Boston Foundation announces ‘Out of the Blue’ grant awarded to the Hyde Square task Force

$75,000 grant honors a high-impact community organization

March 26, 2009

Boston –The Boston Foundation has announced an Out of the Blue grant for $75,000 has been awarded to the Hyde Square Task Force, a nonprofit organization serving youth in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Out Of The Blue grants are unsolicited, one-time grants made to exemplary organizations that have demonstrated a high level of achievement as community leaders, offering outstanding service, and amassed a solid record of accomplishment. The Foundation awards four such grants each year, announced individually at the same time as its quarterly grants, in March, June, September and December.

The Hyde Square Task Force was selected because of the innovative nature of its programming, which offers a wide array of efforts related to community organizing, public policy and advocacy efforts, as well for the impact it has on young people in the city.

“The Hyde Square Task Force is an extraordinary organization and deserving of wider recognition,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “It serves its community through a robust array of programs and a caring, committed staff, and has been a force for civic leadership with great impact far beyond its own geography.”

Some of the specific achievements by the Task Force cited in the awarding of the grant were the following:

  • The Task Force won approval for a youth and family center in Jackson Square through a youth-led campaign; 
  • They gained official approval for a youth-proposed civics curriculum in Boston high schools;   
  • They opened fully equipped youth computer lab, dance and music studios in Hyde Square; and   
  • They won a national Coming Up Taller Award for excellence in youth development through arts.

“The members of the Hyde Square Task Force have articulated and amplified a true community voice, showing remarkable sophistication in the way they have made effective use of a range of resources,” said Jill Griffin, Director of Programs at the Boston Foundation. “They have demonstrated the power of young people to make a difference using media to build relationships with school and city leaders, and they have reached out to other youth organizations to spread their message and their energy.”

A single area of singular impact—the Youth Community organizers program—was galvanized by the lack of a required civics curriculum in Boston’s public high schools. In 2003, YCO launched the Civics in Action campaign to reinstate a civics requirement that had been eliminated in the 1970s. Youth from the Task Force built a local coalition of organizations, prompting a 2007 City Council hearing on the topic which was attended by over 200 young people, parents and community members. The result is a legacy of renewed civic understanding and engagement that promises to serve young students—and the city—for years to come.

The award was also intended as recognition of the exceptional leadership offered by Claudio Martinez, Executive Director of the Hyde Square Task Force. Martinez has led his organization to be widely renowned within the youth service provider community. In addition to his work with the Task Force Martinez also serves as a member of the Boston Public School Committee. He is a Board member at the Home for Little Wanderers, the Advisory Board of the Boston Housing Authority, the Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board, and the Boston Foundation, among other advisory affiliations.


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of $763 million.  In Fiscal Year 2008, the Foundation and its donors made close to $79 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $113 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.