The Boston Foundation announces grants to strengthen youth networks’ policy work

November 2, 2007

Workshops offered for organizations working with high-risk youth

Boston – The Boston Foundation has announced a round of grants made to Boston area networks of organizations that work with high-risk youth, as part of the Foundation’s Youth Policy Initiative. The Initiative seeks to increase the engagement, leadership and impact of these networks in the public policy process during a time of shrinking public budgets and widespread interest in lowering dropout rates, preventing youth violence, and securing the future of the regional economy.

The Youth Policy Initiative is supported by a funders collaborative, including the Barr Foundation, the Hyams Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in addition to the Boston Foundation.

“The region has many organizations that are passionate about helping young people find their way, and this initiative can help those organizations be more effective,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “Teaching organizations to be better advocates in the public policy arena is a high-impact way to help young people.”

“This initiative represents an opportunity for organizations serving young people to come together and leverage their collective passion and commitment,” said Klare Shaw, Senior Advisor for Education, Arts and Culture, at the Barr Foundation. “When organizations speak a common language and can agree on common outcomes, their impact increases dramatically. This is a way to get focused, get energized and get greater results.”

Current round of grants
Grants of $25,000 have been announced to the following networks:

    • Boston Capacity Tank to support the High Risk Youth Network
    • The Hyams Girls’ Initiative through the Black Ministerial Alliance
    • Boston Private Industry Council to support the Youth Transitions Task Force
    • Everett Community Health Partnership for the program Teens Leading the Way
    • Massachusetts Communities Action Network

In addition, the Initiative is supporting:

    • Citizens for Juvenile Justice
    • Freedom House for the Multicultural Dropout Outreach Collaborative

Background of the Initiative
The Initiative is a multi-year project providing support through technical assistance and grants to a selected group of networks that serve high-risk youth, as well as a series of convenings. The participating networks were chosen as the result of an RFP process undertaken during the summer of 2007.

The selected networks are working on public policy and advocacy issues ranging from workforce development policy for disconnected youth, programming for high-risk girls, and the need to increase the state budget for violence prevention programs.

The Youth Policy Initiative is designed to respond to the need of local organizations to become more sophisticated in advocating for a range of issues that affect their key constituents: high school drop-outs and those disconnected from the system of workforce development programs, training opportunities and social supports.

Future projects will depend on funding, with an expectation that the Youth Policy Initiative will continue its work through 2009. The next Request For Proposal will be issued in late spring, 2008. Information will be available on the Boston Foundation website at or by calling Marc H. Germain at (617) 338-4093.

Convenings and workshops
The Initiative will also offer all organizations and networks that serve the target population opportunities for learning through policy-related workshops, convenings and networking events. The goal of the convenings is to cover a wide range of issues relevant to the young people served by these organizations, and to build the capacity of leaders of the networks and organizations to deal with complex public policy issues.

The next public policy and advocacy workshop will be held on November 13, 2007.  Entitled Framing a Message/Moving Policy, it will focus on communication strategy as a way to shift public attitudes and have an impact on public policy. For more information about the Initiative, or to attend the workshop, contact Marc H. Germain at the Boston Foundation.


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.