Boston Foundation grants highlight impact, innovation and opportunity

June 22, 2006

Boston —The Boston Foundation Board of Directors announced almost $19 million in new grants for more than 100 nonprofit organizations serving Greater Boston at its meeting on June 22. While the wide range of these grants speaks to the rich complexity of life in the region, each individual funding decision reflects a strategic commitment to increase impact, opportunity and innovation within the organizations that serve area residents.

One grant that encapsulates those qualities is $50,000 for the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Foundation, which will provide first-year support for a leadership initiative called Global Massachusetts 2015: Winning the Competition for Talent. The program reflects the increasing interest on issues of economic competitiveness for the region and the need for talent to enable the new knowledge economy to thrive. It will identify major economic opportunities for the state and recommend policy changes and strategic investment needs that can foster growth.

A steering committee of leaders from business, education, state government and other civic institutions will craft a vision statement that can lead to success by 2015. The members will host leadership forums and workshops, generate reports based on new research and make recommendations to develop a talent and innovation strategy that links education to workforce training and development. It will provide a context in which a whole host of interrelated issues—including housing costs, the need for educational excellence, the need for global and regional partnerships—are clearly understood and reflected in strategies for creating consensus to move the region forward.

“When civic and business leaders gathered recently at the John LaWare Leadership Forum, the culmination of months of research and conversation, two things were powerfully clear,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “We need to address critical issues of competitiveness and we need to work together.  We have the good fortune to represent a region with world-class assets and an enviable position in the new knowledge economy, but that position is ours to lose if we don’t build on our successes and address our common, fundamental need to attract and retain talent to the area. We have recent proof we can collaborate and achieve our goals. This new program of AIM will draw the roadmap we will need to follow to secure our future.”

The need for integrated, strategic work is also clear in the area of education, where a number of grants are designed to encourage the development of a single, seamless educational pipeline that extends from pre-school to higher education, including after-school programs as well as organizations working to strengthen the performance of the region’s public elementary and secondary schools. One example is a $50,000 grant to Mass INSIGHT Education and Research Institute, an organization designed to realize the benefits of the state’s education reform work of the 1990s, to give schools the resources they need to promote the use of consistent, state-wide standards. The grant provides funding for the second year of the Great Schools Campaign, which brings together business, civic and educational leaders to advocate for state support for education reform. The Campaign has two major goals: to establish world-class math and science education in Massachusetts by 2010, bringing fully 80 percent of all students to proficiency by 2014; and to turn around the lowest-performing 115 in the Commonwealth by 2010.

Funding is also provided for the Center for Collaborative Education, which operates the Boston Pilot Schools Network. The 19 Pilot Schools currently established are Boston Public Schools that operate like charter schools, and which have outperformed BS averages. A grant of $125,000 will be used to increase capacity of the existing Pilot Schools and support the creation of new Pilots. Boston public school students are also addressed through a $150,000 grant to the Efficacy Institute, which builds networks of adults in the community to work with children in the Boston Public School system to raise academic and character standards. The grant, the second of a three-year effort to build the program, will involve 11 schools, more than 5,000 students, and between 200 and 300 parents, family and community members. The program uses standardized test scores as a key metric for success, and the grant will enable the Institute to continue to refine the metrics of success for character development.

Other grants within the education sector include $35,000 to Massachusetts Advocates for Children, which seeks to bring children who are marginalized because of limited English skills, poverty or disabilities. A grant of 75,000 to the Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools is focused on recruiting and retaining the talented and committed staff in the Boston Public School system required to raise standards for all students in Boston. It will be used in part to create networks of mentors for teachers at a time when looming teacher shortages threaten to undermine institutional continuity. Also designed to strengthen the school system is a $50,000 grant to the Boston Public Schools for the Office of Human Resources to continue its work of strengthening the hiring and retention process with new web-based tools and to create a more customer-focused culture within Boston’s schools.

Students who have graduated from the Boston Public School system are the focus of a $50,000 grant to ACCESS, which provides advice and “last dollar” scholarships to area students. This funding is designed to help ACCESS reach its goal of providing every Boston Public High School with a full-time financial aid advisor by 2008 and to increase the time devoted to helping local students leverage educational aid wherever that is currently available.

After School Programs
After school programs receiving grants include several capacity building grants, including $45,000 to the Bird Street Community Center in Uphams Corner, $50,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and $50,000 to the Patriots’ Trail Girls Scout Council. Grants designed to increase impact of after school programs include $50,000 to both Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), which provides mentors to underprivileged minority students, and Citizen Schools, Inc., which offers middle school students mentors and an opportunity to build skills through community service, field trips and writing and academic assistance.

Civic Engagement
A grant of $100,000 to the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition, Inc. (MIRA) reflects rising concern about the status of immigrants in the region. MIRA is a statewide coalition of more than 130 community agencies, legal service providers, labor unions and immigrant rights organizations which seeks to enhance the rights and opportunities of new area residents. It engages with a wide variety of immigrant communities and works to include them in the shaping of public policies that will affect them.

The grant is expected to increase membership and visibility for MIRA, increase the legislative participation and to support the legislative priorities of an organization that has gained strength and credibility in the ongoing conversation about immigrants, in Massachusetts and at the national level. Among MIRA’s priorities is to create a citizenship campaign to mobilize support across all racial and income lines and to provide more citizenship training to new immigrants, to enable them to better engage with resources available for them. This grant is seen as closely connected to the grant to the Pipeline to Public Service, described above, to create a seamless structure that begins with new arrivals to the region and concludes by truly integrating them into the policy and decision making process in the Commonwealth.

A grant of $60,000 to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council will be used to support the work of its MetroFuture project, which is developing a sustainable growth plan for the region and working to foster civic engagement in the region by building partnerships with supporters who are willing to help translate the plan into reality. The plans to be generated cover the 101 cities and towns within metropolitan Boston, including local opportunities and challenges as well as an integrated regional strategy.

Among the grants made explicitly to strengthen the nonprofit sector is one for $26,335 to the Associated Grant Makers for its Diversity Fellows Program, a new program that identifies and engages college graduates of color who have a professional interest in foundations or corporate grantmaking. The goal of the program is to increase the number of people of color working at foundations, with a long-term goal of creating more leaders of color in philanthropy. The first Fellows are expected to join the program in fall of 2006.

As part of its commitment to increase opportunity for all area residents in the area of civic engagement, the Foundation has made a grant of $100,000 to help create a new program, Pipeline to Public Service, to strengthen and build on existing leadership and support structures to increase the number of civic leaders of color. The program will identify, include and train and coach potential leaders, working with community-based organizations and schools. It is designed to build on the work of the Civic Engagement Initiative over the past five years, which has led to increases in voter registration and participation in targeted wards and precincts.
One important role for the Boston Foundation is as a funding partner, working with local or national funding institutions to respond to important, systemic issues. One example in the area of civic engagement is a grant for $40,000 to the Racial Justice Collaborative, an initiative developed by the Rockefeller Foundation and supported by other national foundations. The contribution made by the Boston Foundation and its commitment to continue to fund the collaborative over a period of five years leverages significant national funding to continue work undertaken in the recent past by the Foundation to address racial injustice in the region.

A grant of $25,000 to the Boston Foundation will be used to support a corporate philanthropy summit in the fall of 2006 to be organized by the Boston Business Journal. The Foundation is joining with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce to create a first-time event that will examine and promote the role of corporate philanthropy in the region and to create a baseline set of measurements that will show incremental progress over time. The Summit will honor innovation and leadership among the region’s corporations, working to align giving with critical issues and to promote and share best practices among corporations engaged in philanthropy and the nonprofits they support.

Housing and Community Development
A group of grants address the critical need for more affordable housing in the region, including a grant of $200,000 to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) takes effort to increase the supply of affordable housing to the suburbs as part of a multi-year effort. Within LISC’s goal of increasing the stock of affordable housing is a secondary mission of advancing the idea of green development. In addition, the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, a coalition of 88 homeless service providers serving individuals across the Commonwealth, received a $40,000 grant. The Alliance is designed to educate policymakers and the general public about the root causes of homelessness and to advocate for increased resources and more effective use of those resources.

Closely connected to the need for a greater supply of affordable housing is the regional need for so-called Smart Growth housing which is clustered near existing commuter lines. A grant of $40,000 to the Fairmount Indigo Line CDC Collaborative will support efforts by a coalition of four Community Development Corporations—Dorchester Bay, Codman Square Housing, Mattapan Community and Southwest Boston Community—which seek to develop housing located along the underused nine-mile Fairmount commuter rail line. That line is expected to be reconceived as the Indigo Line, an integral part of the regional transit system serving inner city communities currently not well connected to downtown.

Community Safety
Safe neighborhoods are an integral part of the Boston Foundation’s housing strategy, and support for programs that provide safe and productive activities for youth is well represented in the current grants announced.

A grant of $50,000 for the Boston Youth Fund contributes to Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Summer Jobs Program to create 42 new summer jobs. An additional $35,000 grant to Mission Safe: A New Beginning, Inc., will support a pilot leadership program designed to reduce violence and promote civic engagement, recruiting 80 youth and engaging them a 20-week training program in leadership, communications, conflict resolution and outreach. The program represents a collaboration of existing programs across the city and will be based in Mission Hill.

Each quarter, the Boston Foundation presents a $75,000 Out Of The Blue Grant, a significant unrestricted and unsolicited grant to an organization doing consistently excellent and critically important work. This quarter, the grant was made to the Crime and Justice Institute, a nonpartisan “think tank” that promotes innovative and effective strategies for administering criminal and juvenile justice through research, advocacy consulting and technical assistance.

Arts and Culture
One theme of many of the grants in the Arts and Culture sector is to increase the ability of well known cultural institutions to serve larger, more diverse populations and to strengthen work already underway.

Among well established institutions in the arts receiving grants are Boston Ballet, which has a grant for $50,000 expand its audience, especially among young residents, and to strengthen its fundraising efforts through an investment in web-based communications systems. The Handel and Haydn Society also received a grant for $30,000, to implement an ambitious proposal to increase ticket sales by enlarging its audience. The Society, which has been honored for the work it does connecting young people to the choral tradition, has increased revenues by more than 12 percent in the past year, and the new marketing and branding campaign is expected to further increase audiences and revenues.

A grant of $55,000 to Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, which serves the Latino population in Villa Victoria and across the city, will also address a strategic need for growth by enabling the organization to hire a director. This new staff position will be charged with implementing a business plan for the Center for Latino Arts, building on work accomplished last year by representatives from IBA working with a team of MBA students from Boston University and consultants from Bain. The goal is to build capacity in the areas of fundraising and governance for an organization that serves a large and growing community in the heart of Boston.

A grant of $50,000 to the Massachusetts Advocates for Arts, Sciences and Humanities (MAASH) builds on its recent success advocating for the inclusion of historic state investment in the state’s cultural facilities in the Economic Stimulus Bill passed recently by the Legislature. MAASH sought the current grant to implement the next phase of its strategic plan and hire a development director. This new staff position is expected to create greater visibility and a better network of nonprofit organizations that are natural allies of the effort to increase support for the arts, sciences and humanities across the Commonwealth.

Urban Environment
Another well-loved institution to receive a grant in the current cycle is Zoo New England, which received $100,000 to support the second phase of its strategic planning initiative, which will result in a master plan for both the Franklin Park and Stoneham zoos, and create a series of flagship exhibits and a plan as well as a timetable for attracting new visitors.

The historic greenway along the Charles River is the beneficiary of a $40,000 grant to the Esplanade Association, created in 2001 as a nonprofit friends group dedicated to preserve, restore and enhance the Charles River Esplanade. The grant will be used to support the ongoing work of creating a plan for restoration and stewardship to prepare for the park’s 100th anniversary in 2010. The goal is to enhance the park’s ability to serve the greatest number of area residents and visitors in the years ahead.

A grant to the Conservation Law Foundation of $50,000 knits together the Boston Foundation’s commitment to the environment as well as to greater access for all area residents. It will be used to support CLF’s advocacy for the MBTA Greenline extension and a funding plan for the Fairmount Line stations and track restoration (creating the new Indigo Line); advocacy for changes in the way transit is funded by the state; and new land use policies that stress local participation. Collectively, these goals represent agreements negotiated by CLF with the state in 1990 as mitigation for the impact on traffic and air quality expected from the work of the Big Dig.

Health and Human Services
A grant of $40,000 to Fitness Forward is designed to respond to the growing concern about an epidemic of obesity among children. Fitness Forward was formed in 2004 to respond to the increase in obesity, with the goal of increasing healthy behaviors through an incentive-based system, called Drive to Fitness, which rewards children for increased physical activity, healthy eating, and fewer hours spent on sedentary activities, such as TV and video games. Following a successful pilot of the program in the Durham, North Carolina public schools, Boston Foundation funds will enable Fitness Forward to implement the program in 20 elementary schools in East Boston and Allston-Brighton.

A second school-based health program to receive a grant is the Connecting With Care Initiative, a program of the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention, which received $50,000 to support its innovative model of providing mental health counseling to Boston Public School students, particularly those living in neighborhoods experiencing high levels of community violence. The program is currently in place at the New Boston Pilot Middle School in Grove Hall and will be expanded 10 additional schools with the help of a prestigious Local Initiatives Funding Partnership grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, leveraged in part by this award from the Boston Foundation.

Capacity building is the goal of a grant of $30,000 to the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Inc., which operates New England’s only multilingual emergency shelter and services for Asian victims of domestic violence. The grant will be used to create a coalition of agencies that serve battered women, to strengthen services provided and to raise the level of awareness and understanding of issues related to domestic violence within area immigrant communities.

In addition to $5,474,788 in grants from Discretionary Funds, the Foundation also distributed $5,042,465 in grants from Designated Funds and $8,194,482 in Donor Advised Funds.

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


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with an endowment of over $730 million.  In 2005, the Foundation and its donors made more than $60 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $70 million.  The Foundation is made up of some 850 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes.  The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener, and sponsor of special initiatives designed to address the community’s and region’s most pressing challenges.  For more information about the Boston Foundation, visit or call 617-338-1700.

The Following is a complete listing of the Boston Foundations Discretionary grants made in this quarter.

Actors’ Shakespeare Project - $25,000
Boston Ballet, Inc. - $50,000
Boston Center for the Arts, Inc. - $75,000
First Night, Inc. - $100,000
Handel and Haydn Society - $30,000
Inquilines Boric as en Accion - $55,000
Massachusetts Association for Arts, Sciences and Humanities Education - $50,000
Massachusetts Historical Society - $5,000
Raw Art Works, Inc. - $35,000
Watertown Arts on the Charles/Arsenal Center for the Arts - $50,000

Boston Foundation - $25,000
Boston Foundation - $120,000
Boston Foundation/Funder Collaborative for Racial Justice - $40,000
Boston Foundation/Pipeline to Public Service - $100,000
Boston Municipal Research Bureau - $5,000
Building Impact - $25,000
Centro Presented, Inc. - $50,000
Chelsea Collaborative - $40,000
City to City Boston - $25,000
Easter Seals Massachusetts, Inc. - $15,000
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc. - $100,000
Metropolitan Area Planning Council - $60,000
One Family, Inc. - $75,000
Public Policy Institute - $50,000
Tri-City Community Action Program, Inc. - $30,000

Associated Industries of Massachusetts Foundation, Inc. - $50,000
Boston History Collaborative - $10,000
Engineering Center Education Trust - $10,000

ACCESS - $$50,000
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology - $60,000
Boston Educational Development Foundation - $19,378
Boston Educational Development Foundation - $20,000
Boston Parent Organizing Network - $125,000
Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools Foundation - $75,000
Boston Public Schools - $50,000
Building Excellent Schools, Inc. - $25,000
Center for Collaborative Education - $125,000
(Boston) Children’s Museum - $50,000
Community Partners for a New Superintendent - $7,500
Efficacy Institute, Incorporated - $150,000
GLSEN/Boston - $10,500
Mass Insight Education and Research Institute, Inc. - $50,000
Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Inc. - $10,000
Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Inc. - $35,000
Massachusetts Public School Performance - $50,000
Pioneer Institute, Inc. - $25,000
Public Education Network - $25,000

Artists for Humanity, Inc. - $35,000
Bird Street Community Center OUT OF TIME SCHOOL - $45,000
Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Inc. - $50,000
Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) - $50,000
Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc. - $40,000
Citizen Schools, Inc. - $50,000
City School, Inc. - $25,000
Fund for Parks and Recreation/Mayor’s Summer Youth Jobs - $50,000
Mission SAFE: A New Beginning - $35,000
MYTOWN - $25,000
New England SCORES - $25,000
Patriots’ Trail Girl Scout Council - $50,000
Silesian Boys and Girls Club, Incorporated - $35,000
West End House Boys and Girls Club - $50,000

Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention - $50,000
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Inc. - $30,000
Bay Cove Human Services, Inc. - $25,000
Boston Partnership for Older Adults - $50,000
Boston University - $50,000
Children’s League of Massachusetts - $50,000
Dare Family Services, Inc. - $40,000
Dotwell - $50,000
Ethos - $40,000
Father Bill’s Place - $25,000
Fitness Forward - $40,000
Greater Boston Food Bank, Inc. - $50,000
Jane Doe, Inc. - $40,000
John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, Inc. - $30,000
Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center - $25,000
Julie’s Family Learning Program, Inc. - $45,000
LGBT Aging Project - $25,000
La Alianza Hispana, Inc. - $100,000
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, Inc. - $40,000
Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership - $60,000
Perkins School for the Blind - $40,000
YWCA Boston - $40,000

AIDS Housing Corporation - $40,000
City Life/Vida Urbana - $40,000
Fairmount/Indigo Line CDC Collaborative - $40,000
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation - $100,000
Local Initiatives Support Corporation - $200,000
National Ten Point Leadership Foundation - $40,000
Northeastern University Center for Urban and regional Planning - $25,000
One Economy Corporation - $25,000
Somerville Community Corporation - $30,000
Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. - $30,000

Associated Grant Makers - $26,335
Boston Foundation - $25,000
Executive Service Corps of New England, Inc. - $50,000
Human Service Providers Charitable Foundations, Inc. - $50,000
TechMission, Inc. - $30,000

Conservation Law Foundation - $50,000
Esplanade Association, Inc. - $40,000
On The Move: Greater Boston Transportation Justice - $23,575
TransitWorks - $50,000
Zoo New England - $100,000

American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay - $40,000
Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation - $50,000
Community Work Services - $50,000
Boston Employment Services, Inc./STRIVE - $50,000
Roxbury Community College Foundation, Inc. - $30,000
St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center of Dorchester, Inc. - $25,000
Union of Minority Neighborhoods - $25,000
Veterans Benefits Clearinghouse, Inc. - $32,500
Year Up, Inc. - $100,000

Associated Grant Makers - $10,000
Friends of the Shattuck Shelter, Ltd. - $15,000
Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board - $30,000
Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation - $10,000
Massachusetts Easter Seals - $10,000
Mujeres Unidas en Accion - $15,000
Pine Street Inn, Inc. - $10,000
Roxbury YouthWorks, Inc. - $15,000
Steppingstone, Inc. - $15,000
Training, Inc. - $15,000
United Way of Greater New Bedford, Inc. - $20,000
Vietnamese American Civic Association - $10,000
Waltham Alliance to Create Housing CDC - $10,000
Women’s Union - $10,000

Crime and Justice Institute - $75,000