As we entered the final quarter of the first year review process for our Open Door Grants program, I find myself reflecting back at what a tremendous experience it’s been. As a Foundation, we’ve had the opportunity to connect with organizations we’ve never worked with before, and reconnect with organizations that we haven’t worked with since establishing our impact areas in 2009. We’ve supported pilot efforts as well as long-standing programs and organizations with decades of success under their belts. And, given the recent shifts in the federal landscape, I am especially proud that we were able to show up for and support organizations that work to protect and support immigrants and other marginalized communities.
If you are not familiar with the intricacies and jargon of the homelessness system, don’t worry! It is complicated, but we’ve provided an overview below to get you up to speed.
--My 4 year-old, Audrey, referring to her little sister: “Eleanor just poked my eyeball!!”
--Me: “You’re okay sweetheart, just use your other one.”
--Audrey: “But I need them BOTH!!”
My parenting tactics aside, boy is Audrey right! I cannot recall a time when we needed both of our eyes more than we do now.
The Boston Foundation announced Tuesday that 24 nonprofit organizations – the first recipients of the Foundation’s newest grantmaking program – would receive one-year grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 in size. Ten of the recipients are established nonprofits; seven are building organizational capacity, and another seven are in an innovative stage of development.
“The Open Door Grants program is unique and in many ways a throwback,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “As its name suggests, it is an open process and responds to the expressed needs of the community. We continue to maintain and grow a robust grantmaking program in our major impact areas. But the Open Door Grants program is an excellent way for us to also help those whose work is focused on other areas.”
Per Grogan's comment, while the Open Door Grants program is relatively new the concept bucks a national trend among charitable foundations, which are increasingly staying away from grantmaking ideas generated by grassroots organizations whose work is “outside the box.”
Think about that for a minute - "outside the box."
On October 10th, the Massachusetts Health Council celebrated statewide public health accomplishments at their annual "Dining with the Stars" gala event at the Sheraton Boston. This year’s event was particularly exciting for us at the Boston Foundation because our longtime partner, Dr. Christina Economos, co-founder of ChildObesity180, was honored for her strong commitment to public health and improved health outcomes for children in Massachusetts and across the country.
What’s more important than teaching STEM in schools? Taking STEM students out.
This week, the staff and Board of Directors of the Boston Foundation will throw open our doors to hundreds of our closest friends, welcoming them to our Annual Meeting.
But we’ll welcome them to a very different space than we had a year ago.
Earlier this week, we released the 15th annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card in a packed event at the Edgerley Center for Civic Leadership.
Once again, Barry Bluestone and his team did yeoman’s work, pulling together state and local data on sales, rentals, permits and the general state of our economy - and laid out a possible plan for a new type of development that could meet the needs for the city’s growing millennial and senior populations - a 21st century village of smaller, but mixed units designed to feature and provide elements that create and support community.
Today the Boston Foundation released the first report analyzing family homelessness in Massachusetts using the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' internal data. The report answers many basic questions about family homelessness and shelter usage, such as: how have the demographics of families in shelter stayed over time; what types of assistance do they receive; how long do they stay; which families stay the longest; are there regional differences?
We encourage you to read the entire report here. But in the meantime, here are some of the key findings from the report:
If serious charitable giving were as simple as opening one's wallet or checkbook, philanthropies and experts that facilitate giving wouldn't be necessary. Except, they are...necessary, that is. For those who want to give on a large scale or manage their own nonprofit's output and relationships, experts are necessary to make things happen smoothly. At the Boston Foundation, we have experts galore - strategy leaders, from education reform to housing development. But two in particular, Amanda Holm and Leigh Handschuh, operate Boston Foundation initiative the Giving Common, a detailed, online resource that connects users to in-depth information about nonprofit organizations working to enhance communities across Massachusetts.
One of our nonprofit partners, via the Giving Common, is Kirstan Barnett, founder of SheGives, a philanthropic foundation made up of dynamic, inquisitive and committed donors. SheGives does the analysis to connect donors to a slate of Boston’s most high impact entrepreneurial nonprofits.
And in today's entry, Holm, the Boston Foundation's Manager of Nonprofit Effectiveness, conducts a Q&A with Barnett.