Equality Fund

The Equality Fund

For the community; for the future

The Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation awards grants to Greater Boston nonprofit organizations that serve and strengthen the LGBTQ+ community.

The grantmaking process is guided by the Equality Fund Advisory Committee, made up of members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies who possess a deep understanding about the most pressing issues affecting our community today.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, 2021 grants will be awarded for general operating support only, rather than our past practice of supporting specific projects. It is anticipated that grants will range from $5,000 to $7,500. Applications will be evaluated based on the organization’s mission, programs, and sustainability; the organization’s ability to deliver the services for which it is requesting funding; and the needs of the communities served (with particular emphasis on the communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic).

Grants have generally been awarded in June of each year - however, depending on how the crisis evolves, funds may be disbursed at an earlier date. It is recommended that grantees track data and/or information about the success and/or limitations of their work.

Equality Fund LOGO

  Key Information

Founded: 2012, as the first endowed LGBTQ fund in Boston

Grantmaking: Most grants made annually, with decisions announced in June

Read the 2020 Equality Fund grants announcement

Information for donors

About the Fund

The Equality Fund at the Boston Foundation was created in 2012 as an endowed fund to support Greater Boston nonprofit organizations that serve and strengthen the LGBTQ community. 

Stewarded by the Boston Foundation, the Equality Fund's grant-making priorities are guided by an Advisory Committee of community members and allies who possess a depth and breadth of understanding about the most pressing issues affecting LGBTQ people today. The Equality Fund is a Field of Interest Fund within the Boston Foundation’s endowment, the Permanent Fund for Boston, which fuels all of the Foundation’s local grant making. Gifts made from the Equality Fund will always go to benefit Greater Boston’s LGBTQ community.

This unique fund is already having an impact on the LGBTQ community of Greater Boston, with a focus on innovative programming aimed at pressing and emerging issues. To date, nearly 100 grants ranging in size from $3,500 to $15,000 have been made to LGBTQ organizations and organizations with a focus on LGBTQ programming.

Congratulations to the 2020 Equality Fund grantees

With COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of the 2020 Equality Fund Pride celebration, Fund co-chairs Elyse Cherry and Catherine D'Amato were joined by Paul Glass of LGBT Elders of Color and grantees Grace Sterling Stowell of BAGLY and Cameron Van Fossen of Y2Y Network on a celebration announcement and video message.

2020 Grantmaking

In 2020, the Equality Fund announced its largest slate of grants in history - 33 grants totaling $165,000 to LGBTQ+-serving organizations. Grants were announced as they are each year in June during Pride, but in an effort to ensure the nonprofits were able to access the funds when needed during the COVID-19 crisis, the Advisory Board accelerated approval of the grants so they could be issued in April.

The 2020 grantees of the Equality Fund each received $5,000. They include:

Bisexual Resource Center: Committed to providing support to the bisexual community and raising public awareness about bisexuality and bisexual people.

Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program: Provides and ensures access to the highest quality health care for all homeless individuals and families in the Greater Boston Area.

Breaktime CaféTackles and prevents long-term chronic homelessness through early intervention and providing accessible pathways to launching a career through transitional employment and empowerment. 

Bridge of Central Massachusetts Inc. (Open Sky Community Services): Works in partnership with the individuals, families, and the communities it serves to achieve life-long learning, self-determination, meaningful relationships, productive work, and community living through psychosocial interventions and practices.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Inc.: Provides effective and innovative services to runaway, homeless and high-risk youth, helps youth avoid a lifetime of dependency on social services, guides youth towards self-sufficiency, and enables youth to transform their lives and build fulfilling, meaningful futures.

Children’s Friend, Inc.: Provides the highest quality services designed to meet the mental and emotional needs of children, young people, and families whose lives have been affected by difficulties including abuse, neglect, family instability, death, substance abuse, and mental, emotional, and behavioral problems.

Coro AllegroDedicated to providing access to choral music to broad audiences, to commissioning and performing works by diverse composers, and to serving as a model LGBTQ+ organization through artistic excellence and visibility.

EthosAssists the elderly and disabled to live at home, primarily in the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Hyde Park and Mattapan.

Fenway Community Health Center, Inc.: Enhances the well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community and all people in surrounding neighborhoods and beyond through access to the highest quality health care, education, research and advocacy. 

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Inc.: Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc.: Greater Boston Legal Services helps low-income families and individuals secure the most basic necessities of life: shelter, safety, food, and stability.

Health Law Advocates, Inc.: Provides pro bono legal representation to low-income residents experiencing difficulty accessing or paying for needed medical services.

Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged [Hebrew Senior Life]Delivers a wide range of outpatient, inpatient, and in-home care to seniors, at any stage in their life’s journey.

History Project, Inc.: Focused exclusively on documenting and preserving the history of New England’s LGBTQ communities and sharing that history with LGBTQ individuals, organizations, allies, and the public.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater BostonSeeks to support and empower individuals and families to engage, to participate actively in the life of their communities, to live inspired, and to inspire others. 

Keshet, Inc.: Works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and their families in Jewish life, while strengthening Jewish communities and organizations.

Mass Trans Political CoalitionDedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. It educates the public, advocates with state, local, and federal government, engages in activism, and encourages the empowerment of community members through collective action.

Massachusetts Asian + Pacific Islanders (MAP) for HealthProvides health counseling and support, referral and screening services, and general health promotion and advocacy for APIs in the Boston metro area and beyond. 

New Boston Pride Committee, Inc.:Produces events and activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect, and awareness in Greater Boston and beyond. Fostering diversity, unity, visibility, and  dignity; they educate, communicate, advocate, and strengthen community connections.

New Dance Complex Inc. [Fiscal Sponsor of Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion]: The Dance Complex supports the creation, study, and performance of dance. Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion (PDM), is a dance/theatre production company, comprised of several intergenerational dancers and dance-makers. Their work, spanning decades, has included the lives of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, from the early days of the AIDS crisis mid-’80’s, to some of the first works to include a spectrum of the community, including trans artists over 20 years ago.

North Shore Alliance of Gay & Lesbian YouthNAGLY’s mission is to honor, teach, respect, and empower LGBTQ youth via weekly support meetings, educational opportunities, social events, creative projects, activism, and civic engagement.

Partners Healthcare System, Inc. / Massachusetts General HospitalThe Transgender Health Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is dedicated to providing gender-affirming care, including comprehensive primary care, endocrine/hormone management, case management, and links to behavioral health and surgical services. 

Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR) ProjectServes low-income asylum-seekers from across the world, unaccompanied minors, and immigrants who are unjustly detained, guiding them through the first step on the journey to becoming United States citizens.

Respond, Inc.: RESPOND partners with individuals, families and communities to end the serious public health issue of domestic violence. RESPOND strives to achieve its mission through prevention, intervention and education services that promote safe, healthy relationships.

Roxbury Youthworks, Inc.: Helps youth who are caught in cycles of poverty, victimization and violence to transition successfully into adulthood. 

SamaritansAims to reduce the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, distress and suicidal feelings among individuals in the community, 24 hours a day, and to educate the public about suicide prevention, thus reducing the stigma associated with suicide.

Silver Lining Mentoring: Empowers youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills.

South Coast LGBTQ Network Inc.: Seeks to build and maintain a comprehensive support network for LGBTQ individuals and families across the age spectrum.

SpeakOUT BostonSpeakOUT is a community of speakers working to create a world free of homo-bi-transphobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of their lives. They train individuals and organizations to use public speaking as a means of creating positive cultural change and conduct educational programs about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual lives and issues.

Strong City Baltimore [Womxn of Color Weekend Provincetown]: Womxn of Color Weekend strives to elevate, strengthen, educate and celebrate the experiences of LGBTQ+ women of color, trans- people of color, non-binary people of color, gender-fluid people of color and our accomplices.

The Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (BAGLY): The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, is a youth-led, adult-supported social support organization, committed to social justice and creating, sustaining, and advocating for programs, policies, and services for the LGBTQ+ youth community.

Tiffany Club New EnglandTCNE’s primary mission is that of being a social and support club for transgender peoples in the New England region.

Transgender Emergency Fund of MassachusettsWorks for the safety and well-being of low income and homeless Transgender residents in Massachusetts. It provides homelessness prevention services, shelter assistance, nutrition assistance, prescription co-pay assistance, and transportation/ escort to medical appointments.

LGBT Report Cover Click to read "Equality and Equity"

  Fund Advisory Committee

David AronsteinConsultant and Community Leader

Nineequa Blanding, Vice President of Grantmaking, Health Resources in Action

Eric Brown, Senior Vice President, KeyBank

Elyse CherryCEOBoston Community Capital

Wendell ChestnutSenior Vice President, Commercial Banking, Bank of America

Catherine D'Amato, President and CEO, Greater Boston Food Bank

Jude Erondu, Analyst, Pathstone Federal Street

Arlene FortunatoSenior Vice President for Advancement, Greater Boston Food Bank

Dean HaraConsultant and Community Leader

Billy LagorInterim Chief Growth Officer, The Juice Plus+ Company

Andrea LightSenior Director, U.S. Knee Commercial Marketing, Smith & Nephew

Cameran Mason, Chief Development Officer, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Alexandra Schuman, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Alexion 

Ellen WadeCounsel, Wade Horowitz LaPointe & Days LLC

Charles Walsh III, Managing Director, Pathstone Federal Street


Information for Donors

The Equality Fund launched with a goal of raising $500,000 by 2017. The Boston Foundation provided $250,000 in challenge grants for the Fund to begin the process of building the Fund endowment. has exceeded its goal of raising $500,000 by 2017. The Foundation thanks Eastern Bank, BNY Mellon and Northern Trust, as well as individual donors, for their commitment of funds in support of the Equality Fund and its grant making.

To date, The Equality Fund has already documented some $7,000,000 in testamentary gifts, which will ensure that the fund is a robust resource for the LGBTQ community over the coming decades.

Any individual, family or organization can contribute to the Equality Fund in a variety of ways:

  • Planned Gifts – The Boston Foundation offers a full range of planned and legacy giving options. Planned gifts may be made to the Equality Fund through bequests, retirement plan and life insurance gifts. In addition, the Boston Foundation offers charitable remainder trusts, and charitable lead trusts, all of which may benefit the Equality Fund.
  • Outright Contributions – The Boston Foundation can accept all types of gifts into the fund including cash, publicly traded securities, restricted stock, real estate, and more.