaborations focused on impacting any community within the Boston Foundation's geographic focus area, which extends beyond the borders of Boston proper.

What Success Looks Like

Collaborate Boston 2017 will be a success if:

  • Organizations, groups or individuals who not part of the same generation create new and/or deeper partnerships to learn from one another.
  • We work collectively to tackle long-standing problems facing our communities. (Examples of such problems include but are not limited to racial justice, disability rights, immigration, LGBTQ rights, etc.)
  • Deeper understandings around identified movements are created with the goal of shaping the future of Boston and elevating our collective efforts.

Collaborate Boston 2017 Prize

Five collaborations will be awarded a $20,000 one-year grant and additional technical assistance to implement their idea.


If you still have questions, please email Collaborate Boston or call Natanja Craig at 617-338-2678.

Group photo: 19 people, collaborate boston winners
2016 Collaborate Boston cohort at the Boston Foundation annual meeting

Past Collaborate Boston Winners


Focus: Uplift youth voices to strengthen racial, ethnic and community connections around Greater Boston.

  • Beat 58 Personal Training Studio
  • Immigrant Youth Leadership Initiative
  • Nomadic Civic Sculpture
  • Youth Police Unity Project

See the 2016 press release for details. 

Collaborate Boston was on hiatus in 2015.


Focus: Resident-led collaborations to strengthen the Fairmount Corridor neighborhoods of Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan or Roxbury.

  • Breakfast IV Brothers
  • Fairmount Arts Collaborative
  • Fields Corner Shines
  • Seeds of Change Bulk Food Buy-In Market

See the 2014 press release for details.


Focus: Improving the lives and futures of black and brown young men (ages 9–14) living in Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury.

  • Black and Latino Boys at the STEM of Success
  • Codman Square Brotherhood Project
See the 2013 press release for details.