New homeowner stands at apartment door, thanks to open door grant

Open Door Grants

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Note: Several changes have been made to the Open Door Grants program in response to COVID-19, to be more responsive to the evolving needs of Greater Boston nonprofits. Please read the website fully before beginning an application. As we continue to work remotely, please email LGb28Hq10yvJJdV8k9iHnqh6rBy97/y+0ivWeUdZ4dXz4YFRUvmbCye2676gXOhQcO8QUavuMSYoPz2xAqFdx/TXB0rmBRa23joOwZTsnLXtdLMhVD8P7DrzFwVjZy91zIPA/0viidZ8Opr23rP7oAG0QBcckPb8D8UxhJ9UapE= with questions or to set up a phone call.

Responding to the ideas and needs of the community

To complement our program area-targeted approach — the five Impact Areas — the Boston Foundation distributes a portion of its resources via the Open Door Grants program, which responds to expressed opportunities and needs in the communities we serve.

We encourage new and existing nonprofit organizations in Greater Boston that are not currently aligned with the strategies, goals and approaches pursued in the Foundation's five Impact Areas to  consider Open Door Grants for support of their efforts to meet existing needs or test new ideas and innovations that address the most critical challenges and biggest opportunities facing our community.

Open Door Grants are especially focused on organizations serving and building power in communities historically excluded from institutional philanthropy and whose leadership reflects the communities they serve.

 Key Information

Next Application Deadline:
The Fall 2020 application period has ended. Applications will open at the end of 2020 for applications to be considered by our February 1, 2021 deadline.

Open Door Grants FAQs

Watch a recording of the August 19, 2020 info session

Funding Considerations

Learn more about the evolution of ODG in our City of Ideas blog

Experiencing technical difficulties with the application?
Click here

ODG basic grant info

Program Eligibility

What Support is Available?

New grant commitments through Open Door Grants are $50,000 two-year general operating support grants, paid in two equal annual installments of $25,000.

If you are a current grantee (received funding December 2019 or June 2020) please review the Renewals section below to learn how to apply for a second year of support.

Who Is Eligible?

An eligible applicant would be an existing or new organization that:

  • Primarily serves and builds power in communities historically excluded from institutional philanthropy within the cities and towns of the Foundation’s catchment area;
    We are especially interested in supporting the following communities: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals and communities; immigrants (including undocumented); elders; individuals with disabilities; survivors of domestic abuse; and/or incarcerated and returning citizens.
  • And meets the following criteria:
    • Is not in direct conflict with the strategies, goals and approaches pursued by the Foundation’s five impact areas.
    • Has not submitted an application within the past 12 months
    • Has a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit designation from the IRS or operates under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit (Your organization is responsible for having that relationship in place before submitting an application.)
    • Aligns with the Foundation’s Values Statement, which seeks to broaden participation; foster collaboration; and heal racial, ethnic and community divisions
    • Does not discriminate in the hiring of staff or the provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability

While not an eligibility requirement, in using a racial equity lens in our grantmaking, Open Door Grants are especially focused on supporting organizations whose leadership reflects the communities they serve, and organizations engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion practices, programs and/or initiatives.

Exclusions

The Boston Foundation does not make grants for capital construction costs, endowments, medical or academic research, scholarships, sectarian or religious purposes, or to support candidates for political office. Private non-operating foundations, 501(c)(4) organizations, and Section 501(a)(3) Type III Non-functionally Integrated organizations are not eligible to apply. In addition, grants are not made to individual persons or individual schools. Schools must apply through their school districts and districts may submit one application every 12 months.


Funding Rate

Due to the open and responsive nature of Open Door Grants, the program is very competitive and demand far outpaces available resources. Typically, we are only able to support 17% of requests.

ODG grantee demographics

 

Deadlines

The Foundation considers applications biannually for Open Door Grants. The upcoming application dates are listed below:

  Application Deadline Applicants Notified (by email)
 Fall 2020 ended September 10, 2020 Mid-January 2021
Spring 2021  February 1, 2021 Late June 2021

We do not accept more than one application per 12-month period. If you have any questions regarding when your organization is eligible to resubmit an application for funding, please email us and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.


How to Apply

If after reading the eligibility requirements and funding considerations, you are interested in applying for the Open Door Grants program, we welcome you to submit an online narrative application (there is no Letter of Interest).

A pre-conversation is not necessary to apply for an Open Door Grant; however, if you have questions please email us and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

The Open Door Grants team strives to be conscious of accessibility in technology. If you have difficulty accessing our application or need accommodations to complete the application, we encourage you to reach out to us directly at LGb28Hq10yvJJdV8k9iHnqh6rBy97/y+0ivWeUdZ4dXz4YFRUvmbCye2676gXOhQcO8QUavuMSYoPz2xAqFdx/TXB0rmBRa23joOwZTsnLXtdLMhVD8P7DrzFwVjZy91zIPA/0viidZ8Opr23rP7oAG0QBcckPb8D8UxhJ9UapE=.


Application Evaluation Process

All applications are reviewed holistically. Applications are reviewed on several criteria; you can learn more about our funding considerations here.

In using a racial equity lens in our grantmaking, Open Door Grants are especially focused on supporting organizations whose leadership reflects the communities they serve, and organizations engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion practices, programs and/or initiatives.

In addition to those criteria, the Foundation aims to maintain a diverse funding portfolio and considers a variety of other factors such as commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, budget size, geographic area served, service population and mission, when determining which applicants are selected for investment.

Open Door Grants is piloting Community Directed Grantmaking, a practice of sharing grantmaking responsibility with community members outside of TBF staff and board. Applications will be reviewed by a mix of internal staff reviewers and external reviewers. Our ambition is to deepen and expand this practice moving forward to inform all the grants made in this program, as we strive to allocate resources in partnership with individuals most proximate to the challenges and opportunities in the communities we serve.

Due to the volume of requests, site visits and meetings are not part of the evaluation process; however, a member of our grant review team may reach out to your organization to request a phone call in the event she/he/they have additional questions about your application.


Renewal Funding (for Current Grantees Only)

While we have made several changes to the program, we remain committed to offering an opportunity for renewal support to grantees who have received a one-year grant in the last 12 months (December 2019 or June 2020). Current grantees who have been supported for only one year may reapply for support 12 months after their initial application. Renewal grants are $25,000 one-year general operating support.

Approximately 50% of current grantees who apply for renewal funding will receive a second year of support.

The limit for consecutive annual support is two years, after which an organization must wait 12 months following the completion of their second-year grant period before applying again for support.

Apply for Renewal Support

To apply for a second year of funding, please complete the online renewal application form during an application period.

The Open Door Grants team strives to be conscious of accessibility in technology. If you have difficulty accessing our application or need accommodations to complete the application, we encourage you to reach out to us directly at LGb28Hq10yvJJdV8k9iHnqh6rBy97/y+0ivWeUdZ4dXz4YFRUvmbCye2676gXOhQcO8QUavuMSYoPz2xAqFdx/TXB0rmBRa23joOwZTsnLXtdLMhVD8P7DrzFwVjZy91zIPA/0viidZ8Opr23rP7oAG0QBcckPb8D8UxhJ9UapE=.
If you have reviewed the page and still have questions, click the button and send an email to a member of the Open Door Grants team.