Boston Foundation launches Equality Fund to support initiatives for LGBTQ community

Community-advised fund to make first grants in 2013

June 7, 2012

Boston – The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, announced today the formation of the Equality Fund, a permanent, committee-advised, Field of Interest Fund with a mission to provide ongoing support to advance the equitable treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, and Queer (“LGBTQ”) people and their families in Greater Boston, and improve their quality of life over the long term.

The fund, a first of its kind in Greater Boston, will do this by supporting local organizations that deliver services and provide support to this community. It is expected to begin making grants in early 2013.

“The Boston Foundation has been proud to support LGBTQ organizations for decades, and this endowed fund is an enhancement of that commitment,” said Paul Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “Over time, the needs of the LGBTQ community have evolved, and no doubt new issues and challenges will emerge in the future. This Fund will serve as a new, permanent resource that expands the support available to help organizations address current and future needs, strengthens them in difficult economic times and ensures their long-term viability.”

The Fund was developed after careful consultation with leaders in the LGBTQ community, straight allies and prospective donors, and is designed with the expectation it will be flexible enough to evolve in its focus with the needs and issues of the community over time.


The Equality Fund will be stewarded by the Boston Foundation, but its grant making priorities and growth strategies will be guided by an Equality Fund Advisory Committee including members of the community, straight allies, donors and professional advisors in law, real estate, financial planning, philanthropy and related fields.

The Foundation has appointed Catherine D’Amato, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank and Scott E. Squillace, Esq., principal and founder of Squillace & Associates, P.C., an estate planning law firm, to initially co-chair the Advisory Committee. They are joined by nine other members from a variety of experience in the LGBTQ community.

The initial role of the Advisory Committee will be to help define the guidelines for the Equality Fund’s Requests for Proposals.

“The LGBTQ community in Boston and Massachusetts has long been a powerful voice for justice and equality nationally and internationally,” said Squillace, whose practice has long included a focus on the needs of same-sex couples and their families. “The development of this fund is a natural outgrowth of that history, and it is a proud moment for me to be a part of it.”

The list of members of the advisory committee can be found at the end of this release.


The fundraising efforts of the Equality Fund will focus on building a long-term endowment – with the expectation that the size of this endowment over time could reach millions. In order to serve more immediate needs, $500,000 in seed capital is being raised to launch and support the grantmaking function for the first five years.

BNY Mellon, Northern Trust and Eastern Bank have generously stepped forward as lead corporate donors to seed the fund, along with a number of individual donors. More foundation and corporate donations will be announced in the coming months.

“The establishment of the seed capital is a recognition that there are great opportunities to support organizations that can have an immediate impact on the LGBTQ community,” said D’Amato. “The Boston Foundation has a history of financial support for LGBTQ organizations, and this additional funding provides an immediate new impact that will expand further as the endowment of the Equality Fund takes shape.”

The expected timeline for the Fund includes community meetings this summer to get recommendations for an upcoming request for proposals. That RFP would be issued in the fall, with the first grants to be disbursed in 2013.

The Boston Foundation will follow its established competitive grants cycle to solicit and review proposals.  Foundation staff will present a slate of recommended organizations for the Committee’s review and approval later this year.  The Committee will recommend the final slate of organizations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors for its final approval.


The Boston Foundation has long provided grantmaking support to LGBTQ organizations, and the establishment of the Equality Fund will supplement those current activities. “Organizations concerned that the Equality Fund will simply replace dollars that were already a part of the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolio should rest assured this is an expansion of our support,” added Grogan. “The establishment of this Fund is an acknowledgment of a long-term opportunity to support worthy organizations and give donors interested in supporting LGBTQ causes a means to provide ongoing support to the community.”

The Boston Foundation offers donors a variety of ways to support the Fund.  It has a complete and robust planned giving program that offers life-income giving vehicles such as charitable remainder trusts and charitable gift annuities, as well as bequests and gifts of retirement plan assets and life insurance. The Foundation’s staff is also highly experienced in assisting donors and their advisors in determining the appropriate planned gift to meet each donor’s combined estate planning and charitable giving goals.

Any individual, family, or organization can contribute to the Equality Fund in a variety of ways:

  •  Planned Gifts – The Boston Foundation offers a full range of planned and legacy giving options.  Planned gifts may be made to the Equality Fund through bequests, retirement plan and life insurance gifts.  In addition, the Boston Foundation offers charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and charitable gift annuities, all of which may benefit the Equality Fund.  
  • Outright Contributions – TBF can accept all types of gifts into the fund including cash, publicly traded securities, restricted stock, real estate, and more.
  •  Donor Advised Funds – Donors with existing donor advised funds can recommend a grant to the Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation
  •  Succession Plans for Existing Giving Vehicles – Donors with a private foundation or donor advised fund can name the Equality Fund as the successor entity to their giving vehicle.


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of $850 million.  In 2011, the Foundation and its donors made almost $78 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $81 million. The Foundation is made up of some 850 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.

In 2012, the Boston Foundation and The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) merged, with TPI operating as a distinct unit of the Boston Foundation.  TPI pioneered the field of strategic philanthropic advising over 20 years ago and remains a national leader today. Through its consulting services and its work to advance the broader field of strategic philanthropy, TPI has influenced billions of dollars of giving worldwide. TPI’s Center for Global Philanthropy promotes international giving from the U.S. and indigenous philanthropy abroad.

For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.