Boston Foundation announces $10 million investment in workforce development programs

Collaborative investment expected to create new opportunities for 3,000 Boston-area residents

June 18, 2017

BOSTON, Massachusetts – Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, today announced that the Foundation and the Skillworks Funders Collaborative would commit $10 million over the next five years to strengthen workforce development programs serving a wide array of Boston-area residents. That investment is expected to create about 3,000 job placements.

“It’s difficult to imagine a better environment in which to focus investment on workforce development programs than the one we are experiencing right now,” said Grogan. “In a labor market that is creating demand for skilled workers, investments that yield college graduates or workers with industry-relevant competencies are the most effective way to fill those vacancies. That creates a win-win-win – for the employer, the employee and the region as a whole.

Grogan made his announcement at an event featuring Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh sponsored by TechHire Boston, an employer-led industry consortium convened to act as a central voice to identify and address employer hiring pain points and support solutions to closing the IT skills gap. TechHire Boston was founded last year by SkillWorks and the Boston PIC, in partnership with the City of Boston.

At the event, Mayor Walsh announced the city was investing $1 million in new and existing programs to prepare more than 500 Boston residents from underrepresented neighborhoods and pipelines to enter the IT/Tech pipeline.

“The mayor’s willingness to make a bold public investment in workforce development should inspire all of us in philanthropy to step up as well,” said Grogan. “We look forward to working in partnership with the city and other funders to create new opportunities for Boston’s diverse workforce.”

Today’s announcement builds on millions of dollars in workforce developments made by the Boston Foundation. The Boston Foundation hosts and co-founded Skillworks, and has invested $8 million in the initiative, and has funded millions of dollars in grants for workforce development and training programs. (Some example grants are listed at the end of this release.)

The announcement also comes just as new data from the Foundation’s Boston Indicators highlights the challenges and opportunities facing Boston residents trying to become a part of the city’s growing economy. One report, City of Millennials, noted that 8-in-10 white and non-white millennials both believe the Boston economy will do well or very well in the coming years. But more than 90% of Black and 70% of Latino millennials surveyed said they didn’t believe there were opportunities for people from every socioeconomic background.

The second report, Powering Greater Boston’s Economy, highlighted the challenges facing Latinos trying to access high-quality jobs, including lower levels of high school and college graduation, and in some cases, limited English proficiency.

“For all the valid talk of the Boston success story, we as a city will not fulfill our potential unless we make it possible for all Boston residents to share in that success. As our economy grows, these are investments that create new members of the labor force, with access to better jobs that can break the cycle of poverty,” said Grogan.


BEST Corp.: The Boston Foundation and Skillworks have given more than $500,000 to BEST Corp. for support of their innovative hospitality training and life skills programs. 

Commonwealth Kitchen: The Foundation has provided more than $275,000 in direct support for the development and expansion of Commonwealth Kitchen’s food incubator program in Dorchester.

English for New Bostonians: The Boston Foundation has been a long-time supporter of English for New Bostonians, providing more than $1 million in general operating support over the past decade to give non-fluent residents the English language skills they need to improve their opportunities in the workplace.

Jewish Vocational Service: The Foundation has been a long-time supporter of JVS. This year, the Foundation and its donors invested $320,000 in a Pay for Success Bond to fund adult education and workforce training services for 2,000 adult English language learners seeking employment or pursuing higher education.

New England Center for Arts and Technology: The Boston Foundation has provided $450,000 in general operating support grants since 2012 for NECAT to establish its culinary arts program and continue to broaden its workforce training offerings.


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 2016, the Foundation and its donors made $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $107 million. In celebration of its Centennial in 2015, the Boston Foundation launched the ongoing Campaign for Boston to strengthen the Permanent Fund for Boston, the principal endowment fund focused on the most pressing needs of Greater Boston. The Foundation is proud to be a partner in philanthropy, with more than 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, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct 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.

Established in 2003, SkillWorks is a nationally recognized funder collaborative in Boston that has impacted the lives thousands of low-income jobseekers and low-wage workers and has created a pipeline of workers for the region’s highest demand business and industry including more than 100 employers seeking talent for jobs in healthcare, biotech, construction, financial services, hospitality, green jobs and most recently, IT/Technology. Hosted and co-funded by the Boston Foundation, SkillWorks acts as a workforce intermediary that pools funding from public, private and corporate philanthropy to create a flexible set of resources steered towards innovative solutions across community based organizations, vocational training, community colleges and employers.