Boston Foundation announces first full quarterly grants since adopting a new strategic vision in September

Support for increasing college success for Boston students,building career opportunities and creating access to healthy food and exercise

March 29, 2010

Boston – The Boston Foundation announced quarterly discretionary grants today totaling $2,837,000, following a meeting of the Board of Directors. This is the first full docket of grants awarded following a significant change in grant making announced in September of 2009, and the grants include a mix of general operating support and program-based grants in seven of the nine strategic areas developed by the Foundation to address critical issues for the region and its inhabitants, as well as special opportunity grants.

The use of a set of nine principal strategies to which grantmaking is increasingly aligned was announced in September of 2009, capping years of close examination of issues deemed to be of greatest significance to the region and strategies that have demonstrated their effectiveness.

The largest group of grants this quarter, totaling $1,314,000, was applied to the second strategy, to “Increase the college graduation rate for low-income, minority and first generation college students from public schools in Boston.” This included support for programs that give Boston school students a range of support services to better enable them to get into college and to succeed there and continued support for the region’s community colleges, through the Achieving the Dream initiative. The second largest group of grants this quarter, totaling $250,000, went to programs that encourage healthy behaviors among Boston residents and increase access to healthy food and opportunities for more exercise.

Overall, the new guidelines are designed to increase the impact of the Foundation's work, incorporating a strategic focus on the people and places of the region seeking to enable Greater Boston residents to be successful and thriving, and Greater Boston communities to be vibrant.  (See the Strategic Focus section of the Foundation website to learn more about the new goals and strategies.)

The first of those goals has two objectives associated with it: to improve the outcomes for Boston’s residents across the education pipeline; and to increase the health and wellness of Greater Boston residents. The second goal has three objectives: To increase the livability, affordability and safety of Greater Boston neighborhoods; to enhance civic and cultural vibrancy in Greater Boston; and to increase job growth and economic competitiveness for Greater Boston.

Innovative programs

Included in the current docket is an innovative program that supports efforts by low-income families in Lynn and Chelsea to save money for future college expenses, through Families United in Educational Leadership. Also receiving funding are programs that build upward mobility for Massachusetts youth and adults to prepare them for high-demand careers  and research that will result in a progress report on the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages—ESOL programs—to establish a baseline of accomplishment within the career advancement strategy.

Among grants to strengthen the region’s arts and culture sector are support for the community outreach initiatives of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, Inc., which seeks to encourage musical excellence among qualified students in grades K-12.

Grants grouped by strategy

Following are grants awarded by the Boston Foundation Board of Directors at their meeting on Match 30, gathered together in association with the strategy they are designed to advance.

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

  • $285,000 to The Boston Foundation to support the Achieving the Dream Initiative, a multi-year national program sponsored by the Lumina Foundation and aimed at helping more community college students earn degrees or transfer to other institutions to complete their studies, for an evaluation of the initiative.
  • $100,000 to  Families United in Educational Leadership  for the first of two annual payments to La Vida, Inc., for a family college savings program expansion in Boston and continued programming in Lynn and Chelsea.
    $200,000 to the  ACCESS Foundation for a one-year grant for general operating support, to continue and expand its Success Boston participation through financial aid advising and support, coordination of Success Boston coaches and management of a high school advising program.
  • $150,000 to the Bottom Line Foundation for a one-year grant for general operating support to implement a strategic plan.
  • $150,000 to The Education Resources Institute, Inc. for a one-year grant for project support for continued participation and expansion of programming for SuccessBoston.
  • $125,000 to Freedom House, Inc. , for a one-year grant for general operating support grant for implementation of its strategic plan, capacity building and expansion of PUSH, a college transition support program.
  • $154,000 to Hyde Square Task Force, Inc. , for a one-year grant to expand its SuccessBoston program, a college transition support program.
  • $150,000 to the Private Industry Council , for a project support grant payable over one year for continued and expanded transition support for Success Boston, the college completion initiative.

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

  • $40,000 one-year project support grant to the Boston Foundation SkillWorks Fund to support the Community Health Worker Initiative to strengthen the professional identity, job stability and opportunity for career advancement in the community health worker field.
  • $100,000 for the first of two years of support to National Human Investment Network, Inc., for Commonwealth Corporation , an agency that seeks to build upward-mobility pathways for Massachusetts youth and adults to prepare them for high-demand careers. Together with other regional partners, this grant will support the ESOL Progress Report and the Improvement of Sector-based Evaluation Methods program, to establish a data baseline within the career advancement strategy.
  • $75,000 to National Center for Arts & Technology for a Boston Feasibility Study to replicate its model for vocational training, arts education and community development.

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

  • $50,000 to the Boston Food Council in the Office of the Mayor, City of Boston, for research and non-staffing costs for the Council, to ensure access to healthy food and to expand food sources for local residents and businesses.
  •  $75,000 to Health Resources in Action for the Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership Grants program, a state program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, to support efforts in the Foundation’s geographic service area, with $25,000 directed to a Boston neighborhood. 
  • $100,000 to Massachusetts Public Health Association for the first of three annual general operating support grants.
  • $25,000 to Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Inc. , to support a white paper on reducing costs at the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services without reducing services.

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

  • $30,000 to Fenway Community Development Corporation for project support.  
  • $100,000 to Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations for general operating support. 
  • $80,000 to Mattapan Community Development Corporation for general operating support.

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

  •  $75,000 to Ella J. Baker House to support programs.
  •  $75,000 to Project R.I.G.H.T. for community outreach and engagement activities.
  •  $25,000 to Stop Handgun Violence, Inc. , for general operating support.

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

  • $100,000 to Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Inc., for general operating support and to support the effort to present free, live classical music to metro Boston residents and visitors.
  • $75,000 to Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, Inc . for project support to support the community outreach initiatives of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, Inc., to provide orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians in grades k-12. 
  • $30,000 to Chorus America Association for the Chorus Management Institute to be produced in Boston in 2010.

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

  •  $150,000 to the Workforce Strategy Center, Inc., for the Regional Workforce Development Plan for Community Colleges, which will seek to align these institutions with local industry needs.

Included on the docket are special opportunity grants which are not aligned with a specific strategy. These include.

  • $50,000 to Associated Grant Makers to support the 2010 AGM Summer Fund, a funder collaborative promoting access to quality summer programming for Greater Boston youth. 
  • $15,000 to the Boston Foundation to support the Employee Matching Gifts program.
  • $25,000 to the Boston Foundation to support the Boston Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Summit, which convenes the region’s leading business and civic leaders to discuss and share best practices regarding philanthropy and engagement of the local business community
  • $3,000 to the Council on Foundations for support of the Leadership Team’s Plan of Action, a series of programs and services for local community foundations
  • $100,000 to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Inc. , for a one-year grant to provide support for its public forums in 2010.
  • $25,000 to Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers for the first year of a three-year grant for the Patient-centered Medical Home Initiative, which seeks to transform community health centers into patient-centered medical homes.
  • $100,000 to Save the Harbor, Save the Bay, Inc., for its Better Beaches Initiative.


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with assets of $682 million.  In Fiscal Year 2009, the Foundation and its donors made over $95 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of over $81 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.