Boston Foundation names Director of Public Affairs: James Davitt Rooney to coordinate policy research initiatives

August 15, 2005

Boston – The Boston Foundation has announced that James Davitt Rooney has been named Director of Public Affairs, effective September 12th, 2005. In this newly created position, Rooney will help to coordinate the growing number of Foundation activities in the area of public policy, and build networks that connect public officials with civic and business leaders. He will also be involved in research and data gathering to inform and support the Foundation’s policy objectives. Rooney will report to Mary Jo Meisner, Vice President for Communications, Community Relations and Public Affairs, and also work closely with Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the foundation.

"Jim Rooney has established an impressive record for building partnerships and using them to move legislation forward," said Meisner. “He brings a wealth of national and local experience to the Foundation as well as a deep knowledge of the Commonwealth, and I expect him to be a key member of the team.”

Rooney recently served as Director of Policy and Associate Director of CEOs for Cities, a national alliance of mayors, corporate executives, university presidents and other civic leaders designed to strengthen metropolitan economies through the exchange and application of best practices, and through advocacy. CEOs for Cities recently moved its base of operation from Boston to Chicago.

Rooney served CEOs for Cities in a variety of roles, but always with a focus on policy and the effort to increase competiveness by stimulating the local agenda. He was also a contributing writer to the seminal study, Leveraging Colleges and Universities for Urban Economic Revitalization: An Action Agenda, which was co-sponsored by CEOs for Cities and the Boston-based Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. He has been featured widely as a speaker and media resource on university-community relations.

Earlier, Rooney served as Director of Community and Government Relations at Brown University, in Providence, R.I., where he served as the university’s chief liaison to state and local officials, business and civic leaders, and the community at large. He ran the University’s first-ever Legislative Policy Institute in conjunction with the state legislature, and directed the school’s first comprehensive economic impact statement. Rooney also led innovative economic development and cultural partnerships with state and local agencies. Earlier, he worked in the Alumni Relations and Development offices, serving as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations.

Rooney has a Bachelor’s Degree from Brown University in Ethics and Political Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was born in Springfield and is a graduate of Cathedral High School. He grew up in Palmer, where his parents, James P. and Marcia G. Rooney, reside.

“The knowledge economy has revolutionized competition and makes collaboration more important than ever,” said Rooney. “I am thrilled to be able to help Greater Boston respond to new challenges and opportunities by pursuing innovative public policy strategies at the Boston Foundation.”


The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, has an endowment of almost $675 million. In 2004, the Foundation made $51 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, and received gifts of $41 million. 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 , or call 617-338-1700.