Robert Lewis Jr. named Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation: Civic, community leader will oversee grantmaking

July 16, 2007

Boston – The Boston Foundation has announced the appointment of Robert Lewis Jr. to the position of Vice President for Program. In this role, he will oversee grantmaking for the Foundation, working with Foundation President Paul S. Grogan and his senior management team to execute the Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking, which distributed more than $26 million to area nonprofits in 2006. This includes responsive grantmaking as well as strategic initiatives undertaken with a wide range of institutional and funding partners. In addition, the Foundation distributes designated and donor advised funds, making the total amount of its grants about $70 million last year.

Lewis succeeds Terry Saunders Lane, who retired earlier this year after serving with distinction as Vice President for Program since 2003. Lane oversaw a grants program that expanded as the resources of the Foundation grew, and which continued to build on a tradition of significant partnerships with national foundations in support of local initiatives. During her tenure, a strategic focus was developed to strengthen the region’s ability to compete in an increasingly global knowledge economy. Among the priorities are public education, housing and workforce development. In addition to this concentration, the Foundation retains its broad engagement in a wide range of nonprofit sectors and issues that serve area residents, including arts and culture, health and human services, the environment, social justice and civic engagement.

“I am thrilled to announce that Robert Lewis is joining the Foundation in this critical leadership role,” said Grogan. “He has built a reputation as a visionary and effective leader in Boston, earning universal respect for his deep knowledge of the city and his ability to inspire and engage everyone from school children to corporate leaders. As the Boston Foundation continues to expand its role as a civic leader, he has the ability and experience to take our grantmaking work to a new level.”

“I would like to congratulate Robert Lewis on his appointment as Vice President of Program for the Boston Foundation,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Robert has been a driving force behind expanding and improving Boston’s youth programming and human services for many years, and his commitment and vision for Boston Centers for Youth and Family will be missed.  Robert will be a wonderful addition to the Boston Foundation.”

Lewis is a seasoned civic, community and nonprofit leader, most recently serving as Executive Director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, the City of Boston’s largest youth and human service agency. He is a former President and Executive Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice in Boston, which runs LeadBoston, one of the city’s premier executive leadership programs. Prior to that, Lewis was Senior Vice President of City Year’s national operation and Executive Director of City Year Boston. He has deep experience with grassroots community organizations in Boston as a former Director of Community Initiatives for the Boston Housing Authority, a Director of the Streetworkers Program for the Boston Community Centers, and a Youth Program Manager with Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion.

“I am very excited by the opportunity this appointment represents,” said Lewis. “The Boston Foundation has proved to be a unique force for positive change and civic leadership in the region. The programs and nonprofit organizations I have been a part of over the years taught me just how powerful thoughtful philanthropy can be, and I look forward to making a personal contribution to a truly remarkable local institution.”

Lewis has been widely honored for his commitment to Boston and to the youth of the city. He was appointed to a life term as Board Chair of South End Baseball in 1998 in recognition of his service to that sports organization and its impact on city youth. He serves on a number of area boards, including the Boston Private Industry Council’s Community Advisory Board; the Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board; the Pine Street Inn’s Board of Directors; and the Oversight Committee of the Black Ministerial Alliance.

“Robert Lewis knows this city street by street and child by child,” said the Rev. Ray Hammond, Board Chair of the Boston Foundation. “And he is as comfortable in the region’s board rooms as he is coaching a child how to slide into second base, or how to achieve a bigger, better life. This appointment will change the Boston Foundation—and the city—for the better. I am convinced that Paul Grogan has found a candidate ideally suited for this institution, at this moment in time.”

Lewis lives in the Roslindale section of Boston with his wife and two children. He will start in his new position this September.


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of over $830 million.  In 2006, the Foundation and its donors made more than $70 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $71 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.