The Boston Foundation announces $12.9 million in grants to Greater Boston organizations

Discretionary grants focus on supporting long-term efforts to address systemic racism and job inequities through support of advocacy, workforce-related programs ​

October 22, 2020

Boston– The Boston Foundation is pleased to announce its quarterly discretionary grants for the first quarter of FY2021, after a meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Directors last week. The Board approved $1,594,693 in single and multi-year discretionary grants to 19 organizations. The Board also acknowledged another $11,291,651 paid out between cycles through other discretionary programs and set-asides of the Foundation, as well as those grants from the Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund that have been announced in prior public statements.

In addition, the Board recognized $200,000 in grants to seven organizations from the Foundation’s Free for All Fund, established to ensure everyone from the Boston region—children, adults, families—will have regular and permanent access to the rich world of classical, orchestral music and related cultural events. The grants will help these exemplary organizations weather the pandemic and provide innovative, accessible programming.

“The pandemic has put a significant strain on nonprofits throughout Greater Boston, but they are attacking it with creativity, innovation and determination,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “These grants, in combination with our targeted COVID-19 support grants and the unprecedented generosity of our community of donors, are providing critical resources in support of organizations having a tremendous impact in difficult times.

The largest percentage of the grants docket this quarter targets support for organizations supporting jobs and the workforce, including support for a pair of initiatives housed at the Boston Foundation. A $350,000 grant to SkillWorks continues the Foundation’s support for the funders’ collaborative, which dates back more than a decade. SkillWorks continues to provide critical resources and expand employer engagement, focusing on job quality for graduates of workforce development programs each year.

The Foundation also is investing $150,000 in the operations of the Business Equity Fund. Housed at the Foundation, the Fund works in partnership with the Foundation for Business Equity and other organizations to provide patient investment capital for minority-owned business growth.

The Foundation is also investing in several organizations working tirelessly to advocate for economically vulnerable groups and sectors in the aftermath of COVID-19. Supported grantees include the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, the Emerald Cities Collaborative, Entrepreneurship for All, the Institute for a Competitive Inner City, and the Latina Circle (for its Amplify Latinx program).

Recognizing the critical need for advocacy on behalf of Massachusetts’ arts community, the Foundation also is making a two-year, $175,000 grant to MASSCreative, an organization the Foundation helped launch that is forming a broad-based network of artists and arts supporters to advocate for increased investment in arts and culture at the local, state and federal levels.

The Foundation is also pleased to announce a $150,000 grant from its discretionary grantmaking funds to the New Commonwealth Racial Justice and Social Equity Fund, founded by a committee of Greater Boston business executives of color to support transformative efforts to address systemic racism and racial inequality. founded by a committee of Greater Boston business executives of color to support transformative efforts to address systemic racism and racial inequality.



Arts and Culture

MASSCreative$175,000 two‐year general operating support grant to MASSCreative, an organization that works to engage and build the political strength of Massachusetts’ arts and cultural sector, for its efforts to organize a broad‐based action network that will advocate for increased investment in arts and cultural activities by federal, state and local leaders.


Education: College Completion

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology: A $50,000 one‐year project support grant to the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, for their Success Boston Liaison, which provides support to Success Boston coaches and students, to increase college persistence and graduation rates for graduates of Boston Public Schools.

Bunker Hill Community College: A $50,000 one‐year project support grant to Bunker Hill Community College Foundation, Inc. for their Success Boston Liaison, which provides support for Success Boston coaches and students at Bunker Hill Community College, aiming to increase college persistence and completion for graduates of the Boston Public Schools.

Northern Essex Community College: A $44,693 one‐year project support grant to Northern Essex Community College Foundation, a fiscal sponsor on behalf of the Massachusetts community colleges, to support the community college sector‐wide adoption of Handshake, a leading career services management platform.

Roxbury Community College: A $50,000 one‐year project support grant to Roxbury Community College for their Success Boston Liaison, which provides support for Success Boston coaches and students at Roxbury Community College, aiming to increase college persistence and completion for graduates of the Boston Public Schools.

University of Massachusetts Foundation/UMass Boston: A $50,000 one‐year project support grant to the University of Massachusetts Foundation, Inc. for UMass Bostonʹs Success Boston Liaison, which provides support for Success Boston coaches and students at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, aiming to increase college persistence and completion for graduates of the Boston Public Schools.


Jobs and Economic Development

Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Inc.: A $50,000 one‐year general operating support grant to Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Inc. (BECMA), an advocacy group for Black businesses with the mission to advance the economic well‐being of Black businesses, organizations that support the Black community, and Black residents of the Commonwealth.

Boston Foundation/Business Equity Fund: A $150,000 one‐year grant payable to the Boston Foundation for support of the Business Equity Fund (BEF), to support BEFʹs operations and capacity to provide growth capital to Black and Latinx companies in Greater Boston.

Boston Foundation/SkillWorks: A $350,000 one‐year grant to the Boston Foundation for general operating support for SkillWorks, an initiative that targets the Boston region’s skill gaps and systemic challenges by expanding employer engagement in healthcare, information technology/ technology, and hospitality to aggregate better labor market intelligence to inform training programs in the region.

Emerald Cities Collaborative: A $50,000 one‐year project support grant to Emerald Cities Collaborative, Inc., a national nonprofit network of organizations working together to advance a sustainable environment while creating high‐road – sustainable, just and inclusive – economies, for the Boston Vision for Equity, Justice, and Averting Climate Change program.

Entrepreneurship for All, Inc.: A $50,000 one‐year general operating support grant to Entrepreneurship for All, Inc. (EforAll), an agency with the mission to accelerate economic and social impact in Greater Boston communities through inclusive entrepreneurship.

Institute for a Competitive Inner City: A $25,000 one‐year project support grant to Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a national nonprofit research and strategy organization and the leading authority on US inner city economies and the businesses that thrive there, for its Boston Inner City Capital Connections program.

Latina Circle, d/b/a Amplify Latinx: A $50,000 one‐year general operating support grant payable to Latina Circle, Inc. for Amplify Latinx, a non‐partisan, collaborative movement whose mission is to build Latinx economic and political power by significantly increasing Latinx civic engagement, economic opportunity, and leadership representation across sectors.

Small Business Strong: A $25,000 one‐year grant payable to Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Foundation for Small Business Strong, a coalition of leaders in business, philanthropy and government committed to helping small businesses, especially those run by women and people of color, recover from the COVID‐19 pandemic.


Neighborhoods and Housing

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, Inc: A $75,000 one‐year general operating support grant to Citizensʹ Housing and Planning Association, Inc., an agency that encourages the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate-income families and individuals and to foster diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation: A $50,000 one‐year general operating support grant to Local Initiatives Support Corporation for LISC Boston, an agency that works to increase equity across Massachusetts, helping people gain the opportunities and skills they need to succeed, and improving the health, safety, and prosperity of the places they work, play, and live. Together with residents and community‐based organizations, they work to ensure that everyone has the chance to live in vibrant communities of choice and possibility.


Social Justice Ecology

Philanthropy Massachusetts: A $50,000 two‐year project support grant to Philanthropy Massachusetts to support the Drawing Democracy Fund, which brings together philanthropic partners to support grassroots leaders and organizations promoting a transparent and accountable redistricting process and empowering communities by creating fair voting districts.

TSNE MissionWorks:A $100,000 one‐year project support grant to TSNE MissionWorks, an organization that provides programs and services to build the knowledge, power, and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations, to support Boston’s Nonprofit Leaders of Color during COVID‐ 19.


Other/Unaligned Grants

New Commonwealth Racial Justice and Social Equity Fund: A $150,000 three‐year grant to the Boston Foundation for the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund, which was founded by a coalition of Massachusetts Black and Brown executives to make transformative societal changes by addressing systemic racism and racial inequity in Massachusetts.


Free for All Fund

The Board also approved $200,000 in grants from the Free For All Fund, which was created to ensure that everyone from the Boston region—children, adults, families—will have regular and permanent access to the rich world of classical, orchestral music and related cultural events.

For the Fall of 2020, the Fund targeted small and mid-sized organizations, awarding grants to:

A Far Cry
$25,000: Called a “worldwide phenomenon” by Boston’s WBUR, A Far Cry has nurtured a distinct approach to music-making since its founding in 2007. The self-conducted orchestra is a democracy in which decisions are made collectively and leadership rotates among the players (“Criers”). This structure has led to consistently thoughtful, innovative, and unpredictable programming — and impactful collaborations with celebrated performers and composers.

Atlantic Symphony Orchestra
$12,500: ASO’s mission is to bring a professional orchestra of the highest quality to the South Shore, provide excellent public performances, support the careers of outstanding classical musicians, and create a strong connection to the music and the people who make it.

Boston Baroque

$50,000: Founded in 1973 by Music Director Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque has garnered a global reputation for its lively, groundbreaking, emotionally-charged performances and recordings that bring early music to life for modern audiences. The ensemble performs Baroque and Classical music using period instruments and performance techniques that reflect the time in which the music was composed. Boston Baroque believes that Baroque and Classical music is music for all times.

Boston Modern Orchestra Project

$25,000: The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) is the premier orchestra in the United States dedicated exclusively to commissioning, performing, and recording music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. BMOP exists to disseminate exceptional orchestral music of the present and recent past via performances and recordings of the highest caliber. BMOP/sound, BMOP’s distinguished independent recording label, was created to provide a platform for BMOP’s extensive archive of music, and to provide widespread, top-quality, permanent access to both classics of the 20th century and the music of today’s most innovative composers.

Cantata Singers
$25,000: Cantata Singers is a Boston-based chorus and orchestra inspired by the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. Their concerts explore relationships in music from the 17th century to today and invite exploration of Bach’s profound and continuing influence on our music, our culture, and ourselves.

Castle of Our Skins
$50,000: Born out of the desire to foster cultural curiosity, Castle of our Skins is a concert and educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. From classrooms to concert halls, Castle of our Skins invites exploration into Black heritage and culture, spotlighting both unsung and celebrated figures of past and present.

Shelter Music Boston
$12,500: Shelter Music Boston presents classical chamber music concerts of the highest artistic standards in homeless shelters and other sheltering environments. Its goal is to promote community, creative interaction, respect, and therapeutic benefit. Shelter Music Boston believes that all people deserve access to the dignity, creativity, and passion of classical music, whether or not they have a home.

Selected other grants:

The Boston Foundation Board of Directors also acknowledged more than $1 million in payments or requests for payment made by special funds at the Foundation in accordance with the specific terms of each fund. These special funds have advisors/advisory committees that make recommendations for the re-granting of these funds. Other grants included:

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Massachusetts
$10,000: To provide sponsorship support for The Future We Dare Create: Rally with Angela Davis

Arts Connect International, Inc.
$10,000: For support of the Cultural Equity Learning Community

Bams Fest, Inc.
$15,000: For general operating support

$12,000: For GreenSight and The BASE Tech Immersion Internship

Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Inc.
$21,000: For general operating support

Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.
$17,100: For capacity building to support a merger plan

Boston Educational Development Foundation, Inc.
$5,000: For sponsorship support for the broadcast honoring the BPS Class of 2020

Boston Public Library Foundation, Inc.
$50,000: For the Boston Public Library Fund

Camp Harbor View Foundation
$50,000: For general operating support

Center for Labor Education and Research, Inc.
$10,000: For the Student Immigrant Movement, for the DACA Fund

Central Square Theater, Inc.
$25,000: As fiscal sponsor, to support Front Porch Arts Collective’s engagement with TDC to develop a strategic plan

Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation
$20,000: For general operating support for the Fairmount/Indigo Line CDC Collaborative

Empower Success Corps (Executive Service Corps of New England, Inc.)
$25,000: To equip ESC consultants with the skills and knowledge to integrate a DEI lens in their engagements

Foundation to be Named Later
$6,000: For sponsorship of the Business of Baseball Luncheon and Hot Stove Cool Music

Institute for Nonprofit Practice
$25,000: For support of the Tomorrow Fund

Interfaith Social Services, Inc.
$15,000: For support of the food pantry and food rescue programs

Latina Circle, Inc.
$25,000: For Amplify Latinx Technical Assistance for Latinx-owned Businesses

Lena Park Community Development Corporation
$15,000: As fiscal sponsor for Determined Divas’ Barbershops and Hair Salon Business Readiness Pilot Program

Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
$5,000: For sponsorship support for the virtual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace

Massachusetts General Hospital
$10,000: For support of the VotER Program

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Inc.
$5,000: For sponsorship of Give Liberty a Hand

Massachusetts Project 351
$10,000: For support of the Ambassadors Programming

Massachusetts Voter Education
$10,000: As fiscal sponsor, for general operating support for the work of the Collier Connection

New England Blacks in Philanthropy
$10,000: For support of Black Men Speak: Reflections on Racism in America. Where Do We Go from Here?

Parents Management, Inc.
$10,000: As fiscal sponsor, for Black Market Nubian, to support the Black Lives Matter mural in the Washington Street Corridor

Philanthropy Massachusetts
$5,000: For Massachusetts Census Equity Fund Rapid Response Grants

Project RIGHT
$10,000: For general operating support

Rosie’s Place, Inc.
$15,000: For support of food programs for homeless women and their children

Technical Development Corporation
$15,070: For a consultant to develop a business plan for Wee the People

TSNE MissionWorks
$20,160: For support of the COVID-19 Technical Assistance Fund

TSNE MissionWorks
$20,000: payable to TSNE MissionWorks as fiscal sponsor for the Building Movement Project Race to Lead Research

Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts
$10,000: For general operating support

Trustees of Tufts College
$30,000: For Civic Education Data for Reflection and Action: Early Dissemination of Massachusetts Civic Education Research Project

The Board also acknowledged several other grants announced previously in other Boston Foundation communications, including:

COVID-19 Response Fund: $5,781,500

My Summer in the City: $242,132

Latino Legacy Fund: $238,500

Live Arts Boston: $747,443

Massachusetts United for Puerto Rico: $1,314,000

Next Steps for Boston Dance: $20,250

Success Boston: $923,220

SkillWorks: $818,750