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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 grants, paid 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.