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Safety Net Grants

The Safety Net Grants program is designed to support social service organizations that respond to essential needs for marginalized communities and vulnerable residents in Greater Boston.

Built upon our now-closed Open Door Grants program, Safety Net Grants provide an opportunity to provide much-needed general operating funds to nonprofits addressing critical, immediate and essential needs for people throughout the region.

Safety Net Grants are $50,000, two-year general operating support grants, paid in two equal annual installments of $25,000. Essential needs are defined as resources that restore health, wellness, safety and belonging for individuals or families in crisis. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Childcare assistance
  • Direct cash assistance
  • Food security
  • Health care access
  • Legal support
  • Mental health support
  • Rental and housing assistance
  • Support for survivors of trauma
  • Transportation and mobility support

Grants are offered twice each year - once in the spring and once in the fall. Information on the program is available via the Quick Links box, or elsewhere on the page below. If you have specific questions, please send an e-mail to w8L4oSn2osJjPbV/t4bcPcI6k/3bKONePUDgkfG/f0Guon+iLhiM9cRnX/1t9geGkHzyXdd/R7QZi/s37EpNkuciGQldxHXZDKyWHTdppcsk/FXj0Cp4jDJN1SZ3oAaz/m3aXZOUQrmKIDvkm+yMJXeLMcI8tELQhqFHlgICqRgaHyA1lhdJvIqpBXJ3tzpEzfYB+2KeE9lhdoLjaSKGvHbEVXg73o4SySnc7Buez8k= or call 617-338-4508.

 Quick Links

Next Application Deadline: February 15th, 2023 at 11:59pm

Watch a recording and view slides from the Information Session on January 12th, 2pm-3:30pm EST

Start a New Application

Downloadable Copy of the Application

Downloadable Copy of the Demographics Form

Funding Considerations

Smart Simple Login Guide

Have more questions? Visit the Safety Net Grants FAQs
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Safety Net Grants Information Session

This session offered potential applicants to the Safety Net Grants program a chance to learn more about the eligibility requirements, application process and selection criteria. If you were not able to attend the webinar, a recording of the webinar and PowerPoint slides are below.

Watch a recording of the Safety Net Grants Info Session


Who Is Eligible?

Eligible Organizations primarily serve communities historically excluded from institutional philanthropy in the Foundation’s catchment area with a priority for organizations in Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Randolph, and Salem. An eligible applicant would also meet the following criteria:

  • 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 Our New Pathway, the strategic vision for The Boston Foundation;
  • 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;
  • Responds to an essential need by providing resources that restore health, wellness, safety and belonging for individuals or families in crisis 

We are especially interested in organizations that are:

  • Operating with budgets less than $500,000 in annual revenue;
  • BIPOC-led and/or whose leadership reflects the demographic composition and lived experiences of the communities they serve;
  • Meeting the needs of seniors and people with physical disabilities;
  • Providing food, fuel and shelter 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. Parent Teacher Associations and tuition-based schools (including K-12 and post-secondary schools and universities) are also not eligible for this funding.

How to Apply:

Deadline: February 15th at 11:59 p.m. EST

We anticipate that the Safety Net Grants program will be very competitive with demand far outpacing available resources. 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. A pre-conversation is not necessary to apply.

To preview the narrative questions and/or draft responses, download a Word Document copy of the application and download an Excel of the Demographics Form. When ready to submit, please use our online application portal.

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

The Safety Net 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 w8L4oSn2osJjPbV/t4bcPcI6k/3bKONePUDgkfG/f0Guon+iLhiM9cRnX/1t9geGkHzyXdd/R7QZi/s37EpNkuciGQldxHXZDKyWHTdppcsk/FXj0Cp4jDJN1SZ3oAaz/m3aXZOUQrmKIDvkm+yMJXeLMcI8tELQhqFHlgICqRgaHyA1lhdJvIqpBXJ3tzpEzfYB+2KeE9lhdoLjaSKGvHbEVXg73o4SySnc7Buez8k=