Boston – The Boston Foundation awarded $245,000 to nonprofit groups in the area of arts and culture at today’s meeting of the Board of Directors. Many of the arts grants this quarter focused on work that connects Greater Boston residents, especially disadvantaged populations, to opportunities to participate in diverse arts and cultural experiences. There was a grant to the Boston Lyric Opera to prepare for a second free performance on the Boston Common, to Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion for its new Center for Latino Arts, to Raw Art Works for its work with at-risk youth, and to World Music for its concerts by emerging Boston choreographers. There were also grants to the Boston Center for the Arts and the Huntington Theatre Company.
In addition, there was a grant to support the work of the Foundation’s Cultural Task Force to identify leverage points for the enhancement of revenues and resources for cultural organizations. The Cultural Task Force, co-chaired by Senior Fellow David Ellis, is convening cultural, corporate and civic leaders to delve more deeply into potential changes to our current support system.
“We are increasingly focusing our support in this area on work that enhances the health, stability and vitality of Greater Boston’s cultural sector and its component cultural organizations,” said Paul Grogan, President of the Boston Foundation. “At the same time, specific activities of of advocacy, organizational development, access and education continue to underpin these priority interests.”
Overall, at today’s meeting the Foundation awarded a total of $2,671,905 in discretionary grants to support the work of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston community. In addition, the Foundation awarded $5,374,092 to nonprofits through Donor Advised Funds held by the Foundation, and $3,418,158 in designated fund grants to nonprofit organizations in Boston and around the country. Combined discretionary, advised and designated grants totaled $11,437,155 for the quarter.
The Boston Foundation announced the addition of four new members to its Board of Directors,who will begin their service in September, and the retirement from the Board of two members, bringing the new total to nineteen. Appointed to the Board are Ms. Atsuko T. Fish, Chairperson of the HANDS Development Group and a U.S.-Japan cross-cultural consultant, for a 5-year term; Mr. Herbert E. Morse, former Managing Partner of KPMG’s New York Metro Practice and a member of the firm’s Management Committee, for a 2-year term; Mr. Kevin C. Phelan, Executive Vice President of Meredith & Grew, for a 5-year term; and Ms. Benaree P. Wiley, President and CEO of The Partnership, for a 5-year term. Leaving the Board after ten years of service each are Martin S. Kaplan, Senior Partner, Hale & Dorr LLP, and Edward I. Masterman, Senior Partner, Masterman, Culbert & Tully LLP.
In the area of education, the Boston Foundation awarded $100,000 to the Greater Boston YMCA to support an innovative outreach program designed to educate and inform parents about the Boston Public Schools. This program, Y BPS, will host activities designed to encourage families in Boston’s West Zone (Roxbury, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Roslindale) to consider the Boston Public Schools as an option, to help parents become more informed consumers of Boston’s school choice system, and to improve the Boston Public Schools’ ability to communicate what they offer to families.
“Boston, like most cities, loses too many middle-income families to the suburbs when their children become school age. In Boston, we have many schools that have good records, but are relatively unknown. We hope that this program will help convince a significant number of middle income families to stay in the city and consider Boston public schools for their children,” said Grogan. “Good schools are essential to retaining the middle class in the city, which in turn is a key to the continued vitality of the city and its neighborhoods. This program promises to make the existing school choice system in Boston much more effective, helping create a school system that is attractive and welcoming to families of all races and all income levels.”
Other school-related grants this quarter include funding for the Center for Collaborative Education to expand its support for Boston pilot schools, in light of the increase in the number of Boston pilot schools from 13 to 19 – an expansion that was due, in part, to the Foundation’s Pilot School Initiative. The Foundation is also making a second round of grants to Boston area charter schools to build the schools’ capacity in governance, use of data, or parent and community involvement. Other grants that support parents, educational advocates and community organizers include awards to the Boston Parent Organizing Network, the Boston Child Care Alliance, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, and Massachusetts Initiative for Latino Students. This quarter’s Out of the Blue Grant – the unsolicited grants to high-performance organizations – goes to the Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools Foundation, credited with playing a major role in helping to turn around Boston’s public schools since its inception more than twenty years ago.
In the area of community safety, the Foundation is providing funding to support the development and implementation of a new crime fighting strategy to be piloted within the Grove Hall community, considered one of Boston’s most notorious “hot spots.” Through this grant, the Boston Police Department will convene key stakeholders and manage the research and coordination of prevention, intervention and enforcement activities targeted at more than 214 individuals and their families in the Grove Hall community. Second-year support was also given to the Cape Verdean Task Force. The Community Resources for Justice/Crime and Justice Institute received an award to do a public opinion study about ways to change the criminal justice system so that recidivism could be reduced.
“With this very generous grant, the Boston Foundation underscores their role as a key partner in our efforts to prevent crime and violence in Boston” said Police Commissioner Paul Evans. “With Mayor Menino’s leadership, the Boston Police Department and its many partners are making important progress on violent crime. Today’s grant is a major new investment in that work. We thank the Board and staff for their vision and generosity.”
To support summer youth employment opportunities at community-based organizations and to offset a significant cut in the number of anticipated jobs for teens, the Foundation has made a grant of $52,500 that will be used for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program. “Despite significant cuts to this program in the past two years, the Mayor and the Boston business community exercised significant leadership and continued to cover the gap,” said Grogan. “However, the gap has grown still wider this year due to the economic downturn. Complicating matters this summer is a looming concern that increases in youth violence seen since this spring will into the summer if constructive alternatives are not offered.”
The Foundation committed itself to a second year of support for its very successful Civic Engagement Initiative, a collaborative effort that significantly increased voter participation through nonpartisan political activities launched last year. With a focus on increasing voter engagement in the 2003 elections, the Initiative will focus on Boston and Chelsea, building on the strengths of the community-based organizations that engaged large numbers of residents of inner-city communities last year. Support was also given to the Chinese Progressive Association for its Chinatown Empowerment Project to strengthen Chinatown residents’ community clout, to the Commonwealth Legislative Seminar and Network to give community leaders an understanding of the legislative process, to OISTE? to engage Latinos in Boston’s civic life, and to the Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders for the public policy, advocacy and impact litigation work of its Family Law program.
Boston Parks 2004, a broad collaboration that will stage a series of events and volunteer activities – including a spring clean-up of Boston parks, flower planting on Storrow Drive, a solicitation of corporate sponsorship of road signs, and a public awareness campaign that incorporates a promotional map of the city’s open spaces – in anticipation of the Democratic Convention, was awarded a grant of $75,000. This project builds on the lessons of other cities that have hosted conventions, leveraging pooled funds to elevate the urban environmental movement to a scale unattainable by any single agency or funder.
In the area of health and human services, projects that ensure that the consumer voice is included in critically important deliberations – particularly with regard to service delivery at the state level – have been supported this quarter. Grants were made to the Disability Policy Consortium and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Massachusetts, two small advocacy organizations that have been increasingly effective in their public policy efforts. Two other advocacy-oriented grants went to organizations pushing broad-based systems change: to Ethos, for their work to make the elder services system more responsive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors, and to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, to make the emergency shelter system fully accessible to people with a range of disabilities. The Foundation also made a grant to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to support its work to achieve a diversified funding stream for health centers, in the interest of maintaining the stability of the neighborhood-based health care safety net.
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The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of more than $500 million and made grants of $53.7 million to nonprofit organizations 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 grantmaking, visit www.tbf.org , or call 617-338-1700.