Elderly, Environment, and Education Grants Go To Boston Groups

December 10, 2003

Boston – At the December 11th meeting of the Boston Foundation Board of Directors, the Foundation focused attention on elder services organizations, substantially strengthening the continuum of care, funding innovations, and planning for the future population surge that is coming with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. The Foundation’s support of the urban environment this quarter are centered primarily on Boston’s harbor and waterfront-related issues, while the education grants particularly focus on improving educational outcomes for urban and minority students.

Overall, this quarter the Foundation awarded a total of $3,179,500 in discretionary grants to support the work of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston community. In addition, the Foundation awarded $4,062,092 to nonprofits through Donor Advised Funds held by the Foundation, and $239,011 in designated fund grants to nonprofit organizations in Boston and throughout the country. Combined discretionary, donor advised and designated grants totaled $7,480,603 for the quarter.

“The number of organizations that we support and the range of issues we have an interest in – from health care to housing to education to the environment – is very stimulating, but also daunting. A key consideration with each grant is evaluating its potential impact – on solving problems and developing solutions that might have broad application,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “Working in close partnership with our donors, we have the capacity to help people find the best ideas and the best organizations. Together, we can leverage our limited resources to magnify the impact of the Boston Foundation’s grants across the broad range of issues that affect the region we serve.”

A grant to the Boston Partnership for Older Adults, a coalition of more than 150 organizations, is developing a comprehensive strategic plan with the potential to effect long-lasting changes in the system of care for the elderly in Boston. “This innovative collaboration, which has attracted the attention of a major national foundation and of the City of Boston, can have a significant impact on the care of the most vulnerable of our city’s residents,” said Grogan. “With 20 percent of the city’s elderly living in poverty, a collaboration that brings together the wide range of providers and stakeholders that serve this population is both a timely and an important investment.”

The newest, and perhaps the most innovative elder service agency is Beacon Hill Village, a grassroots membership organization that provides elders living on Beacon Hill, the Back Bay, and the West End with a virtual senior center, sponsoring social and cultural programs, access to fitness facilities, and discounts for a variety of home repair and home care services. This new “aging in place” program model, which also helps many seniors stay in their homes, has garnered much attention and has the potential to be replicated in other neighborhoods and communities. Another pioneering effort, widely regarded as a national model, is Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts’ program focused on early stage Alzheimer patients, which provides education, support and advocacy opportunities.

Access to prescription medications has become one of the most critical health care issues of our time, with a special impact on seniors living on a fixed income. A grant to Massachusetts Senior Action Council, a statewide elder advocacy organization, will support its efforts to promote expanded access to affordable medications. A planning grant to the Gerontology Institute at U.Mass/Boston will fund an effort to formulate an Elder Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard, which will measure the true cost of living for the elderly.

A grant to Nuestra Comunidad will support a new program designed to help senior homeowners fix up unoccupied apartments and find suitable tenants. This is a potential model for other programs, since it provides a way to both augment the seniors’ income and also to bring vacant units back on line, thus alleviating the severe shortage of housing in Boston. Another major grant, to Forward, Inc., will support the predevelopment costs of renovating the largely vacant Council of Elders building in Egleston Square into 150 units of elderly and special needs housing. This project promises to provide much-needed housing for frail seniors and to make a major contribution to the revitalization of the neighborhood.

Capacity building support for the area’s two volunteer matching organizations that support the elderly wishing to live at home, Match-Up Interfaith Volunteers and Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly, will enable these agencies to meet increased demand for their services and be better prepared for even greater demand in the coming decade. A grant to the Boston Partnership for Older Adults, a coalition of over 150 organizations and individuals, is an investment in building a community-based long term care system and a key opportunity to leverage national foundation funding through a matching grant program.

A large number of grants were made in the environmental sector this quarter, focused primarily on work in the Boston harbor and waterfront areas. The Boston Harbor Association has been funded to encourage the development of public walkways, parks, sitting areas, and public facilities along Boston Harbor. The 43-mile HarborWalk runs from East Boston to Quincy and is now 72% complete. The Island Alliance received funding to introduce neighborhood leaders and groups to the Boston harbor islands through a series of Saturday visits throughout the summer. The Neighborhood of Affordable Housing will use its grant for a study of four sites along Chelsea Creek, with a goal toward redeveloping the sites in 2005. A grant to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will fund two projects: an economic impact study of the Boston Harbor, and the first annual report card that identifies and tracks the key elements of a “great” harbor. Together, these projects will serve as a significant advocacy and positioning piece for increased investment in harbor activities and infrastructure.

Two other grants in the urban environment sector include funding for WalkBoston, to identify issues of walkability in high pedestrian activity areas in downtown and the city’s neighborhoods, and a grant to Alternatives for Community and Environment for its Roxbury Safety Net program, a project to organize residents in the Melnea Cass Boulevard corridor – with a focus on the tenants of ten public housing developments in the area – to develop leadership, voice and vision on land use.

In the field of education, several grants focus on parent involvement in the schools. The Family Literacy Collaborative, which promotes literacy by entering into agreements with parents or guardians to read to their children regularly, sends home books from a school lending library, and requires parent/teacher conferences to discuss children’s reading progress, received a grant. Support also went to Countdown to Kindergarten, which brings the school system and 20 community partners together to encourage every Boston family to enroll their children in kindergarten, and to the Boston Full Service Schools Roundtable, a new organization that will link the several full service school models operating in Boston and advocate for policies on their behalf.

Early childhood education received support in the form of a grant to Strategies for Children, a statewide advocacy campaign seeking to improve early education programs for all Massachusetts children with a long-term goal of making early childhood education available to all three, four, and five year olds. Recognizing the important role that family day care plays, particularly in linguistic minority communities, the American Family Child Care Association received funding to organize family day care providers to advocate for improved working conditions and practices.

Continuing its support for charter schools, the Foundation funded the Massachusetts Charter School Association to promote the exchange of information and ideas among charter schools, and Building Excellent Schools (formerly Massachusetts Charter School Resource Center), which provides technical assistance to Boston area charter schools. In the area of out-of-school-time, the Foundation continues its efforts to expand the availability of after-school programs for Boston youth with grants to the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys & Girls Club to expand teen programs at the Walter Denney Youth Center, to Freedom House to strengthen two of its after-school programs, and to the YMCA of Greater Boston for its Abundant Assets Project, an effort to increase its staff’s capacity to work with teens.

A number of museums received grants this quarter, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Museum of Afro-American History for audience development. Grants that support the need of arts organizations to increase their earned and contributed income went to Boston Cyberarts, ArtsBoston, and the New Repertory Theatre.

The Foundation selected Casa Myrna Vazquez to receive this quarter’s $75,000 ‘Out of the Blue’ grant. Foundation President Paul Grogan noted, “Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among women and their children, affecting women of all races and socio-economic strata. Under the able leadership of Sheila Moore, Casa Myrna Vazquez is dedicated to both intervention and prevention in this area, working closely with both women and men, and understanding that it will take a broad-based effort to successfully impact this issue. It is a leader in its field, the highest capacity domestic violence organization in the state, and one that has been successful in serving a range of racial and ethnic populations, including newcomers. We are proud to honor this excellence with our ‘Out of the Blue’ grant.”

The Foundation’s Community Safety Initiative, created three years ago to address immediate and systemic issues around rising crime and community safety issues in the City of Boston, supported the work of two organizations this quarter. The Youth and Police in Partnership Program (YPP) of Children’s Services of Roxbury is dedicated to improving the relationship among inner-city youth, community residents, and the Police Department. Working through its strong local collaborations, YPP provides an after-school leadership program that engages high-risk youth in community service. A grant to the Boston Ten Point Coalition will support the outreach work of the Hope Ministry, which provides critical support to high-risk youth and older youth whose lives have been disrupted by violence and abuse.

Additional grants in the field of housing include grants to Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore and Father Bill’s Place which will facilitate a joint enterprise between a housing developer and an emergency shelter provider that will concentrate on developing housing for very low-income individuals living in Quincy and adjacent South Shore communities. This effort will stimulate affordable housing production in suburban communities, many of which have done very little to meet the needs of low-income residents.

# # #

The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of more than $570 million, made grants of $48 million to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of $38 million last year. The Boston Foundation is made up of 750 separate charitable funds, which have been established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a civic leader, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to build community. For more information about the Boston Foundation and its grant making, visit www.tbf.org, or call 617-338-1700.

Discretionary grants are made from the Boston Foundation’s Community Fund, a collection of unrestricted gifts made to the Foundation to be distributed to nonprofit groups working to meet the needs of Greater Boston’s residents across a broad range of issues. Donor Advised grants are made from Funds established by donors who want to play an active role in selecting the organizations and programs they support. Designated grants are made from Funds established by donors to support one or more of their favorite nonprofit organizations in perpetuity.

The following is a complete listing of the Boston Foundation’s $000 in discretionary grants made this quarter:

ARTS AND CULTURE – eight grants totaling $280,000
ArtsBoston, Inc. - $15,000

Boston CyberArts, Inc. - $25,000
Children’s Museum - $65,000
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Inc. - $25,000
Museum of Afro American History, Inc. - $50,000

Museum of Fine Arts - $75,000

New Repertory Theatre, Inc. - $10,000

Zumix, Inc. - $15,000
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT – six grants totaling $160,000

CEOs for Cities - $45,000
Greater Four Corners Action Coalition - $20,000
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc. - $10,000
Massachusetts Voter Education Network, Inc. - $20,000

Philanthropic Initiative, Inc. - $25,000
Regional Funders Collaborative on Racial Justice - $40,000

EDUCATION – eleven grants totaling $630,000
American Family Child Care Association - $25,000

Boston Full Service Schools Roundtable - $50,000
Building Excellent Schools - $25,000
Countdown to Kindergarten - $50,000

Mass Insight Education and Research Institute - $25,000
Massachusetts Charter School Association, Inc. - $75,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - $25,000
ReadBoston - $40,000

Strategies for Children, Inc. - $40,000
WriteBoston - $75,000

YMCA of Greater Boston - $200,000
ENVIRONMENT - six grants totaling $270,000

Alternatives for Community and Environment - $25,000
Boston Harbor Association - $30,000

Island Alliance, Inc. - $25,000

Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc. - $40,000
Save the Harbor, Save the Bay, Inc. - $100,000
WalkBoston, Inc. - $50,000
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – twenty grants totaling $705,000

Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts Chapter - $37,500
Beacon Hill Village, Inc. - $25,000

Boston Medical Center Corporation - $56,250

Boston Partnership for Older Adults - $50,000

Boston Urban Asthma Coalition - $37,500

D.E.A.F., Inc. - $25,000

Health Law Advocates, Inc. - $40,000

Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly - $20,000
Massachusetts Association for the Blind - $75,000

Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Inc. - $25,000
Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery, Inc. - $18,750

Massachusetts Public Health Association - $45,000

Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Inc. - $60,000.

Match-Up Interfaith Volunteers, Inc. - $50,000

Parent/Professional Advocacy League, Inc. - $25,000
Project Health - $20,000

University of Massachusetts/Boston Gerontology Institute - $25,000

University of Massachusetts Medical Center for the Massachusetts Mental Health Diversion Project - $30,000

University of Massachusetts Medical School/Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center - $40,000
HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – seven grants totaling $350,000

Boston Tenant Coalition - $20,000
Committee for Boston Public Housing, Inc. - $50,000

Forward, Inc. - $100,000
Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly - $50,000

Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations - $75,000

Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Shore - $35,000

Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation - $20,000
NONPROFIT SECTOR – three grants totaling $240,000
Emmanuel Gospel Center, Inc. - $50,000
MassINC. - $60,000

Third Sector New England, Inc. - $30,000

Annual Nonprofit Membership Dues setaside - $100,000
OUT OF SCHOOL TIME – seven grants totaling $239,500

Achieve Boston - $35,000

Boston Learning Center, Inc. - $24,500

Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Clubs, Inc. - $35,000

Freedom House, Inc. - $25,000
Massachusetts School-Age Coalition, Inc. - $50,000

South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers’ Alliance - $20,000
YMCA of Greater Boston - $50,000
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT – three grants totaling $105,000

Boston Earned Income Tax Credit Action Coalition - $25,000

Massachusetts Workforce Alliance - $40,000

Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc. - $40,000


OUT OF THE BLUE GRANT – one grant totaling $75,000

Casa Myrna Vazquez, Inc. - $75,000

COMMUNITY SAFETY INITIATIVE – three grants totaling $95,000

Children’s Services of Roxbury, Inc. - $40,000

Dimock Community Health Center - $20,000
(Boston) Ten Point Coalition, Inc. - $35,000

NEW ECONOMY INITIATIVE – two grants totaling $30,000

Harbinger Partners - $25,000
Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network - $5,000