Boston Foundation Gives $792,000 to Strengthen Education in Boston

June 15, 2005

Boston – At the June 16th meeting of the Boston Foundation Board of Directors, the Foundation awarded $792,000 in grants to strengthen education for Greater Boston students at all levels.  The wide-ranging grants are designed to have an impact on everything from systemic reform to teacher training to parental and community involvement and will encourage innovation in both public and private schools.

“Educational attainment is the key predictor of success in today’s knowledge economy,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation.  “While Boston has made great strides in education reform, many children of color from low-income and immigrant families continue to struggle to achieve ‘proficient’ or ‘advanced’ scores on MCAS tests.  The Foundation wants to help maximize the effectiveness of all Boston Public Schools while supporting and encouraging pilot schools and charter schools, which continue to serve as labs of innovation and show real promise for advancing school reforms.”

Overall, the Boston Foundation authorized $25,392,376 at this meeting, including  $4,271,200 in grants from Discretionary Funds to support the work of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Boston community.  In addition to grants from Discretionary Funds, $16,687,359 was awarded to nonprofits through Donor Advised Funds held by the Foundation, and $4,433,817 was made from Designated Fund grants to nonprofits in Boston and across the country. 

Reflecting the Foundation’s goal of strengthening the nonprofit sector, a grant of $83,200 went to The Partnership, Inc., which has developed highly successful programs to attract and retain professionals of color in Greater Boston.  This grant will strengthen and formalize The Partnership’s program to prepare individuals of color, including African Americans, Asians and Latinos, to serve on nonprofit boards.

“The Partnership grant was inspired by a concern on the part of the Boston Foundation and other nonprofit and community organizations about the lack of diversity on Greater Boston’s nonprofit boards,” noted Grogan. “Today, Boston is a majority minority city, with more than 51% of its population made up of Latinos, African Americans and Asians.  It’s time that nonprofit boards reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.” 

One of the largest areas of Boston Foundation grantmaking is always Health and Human Services.  This meeting alone made 13 grants totaling close to half a million dollars. A grant of $75,000 was made to the Home for Little Wanderers in direct response to an issue that has received media attention in recent months—namely the 600 or so teens opting out of state care every year when they reach the age of 18.   Data shows that this population has high rates of incarceration, homelessness and addiction.  The grant will support a Task Force to further assess the situation and develop effective service delivery for this fragile population. 

The numerous grants that were made in the area of education at this meeting reflect the most important issues confronting public and private schools today.  Teacher training is the focus of two of the grants, including $100,000 to the Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools to support a residency program that trains highly qualified new teachers, including recent graduates and professionals from other fields, in a clinical setting modeled after medical residencies.  The program will produce a crop of new teachers well grounded in urban education, in general, and in the Boston Public Schools specifically. 

Another education grant aims at strengthening the relationships among superintendents, school committees and teacher unions.  The Rennie Center for Educational Research & Policy received $50,000 for a three-year program of research, public convenings, and district level engagement.  The Center has impressive ‘buy-ins’ from superintendents and union presidents in the state’s major cities, including Boston, Cambridge, Lawrence, Worcester, and Springfield.

The Efficacy Institute received a $100,000 grant for the Boston Campaign for Proficiency, which is mobilizing the community’s adult leadership to promote academic and character development for Boston youth.  The Campaign will focus initially on 4,000 children in Cluster 7 of the Boston Public Schools (Roxbury).  The Foundation also supported other campaigns aimed at involving parents and the community in education.  The Boston Parent Organizing Network (BPON), received $125,000 to continue the momentum it has gained over the last year organizing parents and others to support improvement in the Boston Public Schools.

A grant of $50,000 to Mass Insight Education is for the Great Schools Campaign, which involves business and community leaders, as well as superintendents, in a renewed effort to bring all students up to the proficiency standard for MCAS testing.  And, $37,000 was awarded to the Massachusetts Education Initiative for Latino Students, Inc. to increase participation among Latino families and other community members in Chelsea.

The Foundation’s commitment to systemic reform is reflected in grant of $125,000, which went to the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) to expand its support of Boston pilot schools.  Pilot schools are public schools that, like charter schools, have flexibility in budgeting, scheduling, and staffing.  The grant will help CCE prepare pilot schools to educate a growing number of special needs students and codify the rules governing Pilot schools.

The Foundation also supports innovation outside of the public schools.  A grant of $80,000 went to the Charter School Initiative to fund programs aimed at helping charter schools take on expanded operations.  And, a grant of $50,000 to the Catholic School Foundation will help two inner-city Catholic high schools strengthen their fundraising as they transition from the Archdiocese system to independence.

“Charter schools and Catholic schools are so important to inner-city education,” noted Grogan, “providing both excellent education and alternatives to public schools for large numbers of low- and moderate income children.”  The Boston Foundation encourages systemic change in Boston Catholic schools that no longer have Archdiocese support and, since 2002, has supported programs serving charter schools.

The highly effective after-school program BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), received the Foundation’s $75,000 “Out of the Blue” grant at this meeting, an unsolicited award that is made to effective, well-run nonprofit organizations.  The Boston Foundation was ‘there at the beginning’ for this organization, which was established in 1992 by a group of African-American Harvard Law School students to provide positive role models and youth programs to children of color in Boston.  The program is so successful that it has expanded to New York and Washington, D.C.

Another grant will boost Mayor Menino’s Summer Jobs Program. The City’s Fund for Parks and Recreation received $50,000 to support 30 new summer jobs for young people, offsetting significant and expected shortfalls in jobs for Boston area teens this summer.  A group called Tenacity, Inc., which combines academic support and tennis, also received $30,000 for its new After-School Excellence program.

In the area of civic engagement, the Foundation made a large $250,000 grant to the Civic Engagement Initiative for Phase II of a three-year effort to continue to increase voter engagement in targeted areas of Boston and Chelsea that have low voter participation rates.  The Initiative has had remarkable success in recent elections in registering new voters and getting people out to the polls.  Also in civic engagement, $75,000 was granted to the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc. (MIRA) to build a strong and informed political constituency for issues that confront immigrant and refugee communities in the state.  To achieve its goals, MIRA will use a coalition model involving organized labor and community-based organizations.  In addition, a collaborative initiative called TransitWorks received $50,000 to expand activities designed to help the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) retain and renew relationships with the riding public in order to improve customer satisfaction.

In workforce development, the organization Year Up received $100,000 for its College and Career Transition Project.  The Boston Foundation has been ‘there at the beginning’ for Year Up, which is an intensive, business-driven job training program that provides well paying jobs and higher education opportunities.  The funded project seeks to build a process for awarding college credit and a structure to support participants’ college and financial aid applications.

This meeting also saw $390,000 in grants to eight arts and cultural programs.  In response to decreased operating revenue stemming from the drop in Nutcracker ticket sales, the Foundation provided the Boston Ballet with a grant of $65,000 to upgrade on-line contributions, ticket sales, and communications systems.  And, as the City of Boston approaches its 375th celebration, the Foundation provided a $25,000 grant to the Fund for Boston Neighborhoods, the nonprofit affiliated with the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events, to support outdoor summer performances and demonstrations by local folk and traditional artists as an important component of the celebration.

Two grants also went to enhance the staff of major arts organizations.  The Institute of Contemporary Art is adding new staff members as it anticipates a move to a new building on the waterfront next spring.  A Boston Foundation grant of $65,000 will provide partial support for three new positions dedicated to youth and family outreach and education.  Similarly, the Arsenal Center for the Arts, a new facility opening in Watertown, will add key staff positions with the assistance of a $50,000 grant from the 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.

Discretionary grants are made from the Boston Foundation’s Community Fund, a collection of gifts made to the Foundation to be distributed to nonprofits working to meet the needs of Greater Boston’s residents across a broad range of issues, and other unrestricted funds held by the Foundation.  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 $4,271,200 in grants made from the Foundation’s Discretionary Funds at this meeting of the Board of Directors: 

Arsenal Center for the Arts - $50,000
Boston Ballet, Inc. - 65,000
City of Boston’s Fund for Boston Neighborhoods - $25,000
Institute of Contemporary Art - $65,000
Massachusetts Association for Arts, Sciences and Humanities - $50,000
Massachusetts Cultural Council - $40,000
North Bennet Street School - $30,000
Opera Unlimited - $40,000
Paul Revere Memorial Association - $25,000

Boston College-Center on Wealth and Philanthropy - $10,000                      
Boston Foundation/Regional Funders Collaborative - $40,000
Boston Foundation/Civic Engagement Initiative - $250,000
Boston Self Help Center, Inc. - $18,000
City Life/Vida Urbana - $40,000
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc. - $75,000
Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Inc., $75,000
TransitWorks - $50,000
Voice and Future Fund, Inc. - $25,000

Boston Foundation/Charter School Proposals - $80,000
Boston Learning Center - $25,000
Boston Parent Organizing Network - $125,000
Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools Foundation - $100,000
Catholic Schools Foundation, Inc. - $50,000
Center for Collaborative Education - $125,000
Efficacy Institute Incorporated - $100,000
Mass Insight Education and Research Institute - $50,000
(Iniciativa) Massachusetts Education Initiative for Latino Students - $37,000
Massachusetts Partners for the Public Schools - $20,000
Patrick O’Hearn School - $15,000
Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy at MassINC - $50,000
Steppingstone Foundation, Inc. - $15,000

Crittenton Hastings House - $40,000
Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, Inc - $1,500

Associated Early Care and Education, Inc.- $45,000
Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development - $10,000
Boston Partnership for Older Adults - $50,000
Children’s League of Massachusetts - $50,000
Community Catalyst, Inc. - $2,500
Disability Policy Consortium, Inc. - $50,000
Home for Little Wanderers, Inc. - $75,000
Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center - $25,000
Easter Seals Massachusetts, Inc.- $15,000
Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership - $60,000
Multicultural AIDS Coalition, Inc.- $40,000
New England Eye Institute - $40,000
Pine Street Inn, Inc. - $25,000
University of Massachusetts Medical School Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center- $35,000                                                         

Boston Foundation/Home Funders Collaborative - $125,000
Chinese Progressive Association - $30,000
Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation - $40,000
Homes for Families, Inc. - $30,000
MassINC - $10,000
One Economy Corporation - $50,000
Somerville Community Corporation - $40,000

Boston Foundation/Director Recommended Grants - $100,000
Boston Foundation/Nonprofit Sponsorships - $90,000
Boston Foundation/Vision Fund - $100,000
Jobs for Massachusetts, $15,000
Management Consulting Services - $100,000
Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers - $25,000
Partnership, Inc., - $83,200

Big Brothers of Massachusetts Bay - $35,000
Bird Street Community Center - $27,000
Boston After School and Beyond - $25,000
Boston-Area Youth Organizing Project - $25,000
Congregacion Leon de Juda - $30,000
Fund for Parks and Recreation in the City of Boston - $50,000
Project HIP-HOP, Inc., $20,000
ROCA, Inc. - $50,000
SEED Academy - $25,000
SquashBusters, Inc. - $12,000
Tenacity, Inc. - $30,000
Youth Enrichment Services, Inc.- $25,000

Breaking Barriers, Inc. - $25,000
Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation - $50,000
Community Work Services - $50,000
Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc. - $50,000
St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center of Dorchester, Inc. - $25,000
Year Up, Inc. - $100,000


Community Safety Initiative/Summer Violence Prevention Grants - $60,000
Commonwealth Corporation - $50,000

BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) - $75,000