Boston Foundation announces $2.1 million in grants to Greater Boston organizations

October 13, 2017

Boston – The Boston Foundation announced its quarterly discretionary grants after a meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors this week. The Board approved $1,540,000 in single and multi-year discretionary grants to 23 nonprofits to be paid out beginning in October 2017. Of the 23 grants, three provide multi-year support. In addition, the Board approved another $547,428 in single-year Open Door grants to 23 additional Boston-area nonprofits.

“With this round of grants, the Boston Foundation reaffirms its commitment to Skillworks as a centerpiece of our jobs and workforce development strategy,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “For more than a decade, Skillworks has proven to be a powerful engine for helping low income individuals attain family supporting jobs and businesses find skilled workers, and we are pleased to continue our leading role. 

Skillworks received a $350,000 grant for the year, the largest single-year grant in the portfolio. 

In addition, the Boston Foundation is making a two-year, $250,000 commitment to MassChallenge, continuing the Foundation’s support in the startup accelerator’s efforts to give opportunities to women and underrepresented minorities from low-income neighborhoods to connect with Greater Boston’s innovation economy. Through this program, dozens of entrepreneurs have been able to take part in MassChallenge programs, and some have qualified for the accelerator’s main funding rounds. 

Other grantees in the Jobs and Workforce Development portfolio included a one-year, $75,000 grant to the New England Center for Arts and Technology to support their mission of training adults for jobs in the region’s growing food service industry, and a one-year, $50,000 grant to Resilient Coders, which has received national recognition for its program training young people ages 18 to 26 web coding skills, and then helps to place them in internships or jobs in the local economy.  

Education and youth-oriented programs again play a key role in the grants portfolio, headlined by a three-year, $375,000 grant to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, to support their efforts to bring more youth, including those with disabilities, into the Club so they can take advantage of its programs and services.  

And in the arts, the Foundation is making 13 grants, including a one-year, $100,000 grant to ArtsBoston as it looks to scale up its Network for Arts Administrators of Color Boston, and offer more programming around equity, diversity and inclusion in the arts in the region. 

The Foundation is also pleased to support public art along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, with a one-year, $75,000 grant that will support two public art installations, and the development of related programming, during the 2017-2018 season.  

Open Door Grants

The Boston Foundation is pleased to announce the first grantees from the second year of the Open Door Grants program. Designed as a means for organizations whose missions may not align with the Foundation’s five key strategy areas, Open Door Grants are one-year general operating support or project support grants for organizations doing important work throughout Greater Boston.  

23 grantees received grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. Grantees are eligible to apply for grants for two consecutive years – six of the 23 grantees are receiving a second-year renewal. 

Examples of the grantees include the Food for Free Committee, Inc., which received a $24,000 grant for its Family Meals program, which takes surplus prepared food from cafeterias and other locations and repackages in into single-serving heat-and-eat meals for people at risk of hunger and who have limited access to kitchens. 

Grantees also include a number of groups from outside the city of Boston, including the Chelsea Collaborative, Quincy, MA-based Madonna Hall/Maria Droste Services, RAW Art Works of Lynn, and the Haven Project. A full list of grantees and descriptions of their funded programs follows. 


Arts and Culture

Actors’ Shakespeare Project: A $20,000/one-year general operating support grant to support the project’s extensive community outreach, which includes the performance of 4-5 Shakespearean plays per season and community and neighborhood-based activities.  

Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston, Inc.:  A $50,000/one-year general operating  support grant to enable the organization to continue to provide a full suite of services to the arts community, including legal aid, fiscal sponsorship, 501(c)3 status, professional development programs and development of affordable space for the arts, the Creative Campus. 

ArtsBoston, Inc.: A $100,000/one-year general operating support grant to support general operations while it scales up its signature programs, including the Network for Arts Administrators of Color Boston, and free equity, diversity and inclusion workshops, and for the launch of the Audience Lab. 

ArtsEmerson: A $35,000/one-year project support grant to pilot their Community Partners project, which seeks to elevate small, local performance ensembles to envision and produce events in the organization's downtown venues while receiving the benefits of a full suite of technical, production, administrative, and mentorship support as well as to support a consultant to research viable models for this work going forward. 

Boston Dance Alliance, Inc.: A $15,000/one-year general operating support grant to fund their efforts to support the underserved dance community by helping dancers, choreographers, and dance organizations build partnerships in the sector, as well as share resources, information, and opportunities. 

Boston Lyric Opera: A $20,000/one year project support grant to support the organization during its strategic planning focused on building a dedicated performance space. 

Celebrity Series of Boston: A $25,000/one-year project support grant to support the Neighborhood Arts program, which brings Boston area artists in live performances, interactive workshops, and after-school programs to Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale, Roxbury, and the South End, in partnership with over 40 community organizations. 

Esplanade Association, Inc.: A $20,000/one-year project support grant to create a pilot program to expand their general offerings and increase opportunities for live arts and culture events on the Esplanade in 2018. 

Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, Inc.: A $50,000/one-year general operating support grant to pilot a program providing subsidized, tailored performance packages (covering performance needs, technical rehearsals, and regular rehearsals) and technical assistance for local performing artists/organizations at their main venue, the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Inc.: A $35,000/one-year project support grant to support Boston-based dancers through research, professional development, and performance opportunities and uplift the local dance ecology by connecting it to robust centers of dance outside of the Boston area.

The Record Company, Inc.: A $25,000/one-year general operating support grant to support a music incubator that serves Greater Boston's music scene by offering space and services for professional artists and community members to create and develop their art, across all genres and diversities, during a year of strategic development and planning.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Inc.: A $75,000/one-year project support grant to support the installation of two major art exhibitions, complementary public programming, and to continue its mission to engage and expand awareness of what public art can be.

StageSource, Inc.: A $15,000/one-year general operating support grant to help continue their mission to support and promote artists and organizations in Boston and Greater Boston's theater sector.

Education: Structural Reform

Boston Schools Fund: A $100,000/one-year general operating support grant to support its School Design Award Program, which helps schools plan for successful growth, and to build organizational capacity and sustainability.

Empower Schools, Inc.: A $50,000/one-year project support grant to develop a blueprint of what empowerment zones, networks of highly autonomous schools where principals and teacher leadership teams can design, implement, and continuously improve school programs to best meet their students' needs, could look like in Boston. 

Roxbury Latin School: A $50,000/one-year project support grant for its i2 STEM Week program, which engages teachers and students in various immersive learning experiences, based upon the engineering design process.

Jobs and Economic Development 

Skillworks/The Boston Foundation: A $350,000/one-year grant for general support of Skillworks, which invests in employer-driven training and placement strategies to help low-skill, low- and moderate-income residents move to family-sustaining jobs and help employers find and retain skilled employees.

MassChallenge:  A $250,000/two-year general operating support grant to the non-profit organization that runs the world's largest startup accelerator and competition program for high-impact and early stage entrepreneurs, to support their efforts to bring more women and underrepresented minorities from low-income, urban neighborhoods into Boston's innovation economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

New England Center for Arts and Technology, Inc.: A $75,000/one-year general operating support grant to support general programming and capacity building for their adult job-training programs in the food services industry. 

Resilient Coders, Inc.: A $50,000/one-year general operating support grant to continue efforts to teach web code literacy to young people (ages 18-26) from traditionally underserved communities and then hire them back to build websites for paying clients and connects them to internships or jobs with area companies. 

Nonprofit Effectiveness  

Institute for Nonprofit Practice: A $200,000/two-year general operating support grant to continue to transform communities by equipping the most promising nonprofit leaders with the skills, confidence, and resources they need to make their organizations effective, innovative, and sustainable.

The Neighborhood Developers: A $30,000/one-year project support grant to partner with Nuestra Comunidad to launch a jointly-owned management company that merges the operations of partner CDCs. 


Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Inc.: A $375,000/three-year general operating support grant with a focus on support for the Inclusion Program, which seeks to help more youth, both with and without disabilities, thrive and take advantage of all Club programs to help them achieve academic success and healthy lifestyles while building strong character and leadership.

OPEN DOOR GRANTS (all grants are one-year in duration): 

Boston College: $25,000 to develop skilled, community-conscious professionals in the field of real estate, to strengthen clinical, academic, & service learning connections between Boston College and Mattapan.

Boston Higher Education Resource Center: $20,000 to assist at-risk Latino, and other disadvantaged youth to gain access to a higher education, break the cycle of poverty, and become leaders in the community, for its Passport to College program.

Chelsea Collaborative, Inc.: $30,000 to continue efforts to empower Chelsea residents to enhance the social, environmental and economic health of the community and its people, and hold institutional decision makers accountable to the community. 

Coaching4Change: $10,000 to o expand C4C into Boston to serve 32 middle school students at The Mildred Avenue School. 

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company: $20,000 to continue mission performing the works of William Shakespeare in vital and contemporary productions free of charge to Boston's diverse communities and educating Boston-area youth about Shakespeare, theater and their own capacity for creativity. 

Compass Working Capital: $20,000 for the Compass Rent-to-Save Pilot in Cambridge Public Housing which will provide participants with financial education and coaching. 

HopeWell, formerly Dare Family Services, Inc.: $25,000 to support the launch of My First Place, a program to help young people transition to independence and self-sufficiency.

Eastie Farm: $20,000 to support their efforts to improve food access and community resilience through the development of urban agriculture to support greenhouse construction, maintenance and food growth inside the greenhouse.

Food for Free Committee, Inc.: $24,000 to support the Family Meals program, which takes surplus prepared food and repackages it into single-serving, heat-and-eat meals for people who are at risk of hunger and who have limited access to kitchens.

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center: $10,000 to continue their Asian Elder Drop-In Services.

Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc.: $20,000 to advance its Subsidy Loss Prevention Program which provides free legal representation to disabled individuals experiencing or facing homelessness.

Haley House, Inc.: $20,000 to be focused on its Haley House Rooming House Live-In Community.

InnerCity Weightlifting, Inc.: $30,000 to support their mission to reduce youth violence by connecting proven-risk young people with powerful opportunities, to expand programming.

La Alianza Hispana: $50,000 for the expansion of their Aliancianos Senior Center, providing support for seniors & adults with disabilities.

Madonna Hall/Maria Droste Services: $30,000 for capacity building support to hire additional staff to meet the expanding need for low-fee mental health care.

Mass Mentoring Partnership: $20,000 to provide its suite of cultural responsiveness training and T/A services to youth-serving organizations, businesses, and agencies throughout Greater Boston.

MEDIAGIRLS, Inc.: $15,000 to boost the self-worth of girls and young women by giving them the skills to create and analyze media for themselves, to expand staff capacity and allow the program to expand to more Boston-area schools.

Operation Peace Northeast, Inc.: $24,428 to meet increased need by expanding its Peterborough Senior Center, a drop in senior center in the Fenway.

Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project, Inc. (PAIR): $25,000 to support efforts to provide legal representation for asylum-seeking refugees and detained immigrants as well as know-your-rights trainings in the community, to expand staff capacity and the number of clients served.

RAW Art Works, Inc.: $24,000 to provide leadership development training aimed at sustaining and strengthening the organization during founder succession.

Squashbusters, Inc.: $20,000 to support their mission of challenging and nurturing urban youth - as students, athletes, and citizens - so that they can recognize and fulfill their greatest potential in life, for support of its Boston program.

The 1647, Inc.: $20,000 to support its three year training and coaching program which will implement a three-step family engagement strategy in schools with high-risk, underserved students.

The Haven Project, Inc.: $40,000 to further its mission to equip and empower unaccompanied homeless young adults between the ages of 17 to 24 in the areas north of Boston with the skills and support they need to become independent and successful, to support the organization as it builds its operational and management capacity.


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.