Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness receives $50,000 Out of the Blue grant

July 31, 2019

Boston – The Boston Foundation today announced that the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness (MCNAA) has been selected by a Foundation staff vote as the winner of the 2019 Out of the Blue grant, an unsolicited $50,000 grant recognizing a deserving nonprofit.

Members of the Boston Foundation staff nominate and then vote on recipients for the annual Out of the Blue grants. MCNAA plays a critical role in ensuring that the state’s historically marginalized Native American population is recognized and provided with needed resources. The organization assists Native American residents with basic needs and educational expenses; provides opportunities for cultural and spiritual enrichment; and increases public understanding and awareness about authentic Native American history and culture.

“As noted in our recent Changing Faces report, Native American populations in Massachusetts face significant challenges securing housing and economic mobility, and preserving and celebrating their histories and cultures,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “It is equally true that efforts to support Native American populations have been under-supported by both government and philanthropy. We are pleased to be able to present this Out of the Blue Award to MCNAA to further its ongoing work.”

The Boston Foundation team surprised MCNAA with a call informing them of the grant “out of the blue” last week. The Center relies on a strong corps of over 50 volunteers for much of its work, in conjunction with a board comprised of seven members from different Native American nations who reside in various towns and cities throughout the Commonwealth, and a 6-member Advisory Council made up of community members.

Longtime Board Member of the MCNAA, Anthony Sky Hawk Silva (Nipmuc) who took the call from the Foundation, has served on the Board since 2003.

“We are surprised and delighted to receive this news from the Boston Foundation,” said Silva. “This grant opens up a number of opportunities for MCNAA to continue and expand our work for the Commonwealth’s Native American population. As a small, locally-led organization, this grant provides an unexpected but truly welcome boost to our fundraising efforts.”

Out of the Blue grants were first presented in 2002. Nominations for the grant are made by Foundation staff members, and all nominees must meet the award criteria. Out of the Blue grant recipients must:

  • Demonstrate courageous and effective leadership within the organization, and an impactful leadership role in the community;
  • Align with the mission and value statements of the Boston Foundation;
  • Be committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in their programs, leadership and/or operations;
  • Be located in and serving Greater Boston, or directly impact Greater Boston.

Organizations may only receive an Out of the Blue grant once.

In recent years, MCNAA has also received support from the Boston Foundation through the Open Door Grants and Vision Fund programs. For more information on Boston Foundation grants programs, visit