Boston Foundation March grants target health care, education, at-risk youths

March 29, 2007

Boston – The Boston Foundation today announced grants totaling $23,021,674, including funding for projects that address the need for systemic change in sectors critical to the future economic wellbeing of the region. Regional competitiveness, education, workforce development and world-class health-care assets are the focus of several grants.

A grant to the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI) will enable that organization to roll out the findings of a groundbreaking report examining health outcomes and the health care economy. This grant will support NEHI as it engages experts and stakeholders in an informed and urgently needed civic dialogue to generate policies and practices that address a rising tide of preventable, chronic disease.

“If we fail to understand how current trends threaten our health—and our ability to compete in a global market—we can’t halt a vicious cycle of rising chronic disease and costs that may well crowd out investment in other critical sectors including leading edge health care research itself,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation.

A grant of $60,000 for Massachusetts 2020, which was founded to expand educational opportunities for families across the state. Mass 2020—as it is better known—reflects the Foundations emphasis education as critical to the region’s ability to compete in a new knowledge economy. Mass 2020 uses a combination of research, policy and practice to strengthen out-of-school and extended-learning opportunities. Current initiatives provide extra support to children in low-performing schools, and are developing a network of Expanded Learning Time schools that seek to extend the length of the conventional school day. This grant will be used to evaluate the impact of an extended school day on students in Massachusetts.

Workforce Development
The largest grant in the March docket continues a major workforce development project of the Boston Foundation, with a $500,000 grant to the Allied Health Workforce Initiative. This is a three-year project to continue the work of developing a jobs pipeline of skilled allied health workers drawn from local residents who lack the skills required to advance in careers in the sector. Professions including surgical technicians, respiratory therapists, and radiological technicians among others have struggled to find the skilled workers needed to staff the region’s critically important hospitals—at a time when many area residents also struggle to find work that can provide opportunity to advance and to provide wages that can support a family. The Allied Health Initiative will make grants to local hospitals to train workers for opportunities in their 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. These grants are designed to recognize exceptional leadership in regional nonprofits.  This quarter, the grant was made to the Huntington Theatre Company, an independent nonprofit theater company resident in the Boston University Theater Department, using university facilities and providing academic and technical support to students and faculty. In addition to its signature performance space on Huntington Avenue near the Fenway, the Huntington led the development of the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End where it now markets and sells tickets for other companies performing at the BCA.  The Huntington has also developed deep relationships with a number of Boston’s public middle and high schools, as well as the Codman Academy Charter School, to extend the impact of drama to the reading and writing skills of students.

The March docket includes a grant for $105,000 to the High-Risk Youth Policy Initiative, a three-year project of the Boston Foundation designed to strengthen area networks and organizations that serve high-risk youth. The project will to enhance efforts to use public policy to influence the flow of resources for the sector.

Nonprofit sector
A grant of $100,000 to the Boston Foundation Vision Fund strengthens a program established in 1993 that provides small flexible grants to area nonprofits to cover one-time costs associated with organizational development or building capacity. The vision fund has a rolling deadline, a simplified application process and a quick response time. The fund provides grants up to $5,000 for projects costing up to $10,000.

Urban environment
A grant of $75,000 to the Charles River Watershed Association completes a three-year project designed to ensure environmentally sound redevelopment in three areas in Boston, Cambridge, Charlestown and Somerville. The anticipated goals of the project include completed conceptual work in all three areas; a collaboration among neighborhood residents, developers, property owners and public agencies; and a replicable process that balances environmental concerns with the needs of urban redevelopment. The sites included in this phase of the project include Harvard’s planned new Allston campus; the Longwood Medical Area along the Muddy River; and the region close to the Zakim Bridge which includes parts of East Cambridge, Somerville and Charlestown.

A number of grants have been made from the East Boston/Chelsea Environment Fund to support programs focused on environmental projects, programs and organizations that serve the youth of Chelsea and East Boston. The goal of the fund is to develop strong environmental stewardship in these communities among the rising generation of residents. The source of support is a fund that resulted from the settlement of a legal dispute over the proposed use of the Chelsea Creek tidelands. The fund is designed to be completely dispersed over the next five years, in order to have maximum impact on the community.

A total of nine organizations received grants ranging in size from $5,000 to $25,000. One highlight: Just Jam for Environmental Justice received $25,000 to pay for a series of six concerts with an environmental theme to be held in East Boston.


In addition to $1,738,866 in grants from Discretionary Funds, the Foundation also distributed $ 2,032,868 in grants from Designated Funds and $ 19,249,940 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 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.

The following is a complete list of the Boston Foundation’s Discretionary Grants approved by the Board of Directors on March 29, 2007, which totaled $1,738,866.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra - $50,000

New England Healthcare Institute - $95,000

Massachusetts 2020 - $60,000
Boston Educational Development Foundation - $35,000
Boston Foundation for strengthening area community colleges - $200,000

Germaine Lawrence, Inc. - $35,000

The Boston Foundation Vision Fund - $100,000

Associated Grant Makers - $75,000
Boston Foundation High-Risk Youth Public Policy Initiative - $105,000

Huntington Theatre Company - $75,000

Boston Natural Areas Network - $20,000
(Boston) Ten Point Coalition - $25,000
Capen Hill Nature Sanctuary - $25,000
Friends of Young Achievers Pilot School - $25,000
MATCH Charter School Foundation - $13,000
Housing Preservation Initiative - $11,500
MassINC - $30,000
National Consumer Law Foundation - $25,000
New England Council - $2,500
University of Massachusetts/Boston - $23,866

Charles River Watershed Association - $75,000
East Boston/Chelsea  Environmental Fund - $150,000

The Boston Foundation Allied Health Workforce Initiative - $500,000