At mid-way point of its Centennial year, Boston Foundation raises $174 million for its Permanent Fund, towards goal of $200 million

July 20, 2015

Foundation also raises $122 million in donor advised funds and makes $110 million in grants by the close of its fiscal year

BostonThe Boston Foundation, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015, announced today that it already has raised $174 million toward a Centennial calendar-year goal of $200 million for its Permanent Fund for Boston. The Permanent Fund, which is Greater Boston’s first endowment fund, provides an ongoing source of funding for organizations focused on the most pressing needs of the city and the region. Today, it represents about a third of the foundation’s $1 billion in net assets. The Boston Foundation set a goal for raising $200 million in gifts, pledges and bequest intentions to the Permanent Fund by Dec. 31, 2015, the end of its Centennial year.

The $174 million includes $10 million in outright gifts of $1 million or more from several of Boston’s most prominent philanthropists, including Sandy and Paul Edgerley; Amos and Barbara Hostetter; Joseph E. Corcoran; Gururaj “Desh” and Jaishree Deshpande; and Paul and Patricia Gannon. Many of the remaining donations consist of planned gifts, mainly in the form of bequests, to be realized over time.

The Permanent Fund for Boston was established in 1917, two years after the Boston Foundation was founded, with a $4 million bequest from James Longley, a socially minded director of Boston Safe Deposit and Trust. He decided that the Boston Foundation was the ideal instrument for leaving his estate in a way that would ensure its future use for the benefit of the community he so dearly loved. That gift enabled the foundation to become the first community foundation in the country to make grants.

In the years since, hundreds of visionary and forward thinking Bostonians have left bequests to the Permanent Fund, allowing the foundation to continue its robust annual discretionary grant making that has provided resources for new ideas and positive change in the city. A unique role that it has played over the years is seed funding that has helped start more than hundred iconic Boston institutions, including WGBH-TV, the New England Aquarium, ABCD, the American Repertory Theater, the Greater Boston Food Bank, City Year, Citizen Schools, Year UP, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and the Boston Children’s Chorus.

In addition to raising the $174 million for the Permanent Fund, the Boston Foundation also raised $122 million in fiscal year 2015 -- between July 1 2014, and June 30, 2015 – primarily in donor advised funds, which are charitable giving accounts hosted at and managed by the foundation on behalf of individuals, families and organizations. The $122 million is a significant increase over the foundation’s fiscal year 2014 fundraising total of $112 million and is close to the record year of 2013 in which $130 million in funds were raised.

Aside from the Permanent Fund for Boston and donor advised funds, donors to the Boston Foundation invest in a number of giving vehicles to support their philanthropy, including field of interest and designated funds. The Boston Foundation provides advisory services, research and customized philanthropic consulting to its donors, whether they choose to focus giving in Greater Boston or elsewhere in the world.

The foundation, through the Permanent Fund and donor advised funds, also granted $110 million to nonprofits across Greater Boston and elsewhere in fiscal year 2015.

TBF Grants

“The generosity embedded in these numbers shows that support for our work remains strong,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “Boston has one of the most effective nonprofit sectors in the nation. And our fundraising and grant making show that our donors care deeply.”

Among the top recipients of Boston Foundation grants in fiscal year was the Boston Public School’s Human Capital Initiative, which last December was awarded $200,000 per year for three years. The initiative plans to increase the number of highly effective teachers in the city’s schools by restructuring the teacher evaluation process, improving recruitment efforts to attract talented teachers and developing other ways to strengthen the work of teachers in the years to come.

Also among key grantees were the nine organizations that received a total of $1.6 million in grants from the Boston Foundation, grants which were sourced from the White House’s Social Innovation Fund, which awarded a $2.7 million grant to the Boston Foundation last fall.

The nine recipients -- Bottom Line, the Boston Private Industry Council, College Bound Dorchester, Freedom House, Hyde Square Task Force, Match Beyond, Sociedad Latina, Steppingstone and West End House Boys & Girls Club -- are all part of the foundation’s Success Boston college completion initiative, which, starting in the fall of 2015, will increase to 1,000 the number of Boston high school students who are paired with coaches whose job it is to help the students get into and remain in college through graduation.

Other key grants during the fiscal year were made to the Arts Expansion project of EdVestors, which brings arts education to the majority of Boston Public School students; Camp Harbor View, which helps 900 children from low-income homes to attend summer camp; and My Summer in the City, a foundation initiative that helps social service organizations provide substantive youth activities and summer learning programming in Boston.

In fiscal year 2015, the Boston Foundation also established the Health Starts at Home initiative, which awarded planning grants to four health and housing coalitions that seek to improve children’s housing and health stability, while decreasing costs associated with homelessness, rehousing and healthcare.

The campaign to raise $200 million for the Permanent Fund for Boston was undertaken by the foundation as part of its year-long Centennial activities. A 100th Anniversary Gala Dinner will be held Dec. 2 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel to mark the end of the Boston Foundation’s Centennial year and to announce the results of its Permanent Fund campaign. More information about the gala celebration is available at or by emailing


The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of some $1 billion. In 2014, the Foundation and its donors made more than $112 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of nearly $112 million. In celebration of its centennial in 2015, the Boston Foundation has launched the Campaign for Boston to strengthen the Permanent Fund for Boston, Greater Boston’s only endowment fund supporting organizations focused on the most pressing needs of Greater Boston.  The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with nearly 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 serious 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. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.