Boston Foundation announces $1.4 million in grants to Greater Boston organizations

December 20, 2013

Boston Foundation and its donors pay out $22 million in grants in first three months of FY 2014.

Boston – The Boston Foundation announced its quarterly discretionary grants after a meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors. The Board approved $1,410,000 in single and multi-year discretionary grants to be paid out beginning in January 2014. Of the 12 grantees for the quarter, three are receiving multi-year grant support.

The December meeting also marked the first full board meeting for the Foundation’s newest member of the Board of Directors, Ronald O’Hanley, President of Asset Management for Fidelity Investments.

“With this round of grants, the Boston Foundation is pleased to continue its investment in the Fairmount Corridor, an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the revitalization of the Fairmount Commuter rail line to bring jobs, community improvements and economic strength to the more than 100,000 people who live along the line,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation.

New figures presented at the December meeting show the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year was an active one for the Boston Foundation and its donors – the Foundation distributed $22.0 million in grants and scholarships in the July-September quarter, including $14.5 million from the Foundation’s donor advised funds.

Strengthening inner-city neighborhoods

The Boston Foundation is continuing its commitment to improving the lives of residents in some of Boston’s most economically-challenged neighborhoods with a series of investments in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. A $250,000, one-year grant to the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative will empower that organization to establish the Fair Chance for Family Success Initiative pilot, an effort to create a model similar to that successfully used in Boston and elsewhere by the Family Independence Initiative, a TBF grantee that has created a program to give lower-income families a path to homeownership, savings and self-sufficiency.

The three-year pilot of the DSNI program will use a two-generation approach to build economic independence for 100 families in Year 1 of the pilot alone – creating a cadre of more stable, secure and resilient families in this evolving community.

The Foundation is also investing in two organizations that have played key roles in the development of transportation equity along the Fairmount Corridor, a nine-mile stretch of the Fairmount commuter rail line, which now provides expanded service and lower fares through some of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods.

A two-year, $150,000 grant to the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations will provide much needed operating revenue to the association, which provides critical advocacy and technical assistance towards the city’s network of community development organizations. The funding will help accelerate the CDCs’ ability to embrace Community Investment Tax Credits and continue MACDC's advocacy, policy, organizing and education work.

The Foundation is also providing a $35,000, one-year grant to the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, the group whose tireless work on behalf of Fairmount Corridor residents is credited most directly with the expansion of service along the Fairmount line. The funding supplements the most recent three-year grant to the Coalition from the Boston Foundation, which was approved by the Board in October 2011.

Investing in the arts

The Boston Foundation and its donors have invested an estimated $100 million in the arts in the past decade, and the grants approved in this quarterly docket continue that trend. The Boston Foundation has approved a $200,000, three-year grant to Company One, a critically-acclaimed theatre troupe which uses the artistic experience to foster social change, build community, broaden arts participation, and eliminate prejudice, sexism, homophobia, classism, and all other social divides.

The Foundation will also continue to invest in research of fundamental value to the Greater Boston arts community, with a set-aside of $75,000 for a follow-up to the 2004 report Culture is our Common Wealth and its 2007 follow-up, Vital Signs. The reports have provided in-depth reporting and analysis of the overall vibrancy and fiscal health of the Greater Boston arts and culture sector.

Investments in youth and young adults

The Boston Foundation continues its investments in the youth of Boston with a number of grants to youth service and empowerment organizations. The Foundation is continuing its support of Teach for America, Inc., with a $150,000, two-year grant that will allow TFA to expand its teacher corps and move its summer institute to Lawrence, Mass.

The Foundation also seeks to drive innovation in schools with a new partnership with Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, which will  create a research base to explore the links between student health and physical activity in school and improvements in academic performance.

The Foundation is also continuing its support for students moving into higher education and the workforce with support for the Posse Foundation – a $100,000, one year grant to work with 300 Boston scholars and over 300 local alumni to ensure their success in college and in their transition to the workforce. And the Foundation is providing a $125,000 grant to Jewish Vocational Service, Inc. to support their workforce development programs and strengthen the collaboration between JVS and the Boston Foundation to drive needed changes in the public adult education and workforce development.

A full list of discretionary grant approved by the Board of Directors follows (listed by strategy):

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

Teach for America, Inc.:  A $150,000/two-year general operating support grant to Teach for America, an organization that works to eliminate educational inequality by enlisting high achieving young leaders to teach for two years in high-need schools, to support its expansion in the Greater Boston area and the relocation of its Summer Institute to Lawrence, Massachusetts.

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

Posse Foundation: A $100,000/one-year grant for Posse Boston, a cohort-based college success program for under-represented students with academic and leadership potential, to support its work with 300 Boston scholars and over 300 local alumni, and to support the improvement and expansion of its career programming. 

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

Jewish Vocational Service, Inc.: A $125,000/one-year general operating support grant to Jewish Vocational Services, for its efforts to empower individuals from diverse communities to find employment and build careers, and to partner with employers to hire, develop, and retain a productive workforce, and to deepen its collaboration with the Boston Foundation in driving needed changes in the public adult education and workforce development systems.   

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

Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: A $150,000/one-year payable to Trustees of Tufts College for the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, an academic institution whose mission is to bring together biomedical, social, political, and behavioral scientists to conduct research, educational, and community service programs to improve the nutritional health and well-being of populations throughout the world, for the “Moving to Academic Success” research partnership between Tufts University and the Boston Foundation, which will promote physical activity for children’s health and academic success. 

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

Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Inc.: A $250,000/one-year grant to the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, an organization that empowers Dudley residents to organize, plan for, create and control a vibrant, diverse and high quality neighborhood, for the Fair Chance for Family Success Initiative pilot, a three-year place-based pilot which will build on the success of the Family Independence Initiative model of economic independence, using a two-generation approach for families across a range of incomes to increase family stability, economic mobility and economic security and resilience. 

Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, Inc.: A $35,000/one-year to the Four Corners Action Coalition, Inc., an organization that promotes neighborhood stabilization in the Four Corners neighborhood of Dorchester through resident organizing, positive youth development opportunities, promotion of economic development and collaboration with others, for general operating support as a supplement to three-year grant awarded by the Boston Foundation in October, 2011.

Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations: A $150,000/two-year general operating support grant to be paid in equal annual installments to the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), a membership organization, which acts as the advocacy and technical assistance provider for the Massachusetts community development movement, to provide technical assistance support to CDCs, specifically around the implementation of Community Investment Tax Credits and to continue MACDC's advocacy, policy, organizing and education work.

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

The Boston Foundation: A set-aside of up to $75,000 from FY14 funds as a follow-up to the Foundation’s 2004 Culture is our Common Wealth and 2007 Vital Signs reports, for costs associated with field research for the arts strategy at the Boston Foundation that will generate a report, updated analytic tools for use by nonprofits and funders, and a presentation for a forum at the Foundation in the fall of 2014.

Company One, Inc.: A $200,000/three-year general operating support grant to Company ONE, an award-winning fringe theatre company that unites the city’s diverse communities through innovative, socially provocative performance and the development of civically engaged artists.

Cross-Strategy and Special Opportunity Grants

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders: A $50,000/one-year grant payable to Park Square Advocates (d/b/a Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders), a legal rights organization focused on ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression, for general support of its Youth Initiative and to expand youth usage of its re-branded online information and referral service. 

John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Inc.: A $50,000/one-year grant to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library Foundation, Inc., an organization that provides financial support, staffing and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, to support the Kennedy Library Forums, free “town hall” style conversations that enrich the Greater Boston community by attracting world leaders from the fields of government, journalism, education, civil rights, science, the arts and literature, in 2014. 

Save the Harbor, Save the Bay, Inc.: A $75,000/one-year grant for general operating support for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, a nonprofit, public interest harbor advocacy organization made up of citizens as well as civic, corporate, cultural and community leaders and scientists, with a mission to restore and protect Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay, and the marine environment and share them with the public for all to enjoy.


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of close to $900 million.  Founded in 1915, the Foundation is approaching its 100th Anniversary.  In 2013, the Foundation and its donors made nearly $98 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of $130 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with some 1,000 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 that address the region’s most pressing challenges.  The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. Through its consulting and field-advancing efforts, TPI has influenced billions of dollars in giving worldwide.  For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI call 617-338-1700.