Boston Foundation March grants address issues in renewable energy, environmental programs

Climate change, strategic alliances among area nonprofits included

March 26, 2009

Boston – The Boston Foundation today announced grants totaling $15,620,385, including support for an innovative local energy initiative that addresses the long-term impact of climate change. One of the larger grants included in the current announcement was for $250,000 to the Boston Energy Alliance to support the planning stages of the Community Climate Action Task Force and Renew Boston Initiative. The goal is to establish Boston as a leader in using data and setting ambitious goals to have an impact on climate change.

The Foundation distributes grants to area nonprofit organizations four times a year, in June, September and December, as well as in March.

The current docket also included $130,000 in grants from its East Boston Chelsea Environmental Fund to local organizations in the City of Chelsea and in East Boston. A total of seven grants were announced, designed to raise the awareness on the part of young residents of those communities about environmental issues.

Out of the Blue

An Out of the Blue grant for $75,000 was made 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. 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.

One grant that reflects stresses placed on the area nonprofit community by the economic crisis is a Housing and Community Development sector grant of $25,000 to Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation to help it explore a potential alliance or merger with another similar organization. In the current economic climate, the Foundation has seen an increase in interest in strategic alliances to maintain organizational mission at a time of constricted resources.

A grant of $50,000 to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will help support the statewide program, Mass In Motion, designed to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits. This furthers the Foundation’s interest in addressing the obesity issue in the Commonwealth.

A grant of $20,000 was made to the Muslim American Society for its Empowerment, Dialogue and Advocacy Program, which seeks to build an interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue to address misperceptions about Muslims.

Educational grants

Education remains a core interest of the Foundation and a number of current grants reflect this. This includes $200,000 for a third-year grant to support the Achieving the Dream program to improve outcomes for students in community colleges; funding to strengthen the Boston Public Schools Pilot Schools; and $25,000 to the KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School to enable it to hire a consultant to develop a plan to expand the school to includes grades 9 through 12.

In addition to $1,495,000 in Discretionary Funds, the Foundation also distributed $1,873,185 in grants from Designated Funds and $12,252,200 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 $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.

The following is a complete list of the Boston Foundation’s Discretionary Grants approved by the Board of Directors on March 26.

Actors’ Shakespeare Project
- $50,000, a theater company with an extensive community outreach program, for general operations and implementation of its strategic plan.
Franklin Park Coalition - $20,000, to support its arts program which includes performances, outdoor film screenings, and a visual arts exhibit of local artists.

MAS Boston Society, Inc. - $20,000, for the Empowerment, Dialog and Advocacy program, which addresses negative misperceptions about Muslims by creating interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue to build community, educates law enforcement agencies about Muslim beliefs and trains Muslims to be advocates and active citizens in their communities.

Boston Educational Development Foundation, Inc
. - $20,000 to expand the Clarence Edwards Middle School’s data-driven intervention strategy across all grades and subjects by purchasing a comprehensive computer software program to track MCAS data and provide a range of support services for this program.
Boston Educational Development Foundation, Inc. - $25,000 for the Boston Public Schools to build the capacity of the Office of Pilot Schools and for the Pilot Schools Fund to establish a protocol for both an intervention and support system as well as an oversight and accountability systems for Pilot Schools.
Achieving the Dream - $200,000 to renew the Achieving the Dream Massachusetts Initiative, part of a multi-year national initiative to help improve outcomes for students enrolled in community colleges.
The Boston Foundation - $15,000 for a consultant to help develop recommendations for the Foundation’s Family Engagement and Mobilization strategy through the recently launched Family Engagement Learning Network.
KIPP Academy Lynn Charter School - $25,000 to support costs associated with the hiring of a strategic planning consultant to develop an in-depth feasibility and execution plan for the expansion to a ninth through 12th grade KIPP Lynn High School in the fall of 2010.

Associated Grant Makers - $80,000 to support the Summer Fund, a donor collaborative that provides operating grants to summer camp programs serving over 20,000 youth annually from Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and Chelsea.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester - $50,000 to support a network of three clubs serving nearly 4,000 youth ages 6-18 for year two of its Strategies for Excellence Plan, aimed at enhancing the organization’s data collection and impact measurement process.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
– $50,000, for Mass in Motion, a statewide campaign to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
South End Community Health Center, Inc. - $25,000 to support the cost of overlap between the outgoing and incoming Executive Director to ensure a smooth transition.

The Boston Foundation - $25,000 to support a senior fellow in the area of housing and community development at the Foundation.
Dorchester Bay Housing and Economic Development Corporation - $25,000 to support its offender re-entry program which guides ex-offenders into stable work and housing and provides support services to them.
Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation - $25,000 for costs related to exploring a strategic collaboration with another community development corporation

Boston Foundation – $15,000 to support an employee matching gift program which matches employee charitable gifts up to a maximum of $500 per employee.

The Hyde Square Task Force
- $75,000 of unrestricted support (see related press release).

Boston Energy Alliance
- $250,000 to support the Boston Community Climate Action Task Force to chart the city’s collective response to climate change and the Renew Boston Initiative, to coordinate the provision of sustainable energy services to all Boston businesses and residents.
Centro Latino De Chelsea - $10,000, for a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle project.
Chelsea Green Space - $20,000, for the Clean Air Coalition.
East Boston Harborside Community School - $18,500, for the East Boston recycling education program, a bilingual recycling and trash education campaign.
East Boston YMCA - $21,500, for the Urban Ecology Project at Mario Umana Middle School Academy.
Mystic River Watershed Association - $15,000, to continue the Lower Mystic Initiative through water testing, volunteer recruiting and public education.
Neighborhood of Affordable Housing - $20,000, for the Know What’s Up program, a series of six concerts and events on environmental themes.
Piers Park Sailing Center - $25,000, for expansion of Science & Sailing into a curriculum and continued support of the Harbor Explorers program for young children.

Allied Health Initiative - $500,000 to support continued implementation of the Allied Health Workforce Initiative to build a pipeline of skilled health workers drawn from local communities through Partners Healthcare System, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in partnership with New England Baptist Hospital, and Boston Medical Center.