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

Open Door Grants

Currently accepting applications
Deadline: September 9th

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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 the expressed opportunities and challenges in the communities we serve.

Open Door Grants is an open, responsive semi-annual grantmaking program, especially focused on organizations serving and building power in communities historically excluded from institutional philanthropy and whose leadership reflects the demographic composition and lived experiences of communities they serve.

Open Door Grants are $50,000 two-year general operating support grantspaid in two equal annual installments of $25,000.

We are actively working to share and shift power to community through community-directed grantmaking. Community directed grantmaking is the practice of sharing grantmaking responsibility with community members outside of the Foundation’s staff and board. Each round, since the pilot in May 2020, we have been deepening and expanding this practice, with the goal of having community members inform all the program’s grantmaking decisions.

 Quick Links

Next Application Deadline:
September 9, 2021
Please see the "How to Apply" section to start an application.

Downloadable copy of the Application Narrative Questions

Funding Considerations

Application Technology Troubleshooting Guide
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with our online application portal. please refer to this troubleshooting guide.

Have more questions? Visit the
Open Door Grants FAQs 

ODG By the Numbers

ODG by the numbers graphic

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.

An eligible applicant would also meet the following criteria:

  • Is not eligible for funding through the Foundation's five impact areas, as defined by their strategies, goals and approaches;
  • 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;         
  • 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 demographic composition and lived experiences of the communities they serve, and organizations engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion practices, programs and/or initiatives.

If you are a current or prior grantee, please note 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 additional support.

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.


How to Apply

Deadlines

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

  Application Deadline Applicants Notified (by email)
 Fall 2021 September 9, 2021 Early January 2022
Spring 2022  February 1, 2022 Late June 2022

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.

 Open Door Grants 2021 Application

Open Door Grants are $50,000 two-year general operating support grants, paid in two equal annual installments of $25,000. 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 14% of requests. While we have worked to streamline the application process, we value the time commitment it takes to submit a request. Please review the eligibility requirements and funding considerations to assess your organization’s alignment prior to applying.

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 (a pre-conversation is not necessary to apply).

Download a Word Document copy of the application’s narrative questions, to preview the application questions and/or draft your responses. When ready to submit, please use our online application portal.

Experiencing a technical difficulty with the online applicant portal? Check out our Troubleshooting Guide for guidance.

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 +n4fmp3FYJw4RazK85KU6R1C2OqYqAJjFe7Q1/7H/mN0kg6UuDxVOO9bSJdgbyS9jkH+gBYb/Z9pBvBAU8ZW1SPbKZPf+denu6lY00ch7jmNM3CzYDMUcJ8h0WT4O5M2eHF+SUpw2f9HlSzyCt3AmBXkxyfF5XXyjpGXumFBRsg=.

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 demographic composition and lived experiences of 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: 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 have community members inform all the grants made in this program. 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.


If you have reviewed the page and still have questions, click the above button and send an email to a member of the Open Door Grants team. Please note, as we continue to work remotely the best method to initiate a conversation with us is via email.