Boston Foundation March grants support Greenway development, Mayor’s Wifi Task Force

March 30, 2006

Boston – The Boston Foundation’s Board of Directors announced today grants totaling $16,622,082 including $117,000 to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, which will provide for expert oversight of design and construction for the three Greenway parks planned for the North End, the Wharf District and Chinatown. This Foundation grant, which covers 15 months of work, will assure that the Greenway is built substantially as planned, with solid infrastructure that will meet the needs of future operations and programs.

“The Greenway will be a defining part of the new, post-artery Boston,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “This grant is designed to make certain that we take full advantage of this historic opportunity to turn open space into a civic asset that measures up to the standard set by Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace.”

The Greenway Conservancy’s role was established by an agreement among the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the City of Boston, and the Commonwealth.  The Conservancy, which is a first-time Boston Foundation grant recipient, will be the final steward with long term responsibility to maintain the Greenway.  The Conservancy is raising an endowment, which currently stands at $11.6 million, to support maintenance and programming.

Wireless project support

As part of the Foundation’s New Economy Initiative, a grant of $50,000 was approved for the Museum of Science to help staff and support the Boston Wireless Task Force. This body, recently appointed by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, includes civic, corporate and academic leaders and has been charged with making recommendations to the city to best design, develop and build an affective and affordable citywide wireless network.  The grant will be used to hire a consultant to staff the Task Force.

This grant follows the work of the Foundation which collaborated with the Museum of Science and the office of City Councilor John Tobin to produce a report that tracked work accomplished by the city that created a platform for the development of a citywide wireless network. That report, entitled Boston Unplugged: Mapping a Wireless Future, was released in February, shortly after the announcement of the Mayor’s Task Force.

The Foundation also continues its support of the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, which it convened in 2002 to develop a consensus agenda to help solve the region’s severe housing shortage. A grant of $80,000 will be used to continue the Task Force’s effort to assure that Chapter 40R, better known as Smart Growth Housing, is implemented. Chapter 40R provides incentives to communities to develop Smart Growth housing districts in town centers, along transit lines and in unused commercial locations, to create more affordable housing without creating greater urban sprawl and traffic congestion.

The grant will be used to conduct a marketing and outreach campaign to encourage and support communities that wish to make use of this legislative opportunity and to work with the Legislature and the State Administration to resolve regulatory and administrative issues that remain related to chapters 40R and 40S. In addition, it will enable the Task Force to keep its web site at  current and accurate. The work made possible by this grant will be executed by the Center for Urban and Regional Planning at Northeastern University.

In a related grant, the Foundation has awarded $70,000 to the Homeless Prevention Initiative, which the Foundation established in 2003 to fund, evaluate and promote more effective strategies to keep a wide range of at-risk populations from becoming homeless. The initiative is a funding partnership of Tufts Health Plan, the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Starr Foundation in New York City, in addition to the Boston Foundation.

Education and immigration

English for New Bostonians is a private-public partnership supported by the City of Boston together with eight foundations and corporations that supports grants and technical assistance to providers of English for Speakers of Other Languages—better known as ESOL—within the City of Boston. This grant from the Boston Foundation’s Polaroid Fund will help to increase access to existing ESOL classes and to build capacity to expand the scale of the program which currently enables approximately 700 immigrants a year to learn English. This is expected to increase to include 1,000 students a year.

In addition, the grant will support efforts to develop a new public policy aspect to the program by hiring the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition to launch a campaign to build widespread support for ESOL and to help English for New Bostonians achieve long-term sustainability.

In a related grant, $60,000 has been awarded to the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing, which seeks to help organizations and individuals address issues that have a significant impact on the lives of immigrants. The grant will be used to build technological capacity for six immigrant-led grassroots organizations in Greater Boston. These include the Brazilian Immigrant Center, the Cape Verdean Community UNIDO, the Association of Haitian Women, the Chinese Progressive Association, the Centro Presente and the Irish Immigrant Center. The goal is to create a shared technology strategy that will support the work of these groups in a cost-effective way.

School and After school

The current grants include the Foundation’s annual contribution of $75,000 to the Associated Grantmakers of Massachusetts, which will be used to support the AGM Summer Fund for camp programs for children in Boston, Chelsea, Cambridge and Somerville. The program, which the Boston Foundation helped start, seeks to expand enrolment to include 15,000 campers this summer.

Two other grants are designed to make a difference in the lives of young Bostonians. A grant of $30,000 to HOME Inc., a 30 year-old nonprofit media arts organization will support Creating, Teaching and Learning, a Media Lab/Community Partnership. This will enable HOME Inc. to bring its media literacy model to three Boston Public Schools: English High School, Hyde Park Educational Complex and the West Roxbury Educational Complex. The program is designed to strengthen students’ and teachers’ use of technology and to build an after-school network of parents and teachers to support the initiative.

The John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science also has received a grant of $40,000 to pay for teacher training and support as the school creates science laboratory classrooms where students will have the opportunity to learn using direct experimentation in science disciplines.

The O’Bryant School is a citywide exam school that draws its students primarily from lower-income and minority neighborhoods, with a curriculum that includes science and math at every level. Fully 85 percent of O’Bryant students come from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Out of the Blue Grant

Each quarter, the Boston Foundation makes an Out of the Blue grant of $75,000—unsolicited and unrestricted—to an area nonprofit. This quarter, the grant was made to Jewish Vocational Services of Greater Boston, a nonsectarian agency founded in 1938 that provides skill training, education, career counseling and job placement to economically disadvantaged residents of Greater Boston. The agency has grown to become one of the largest job training agencies in the Commonwealth, serving over 10,000 people and more than 850 employers a year.

This Out of the Blue award is designed to honor Jewish Vocational Services for its record of excellence and achievement in job training and literacy programs.


In addition to $2,703,324 in grants from Discretionary Funds, the Foundation also distributed $ 1,066,367 in grants from Designated Funds and $ 13,120,591 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 distributed to nonprofit groups working to meet the needs of Greater Boston residents across a broad range on 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 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 list of the Boston Foundation’s Discretionary Grants approved by the Board of Directors on March 30, 2006, which totaled $2,435,124.


The Boston Foundation, Between Cycle Executive Grant - $25,000
Boston Center for Community and Justice - $25,000


The Boston Foundation, President’s Initiative Fund - $48,124


Grantmakers in Aging - $1,200


Center for Urban and Regional Planning - $80,000
National Consumer Law Foundation, Inc. - $20,000
Homelessness Prevention Initiative - $70,000
Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government - $50,000


Associated Grantmakers - $7,000


Associated Grant Makers - $75,000


Bunker Hill Community College Foundation - $20,000
Centro Presente - $15,000
Community Work Service - $5,000
English for New Bostonians – $40,000
Freedom House, Inc. - $15,000
Hyde Square Task Force - $15,000
International Institute of Boston, Inc. - $15,000
MassINC - $10,000
MissionWorks - $10,000
My Turn, Inc. - $20,000
X-Cel, Inc. - $15,000


Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy - $117,000
Light Boston - $10,000


Allied Health Workforce Initiative - $1,700,000


Jewish Vocational Service of Greater Boston - $75,000


Center to Support Immigrant Organizing - $60,000
Home, Inc. - $30,000
John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science - $40,000
Museum of Science - $50,000