The Boston Foundation recognizes My Life My Choice at JRI with $50,000 grant

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Project is 36th recipient of an unsolicited ‘Out of the Blue’ grant to recognize nonprofit impact on Greater Boston

BostonThe Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, has announced the awarding of a $50,000 “Out of the Blue” grant to My Life My Choice, a project of Justice Resource Institute (JRI), to enhance and support its efforts to protect girls from commercial sexual exploitation.

The unsolicited ‘Out of the Blue’ grants are awarded by the Foundation to recognize exceptional leadership and programmatic excellence in regional nonprofits. My Life My Choice was selected by a cross-departmental process including all Boston Foundation staff.

My Life My Choice is taking on the issue of sex trafficking by mentoring and supporting those girls most at risk of being exploited in Boston and beyond,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “When one realizes that the most frequent ages for girls to be recruited into prostitution are between 12 and 15 years old, it highlights the critical need for the kind of mentoring and youth service training that My Life My Choice provides. We hope this funding helps strengthen and expand that critical work.”

"We are deeply honored and grateful to receive this award from The Boston Foundation,” said Lisa Goldblatt Grace, the Co-Founder and Director of My Life My Choice. “It comes to us at a critical time when more girls are being identified as having survived exploitation and needing immediate support.”

The centerpiece of My Life My Choice’s prevention effort is a 10-week group program for at-risk girls, which has been recognized as a national model for sex trafficking prevention. The group says more than 1,200 girls have been directly reached by their in-depth exploitation prevention efforts over the past decade, including more than 200 exploitation victims who have been paired with individual mentors to provide support and counseling. The project has also conducted training for more than 5,500 youth service providers to identify victims and sponsored broad-based community awareness efforts to highlight the magnitude of commercial sexual exploitation in Greater Boston and beyond.

My Life My Choice played a key role in advocacy for the passage of the Safe Harbor for Exploited Children law in Massachusetts. The law strengthens protections for victims of human trafficking, increases the punishment for offenders, and establishes a human trafficking task force to address policy recommendations for the issue.

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The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of more than $800 million.  In 2012, the Foundation and its donors made $88 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of close to $60 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with 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 that address the region’s most pressing challenges.  The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), an operating unit of the Foundation, offers special consulting services to philanthropists.  Through its services and its work to advance the broader field of strategic philanthropy, TPI has influenced billions of dollars of giving worldwide. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit www.tbf.org or call 617-338-1700.