Donor Education + Events

Our programs and events keep you in touch with community issues and your own approach to philanthropy.

Our donors are always invited to Boston Foundation programs that are open to the public. Chief among these is Understanding Boston, a series of forums, educational events and research presentations that provide information and insight into issues affecting Greater Boston, its neighborhoods and the region. See recent Understanding Reports and forum videos below.

Donor-Only Events

The Boston Foundation hosts events for donors that engage them in programmatic topics (an evening at Commonwealth Shakespeare, for example, or a screening of a film about a prison transition program) and that introduce them to thought leaders in philanthropy: Donors were invited to a “Jeffersonian Dinner” with Dr. Atul Gawande, and to a concert and conversation with Peter Buffett at the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum. We offer a series of philanthropic workshops each year to help donors and their friends learn more about the mechanics of estate and charitable gift planning from experts in the field. Past programs have included: 

  • Responding to Financial Markets: Life Income and Related Plans
  • Charitable Planning with Real Estate Interests
  • Estate and Gift Planning Basics
  • Charitable Contributions of IRA and Qualified Retirement Plan Assets
  • Planning for the Future of Your Donor Advised Fund 
Catapult Paper 2 cover image

Report | Jobs and Economic Development

Scaling Up: Lessons from the Front Lines

In paper 2 of the four-part series, we look at the importance of scale for Next Gen workforce organizations, the challenges of scaling, and issues that the Next Gen workforce organizations and the broader field need to consider as they scale up their efforts.

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Report | Jobs and Economic Development

Next Generation Workforce Development Organizations for Our Times

In the first of the four Catapult Papers, JVS Boston President and CEO Jerry Rubin calls for and describes a new, or “Next Generation,” model for workforce organizations. The essay is based on the innovative and field-proven practices of JVS Boston’s transition to a “Next Gen” workforce organization, which is rooted in decades of field research, experimentation, evaluation, failure and success.

Eileen McAnneny presents at the Grade Incomplete forum

Video | Education

Grade Incomplete: Understanding Boston Forum

In a highly engaging Understanding Boston forum, community college funding took center stage. The Boston Foundation and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation presented an examination of the fate of the Massachusetts' community college performace funding formula, and college presidents and the audience joined in a vibrant discussion of funding, private support and the opportunities and challenges facing the 15-campus system.

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Video | Civic Leadership

Census 2020 Explained

An October 24 forum for the release of the new Boston Indicators report "Census 2020, Explained" highlighted the critical importance of an accurate Census for Massachusetts, and featured an interesting conversation with the regional director for the US Census.

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Video | Civic Leadership

Boston Is Booming... But for Whom?

Boston as a whole is enjoying an era of growth, but the prosperity isn't distributed equally among various ethnic and socioeconomic groups, according to a new Boston Indicators report that was the focus of an October 10 event at the Edgerley Center for Civic Leadership

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Work of Leisure


The Work of Leisure

At this forum, the Boston Foundation released "The Work of Leisure: Behind the Scenes of Massachusetts' Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism Industry" - the first such study in 27 years - which is a detailed report that reveals how ubiquitous this industry really is and how much influence it has. The forum included a presentation of the report and a panel discussion about the implications of its findings.

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