There at the Beginning: Boston Harbor Cleanup

$40,000 starts a remarkable process



Public investment in Boston Harbor cleanup, 1987-2004

In 1983, the Boston Foundation’s director, Geno Ballotti, became actively involved in the efforts to clean up Boston Harbor. The Foundation made grants totaling $40,000 to the Conservation Law Foundation, which filed suits against state and federal agencies to force a cleanup.

“The litigation was very expensive,” said former CLF Director Douglas Foy. “It was also extremely controversial. Nevertheless, the Boston Foundation funded our work from the start. And it lent us its considerable support as a prestigious Boston institution.” The lawsuit sparked $21 billion in public investments between 1987 and 2004.

Today, Boston has one of the cleanest urban harbors in the world. The Boston Foundation has been There at the Beginning with critical early funding for more than 100 great ideas and new nonprofits.