Boston Foundation announces quarterly grants with broad support for innovation in education

Boston Foundation announces quarterly grants with broad support for innovation in education

December 15, 2010

The Boston Foundation announced its quarterly grants today following a meeting of the Board of Directors. The Board approved $2.6 million in discretionary grants and, in addition, more than $10 million in grants from funds held by the Foundation.

Major grants continue to emphasize the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to innovation in education and the need for significant change within the Boston Public Schools. That includes a five-year commitment of $1 million in $200,000 increments to the NewSchools Venture Fund to support replication of charter schools with a track record of success.

A grant to the Campaign for Catholic Schools for $100,000 continues the Foundation’s multi-year support for Pope John Paul II Academy in Dorchester, expanding opportunities for youth in the neighborhood. Grants to Teach Plus and the Boston Public Schools will strengthen respectively an existing network of teachers who support reform, and the city schools’ communications.

The Boston Foundation has long been committed to using data to drive change, through the Boston Indicators Project and through a wide range of original research it sponsors.

A grant to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education supports the expansion of the culture of data and accountability with a $125,000 grant to track, measure and report on success rates at public institutions of higher learning, in support of the Vision Project, a major strategic initiative undertaken in 2010 by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

"This has been an exciting year for education in Massachusetts, beginning with important new legislation and including the state’s success in the national competition for Race To The Top federal funding, and our current set of grants seeks to build on this record of accomplishment," said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. "We expect to see the critical work of creating opportunities for youth through education moving forward and gathering momentum."

In addition to the core importance of consistent and reliable data reflected by this grant, it also underscores the creation of "pipeline" strategies by the Boston Foundation. These seek to make the whole arc of education a seamless process from early childhood education through higher education and adult training.

Out of the Blue

Each year, the Boston Foundation makes two unsolicited $100,000 grants to honor organizations that perform exceptionally well and serve critical needs for the city and region. The current recipient is Year Up, an intensive one-year training program that delivers key life and job skills to young people who are neither in school nor employed and who are between the ages of 18 and 24.

These urban young adults receive education, experience, support and guidance. In the first six months of the program, they focus on technical and professional skills with an emphasis on communication, teamwork, problem solving and leadership. Then each is placed in a six-month technical support or investment operations internship with leading area companies.

Founded in 2000 with a first class of 22 students, Year Up has since expanded to six metropolitan areas serving over 600 young people across the country. Fully 85 percent of Year Up graduates are placed in professional positions within four months of graduation, where they earn an average of $15.25 an hour.

Seeking greater health

A major initiative recently launched by the Foundation called Healthy People / Healthy Economy seeks to address the soaring rates of preventable chronic disease and parallel increases in the cost of health care that is crowding out investment in a host of critical sectors, from education to public health itself.

Grants in this area include $60,000 one-year grant to Body By Brandi 4 Kids, a program created by an entrepreneurial leader in Boston’s inner city who has raised the need for healthier lifestyles while expanding opportunities for exercise. A grant of $50,000 for Partners for Youth With Disabilities seeks to enhance the health and wellbeing for young people through the Making Healthy Connections program.

Grants that address the goal of creating vibrant neighborhoods with expanded opportunities for Boston residents are also included in the current docket. A Better City is the recipient of a three-year commitment at $60,000 per year to expand the Challenge for Sustainability program to create Boston’s leading environmental program for businesses, property owners and institutions. The Conservation Law Foundation received a two-year grant at $50,000 per year to support local food production in the city.

Organizations that support young people in the city through mentoring relationships received grants, including the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, which received a two-year grant of $75,000 per year for general operating support, and the Mass Mentoring Partnership, which also received a two year grant of $62,500 per year, also for general operating support.

Strengthening the nonprofit sector

A grant of $125,000 for general operating support was made to the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, which serves as an advocate and a sounding board for the Commonwealth’s community of nonprofits. A grant of $40,000 will strengthen the Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund at the Boston Foundation, which will be distributed through the year in the form of small grants to help nonprofit organizations in a timely fashion.

The strategies employed by the Boston Foundation in shaping its discretionary grants are designed to support the following end state goals: Greater Boston residents are successful and thriving; and Greater Boston neighborhoods and communities are vibrant, safe and affordable.

Grants made in the December docket

Strategy: Accelerate structural reform and promote innovation in public schools in Boston.

· Boston Public Schools, $85,000. A one-year grant. In partnership with the Barr Foundation, to support the creation and implementation of a communications strategy for the Boston Public Schools.

· Campaign for Catholic Schools, $100,000. A one-year grant, to complete three years of support for the creation of the Pope John Paul II Academy’s structural reform and help deliver high quality, low cost school option for students in Dorchester.

· Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education , $22,500. A grant to research and write the first in a series of white papers on education reform and school funding.

· NewSchools Venture Fund, $1,000,000. A five-year grant of $200,000 a year to contribute to a fund to support replication of charter schools with a track record of success in Boston.

· Stand For Children , $50,000. A one-year grant to organize teachers to obtain a new kind of teachers’ contract.

· Teach Plus , $75,000. A one-year grant to develop a network of reform-minded teachers and teacher leaders.

· Washington Monthly magazine , $25,000. A one-year grant to sponsor a magazine special issue on high-school dropouts and a forum featuring national thought leaders discussing the dropout crisis.

Strategy: Increase the college graduation rate for low income minority and first-generation college students from public schools in Boston.

· Massachusetts Department of Higher Education , $125,000. A one-year grant to increase the capacity of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to track, measure and report on success rates at public institutions and support the Vision Project.

· Project DEEP, $15,000. One-year grant to strengthen summer and after school enrichment programs.

Strategy: Promote career advancement and economic security of low-income individuals.

· Boston Earned Income Tax Credit Action Coalition , $225,000. A three-year commitment at $75,000 a year for the expansion of the Disability Initiative, a comprehensive integration of taxpayers with disabilities and their communities into all aspects of the Coalition’s free tax and asset building campaign.

· hopeFound, $150,000. A two-year grant at $75,000 a year to support the WorkFirst program.

· St.Francis House , $65,000. A one-year grant for the Moving Ahead program which provides job- and life-skills to individuals who have experienced homelessness, addiction, mental illness and/or incarceration.

· World Education, $100,000, A one-year grant to build and pilot a Boston Adult Opportunity Network with lead agencies partnered with Adult Basic Education providers to provide service to students and change the way public dollars are allocated.

Strategy: Invest in strategies that increase Greater Boston’s competitiveness, prosperity and efficiency, and create vibrant urban neighborhoods with opportunities for all residents.

· A Better City , $180,000. A three-year grant at $60,000 per year to expand the Challenge for Sustainability program to create Boston’s premier voluntary environmental program for businesses, property owners and institutions.

· Conservation Law Foundation, $100,000. A two-year grant at $50,000 per year to support local food production in Boston.

Strategy: Encourage healthy behaviors among Boston residents and increase access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity.

· Body by Brandi 4 Kids , $60,000. One-year grant for general operating support.

· Partners for Youth with Disabilities , $50,000. One-year grant to support the Making Healthy Connections program to enhance the health and well-being for youth.

· Health Leads , $50,000. One-year grant for general operating support.

Strategy: Increase neighborhood stability and the production and preservation of affordable housing for vulnerable populations.

· Heading Home, Inc. , $50,000. A one-year grant to support the Heading Home Partnership to End Family Homelessness program.

· Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants , $50,000. One-year grant to Boston Affordable Housing Coalition for general support of 32 member HUD tenant groups.

· Massachusetts Union of Public Housing tenants, $55,000. One-year grant for the Boston Resident Training Institute.

· University of Massachusetts Center for Social Policy Research, $500,000. A five-year grant at $100,000 a year for the Fairmount Corridor evaluation to explore the impact of investments along the Fairmount Corridor.

Strategy: Reduce the incidence of violence in Boston neighborhoods, especially among the young.

· Massachusetts Communities Action Network, $70,000. One-year grant to Organizing and Leadership Training Center to support work directed at youth violence prevention, youth jobs and adult education.

· ROCA, Inc. , $60,000. To support its High Risk Youth Intervention model in Greater Boston.

Strategy: Strengthen and celebrate the region’s diverse audiences, artists and nonprofit cultural organizations.

· Boston Foundation , $40,000. For the nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund for statewide advocacy for the arts and culture sector.

Strategy: Enhance the long-term vitality of the Massachusetts nonprofit sector.

· Massachusetts Nonprofit Network , $125,000. A one-year grant for general operating support.

Special Opportunity Grants

· Associated Grant Makers, $8,500 to support the AGM Diversity fellow program at the Boston Foundation.

· Be the Change, Inc., $50,000. A one-year grant to support the Opportunity Nation program to promote economic opportunity.

· Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Inc. , $150,000. A two-year grant at $75,000 per year for general operating support.

· Boston After School & Beyond, Inc. , $100,000. A one-year grant for general support of a partnership that seeks to link schools and the out-of-school sector.

· Boston Debate League, $25,000. A one-year grant for general support for the program.

· Boston Foundation, $150,000. A two-year grant at $75,000 per year to support the Boston Opportunity Agenda.

· Center for Effective Philanthropy, $60,000. A one-year grant to complete and analyze the Grantee Perception Report and the Applicant Perception Report.

· Mass Mentoring Partnership, Inc. , A two-year grant of $62,500 per year for general operating support.

· More Than Words , $150,000. A two-year grant of $75,000 per year to help empower youth who are in foster care, court involved, homeless or out of school.

· Wheelock College , $75,000. A one-year grant to support the Mattahunt Community Center for after-school and summer programming for children and families in Mattapan.

· Young Men’s Christian Association-Greater Boston YMCA , $25,000 to support the Egleston Square YMCA site.

· Youth Policy Initiative , $50,000. A one-year grant help develop a state-wide network of youth policy advocates and youth organizers.

Out of the Blue Grant

        ·  Year Up, Inc. , $100,000 for an unsolicited grant for general operating support.


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of $733 million.  In Fiscal Year 2009, the Foundation and its donors made more than $82 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of almost $83 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.