The Boston Foundation grants strengthen the ‘education pipeline,’ promote civic engagement: Board announces $24,431,906 in grants to Greater Boston nonprofits

December 13, 2007

Boston –The Boston Foundation’s Board of Directors announced more than $24 million in new grants to area nonprofits at its meeting held on December 13. The range of grants spans the full breadth of engagement by the Foundation, including strategic focus on the sectors of education, on civic engagement and on the nonprofit sector itself.

“The scale and breadth of this set of grants reflects the Boston Foundation’s commitment to organizations that enrich life for everyone in Greater Boston,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “At the same time, this distribution of funds contains a strategic focus in education, and on the wellbeing of the nonprofit sector. The quality of civic life is another ongoing concern for the Foundation that can be clearly seen in the grants announced here. It is always part of our work to encourage and strengthen opportunities for creating a more inclusive civic culture.”

Grants in support of education include some organizations new to the Foundation. The Posse Foundation, an urban youth leadership development program, selects talented high school seniors from public schools and provides them with full scholarships to colleges and universities, along with a set of peers—a posse—of students from similar backgrounds. Support from the schools they attend contributes to the success of these students, over 90 percent of whom graduate on time. The grant from the Boston Foundation will strengthen the pre-college training program for local Posse Scholars, providing regular workshops that focus on academics, leadership and writing skills.

Grants designed to support innovation and structural change for public education include $75,000 for the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, which will enable the organization to provide technical assistance and advocacy work on behalf of charter schools in Boston and across the Commonwealth.

A grant of $40,000 to the Boston Public Schools Office of Community and Family Engagement will address needs by the youngest students, through the “I Can Read 100 Words” campaign within the Boston schools.

The goal is to engage families as partners in the important work of developing literacy at a young age, improving first grade students’ reading scores. The program will provide home learning kits to each family that takes part. The goal is to raise awareness of the importance of early literacy development. Meetings and events will be used to celebrate the achievements of young students and to create momentum for their learning.

Out of School
An important part of the education pipeline is Out Of School programming. A grant of $35,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay will help build capacity for an organization that creates one-to-one relationships between young boys and girls in Boston and adults who can serve as mentors and friends. In specific, the grant will support the organization’s Vision 6000 strategic growth plan to improve staff efficiency and increase capacity.

A grant to ROCA will serve high-risk youth, supporting the organization’s Intervention Project, which also promotes safer neighborhoods by developing community-police collaboration. The project seeks to serve young people deemed most disconnected, engaging court-involved and gang-involved youth who have dropped out of school or who are at great risk of dropping out.

Civic Engagement
The Boston Foundation has an enduring commitment to bring more people into the political process—especially those who have traditionally been underrepresented. A grant to the Massachusetts Voter Education Network, Inc. is designed to empower nonprofit organizations that serve urban communities of color to register and mobilize their constituents in time for the presidential election in 2008.

Building better connections between the community and institutions such as the police department and the legal system is the focus of a grant to the John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, Inc, which is located in Charlestown.

A grant of $100,000 for the Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership, a new program begun in 2006, will support an ambitious effort to increase diversity in public service roles. Political candidates and campaign workers of color will be increased through a program that offers specialized training and apprenticeship opportunities to teach legislative and policy development skills to a new generation of future leaders.

This is an outgrowth of the Civic Engagement Initiative, which was created by the Boston Foundation to address low voter participation levels in communities of color in Boston and Chelsea.

Arts and Culture
A vibrant arts and cultural sector is an integral part of a healthy community. Grants in the current docket include support for the Boston Children’s Chorus, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic arts organization that has emerged as regional resource, bringing together 275 children ages 7 to 18 from more than 50 urban and suburban neighborhoods to sing and to serve as an exuberant public face for the city and region. A grant of $50,000 is designed to expand its programming. The organization seeks to expand its program to include as many as 350 children in 10 or more choirs with 60-plus performances in the 2008-2009 season.

A grant of $40,000 to the Central Square Theater will support a significant cultural venture as it prepares to open. The Central Square Theater is a joint venture of the Underground Railway Theater and the Nora Theatre Company, demonstrating the power of combining forces for two well-regarded companies that preserve their individual artistic visions while collaborating on essential infrastructure.

Health and Human Services
The Boston Foundation is joining with a group of partners including Children’s Hospital, Health Care for All and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to support the collaborative Campaign for Children’s Mental Health. A grant of $35,000 will support the effort to reach an underserved population estimated at 100,000 children and adolescents with mental illness. The campaign seeks to effect new legislation that removes barriers children and families face when they seek help. A successful campaign is seen by the participating organizations as having great potential for systemic change in the way mental health services are provided to young people in the Commonwealth.

A population of senior residents is served by a grant of $40,000 to the University of Massachusetts/Boston Gerontology Institute. This will continue a relationship with the Boston Foundation that has created first-in-the-nation research into the status of elderly residents in Boston, with the publication of the Elder Economic Security Standard through an Understanding Boston Report. The next phase of the work is bridging the Gap, which will compare eligibility requirements for public support programs to the EESS. The goal is to reframe the public debate on what is an adequate income for seniors.

The Nonprofit Sector
The wellbeing of the nonprofit sector is an enduring focus of the Boston Foundation, which was one of the leading members of the state-wide collaborative effort to create an organization that can advocate for and support the vast reach of nonprofits that, in turn, serve the Commonwealth. That organization, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, represents a recognition of the importance the sector plays in the economic strength of the region as well as in the lives of its residents.

The current grant of $100,000 will continue to build the reach and strength of an organization that has already made a mark—negotiating significant discounts for member organizations with commercial companies such as Office Depot. The new association has also aligned with similar groups across the country and has been able to have an impact on federal legislation to raise the visibility of the sector.

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. These grants are designed to recognize exceptional leadership in regional nonprofits. This quarter, the grant was made to Third Sector New England, Inc., which was formed in 1998 to build knowledge, power and effectiveness for nonprofit organizations that get people engaged in public life.

Third Sector New England has been a leader in providing capacity-building services and support broadly to a critical sector while promoting values of equity and social justice. Under Jonathan Spack, the longtime leader of the organization played a leadership role in the formation of the new Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, and continues to serve the broadest possible constituency through its leadership, support and through the Nonprofit Center it created.


In addition to $6,184,825 in Discretionary Funds, the Foundation also distributed $1,265,823 in grants from Designated Funds and $17,981,258 from Donor Advised Funds.

Discretionary Grants are made from the Foundation’s Permanent Fund for Boston, 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 of 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 assets of almost $900 million.  In 2007, the Foundation and its donors made more than $92 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $90 million.  The Foundation is made up of some 900 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 Foundation’s Discretionary grants made in this quarter.

ArtistLink - $50,000
ArtsBoston - $50,000
Boston Children’s Chorus, Inc. - $40,000
Boston Foundation - $25,000
Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Inc. - $50,000
Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras - $50,000
Central Square Theater - $40,000
Inquilinos Boricuas En Accion - $50,000
New Repertory Theatre, Inc. - $65,000
Raw Art Works, Inc. - $50,000
Theater Offensive, Inc. - $50,000
Zumix, Inc. - $50,000

Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth - $25,000
The Boston Foundation Initiative For Diversity in Civic Leadership - $100,000
Chelsea Collaborative - $40,000
Commonwealth Seminar - $30,000
Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation - $10,000
Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders - $25,000
John F. Kennedy Family Service Center, Inc. - $30,000
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Inc. - $75,000
Massachusetts Asian American Commission - $25,000
Massachusetts Voter Education Network, Inc. - $50,000
National Black College Alliance, Inc. - $35,000
Oiste - $75,000
One Family, Inc. - $75,000
Social Capital, Inc. - $20,000

Massachusetts Association for Community Action - $55,000

Boston Black Parent Alliance - $80,000
Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools - $150,000
Boston Public Schools Office of Community and Family Engagement - $40,000
Center for Law and Education, Inc. - $50,000
EdVestors - $10,000
Jumpstart For Young Children, Inc. - $75,000
Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, Inc. - $75,000
Massachusetts Public School Performance - $50,000
Mass Insight Education and Research Institute - $75,000
Posse Foundation - $50,000
Presentation School Foundation - $50,000
The Boston Foundation/The Opportunity Pipeline - $22,000
Strategies for Children, Inc. - $50,000
WGBH Educational Foundation - $100,000
WriteBoston - $50,000
YMCA of Greater Boston - $200,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay - $35,000
Build the Out-Of-School Time Network - $50,000
City Schools - $25,000
Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club - $50,000
Generation Excel - $30,000
Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership - $50,000
ROCA - $100,000
Tenacity - $30,000
Uphams Corner/Bird Street Community Center - $35,000
YMCA of Greater Boston - $45,000

Boston Center for Independent Living, Inc. - $50,000
Boston Living Center - $25,000
Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home - $58,000
Children’s Hospital Corporation - $35,000
DEAF, Inc. - $50,000
Disability Law Center - $25,000
Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House, Inc. - $50,000
Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Inc. - $100,000
Fenway Community Health - $30,000
Foundation for Home Health - $20,000
Greater Boston Interfaith Organization - $40,000
Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc. - $100,000
Health Care For All - $50,000
Home For Little Wanderers - $30,000
Medical Foundation, Inc./Boston Urban Asthma Coalition - $40,000
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless - $20,000
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - $30,000
Mystic Valley Elder Services - $40,000
National Consumer Law center - $25,000
Parent/Professional Advocacy League - $35,000
Pathways to Wellness - $26,950
Perkins School for the Blind - $40,000
SAGE Boston - $19,250
South Boston Neighborhood House - $30,000
University of Massachusetts Boston Gerontology Institute - $40,000

Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation - $50,000
Beverly Affordable Housing Coalition - $30,000
Boston Affordable Housing Coalition - $40,000
Boston Medical Center Corporation - $50,000
Boston Tenant Coalition - $30,000
Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, Inc. - $60,000
Ella J. Baker House - $50,000
Hearth, Inc. - $65,000
Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly - $50,000
Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations - $75,000
Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance - $60,000
Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, Inc. - $50,000
Watch, Inc. - $30,000

Common Impact - $75,000
Cradles to Crayons - $25,000
Greenlight Fund, Inc. - $100,000
Mass High Tech Council - $7,000
Massachusetts Nonprofit Network - $100,000
The Partnership, Inc. - $65,000
Boston Corporate Philanthropy Summit - $25,000
Third Sector New England, Inc. - $75,000
The Urban Institute - $60,000

Boston Natural Areas Network, Inc. - $50,000
Charles River Conservancy - $50,000
Massachusetts Audubon Society - $40,000
Neighborhood of Affordable Housing - $50,000
New England Aquarium - $90,000
WalkBoston - $40,000

American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay - $40,000
Boston Private Industry Council, Inc. - $75,000
Centro Latino de Chelsea - $40,000
Crittenton Women’s Union - $50,000
English For New Bostonians - $150,000
Jewish Vocational Service, Inc. - $75,000
MAB Community Services, Inc. - $50,000
Massachusetts WorkForce Alliance - $25,000
Metro South/West Regional Employment Boards, Inc. - $50,000
Northeastern University - $45,000
St. Mark’s Community Education Pprogram - $20,000