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The Boston Foundation Blog

A Reflection on the First Year of Open Door Grants

Posted 04/17/2017 by Orlando C. Watkins, Vice President for Programs

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.


Massachusetts’ Family Homelessness System: the Basics

Posted 02/22/2017 by Lucy Ellis, Program Associate, Neighborhoods and Housing

  Homelessness Report 2017 cover
On Thursday, February 23rd the Boston Foundation hosts an Understanding Boston forum for the release of The Growing Challenge of Family Homelessness: Homeless Assistance for Families in Massachusetts: Trends in Use FY2008-2016. This report, prepared by Westat, analyzes Commonwealth of Massachusetts internal data on family homelessness and homeless shelters to understand overall trends and specific pathways through the homeless assistance system. This data-focused report answers many basic questions about family homelessness and shelter usage, such as: how have the demographics of families in shelter changed over time; what types of assistance do they receive; how long do they stay; which families stay the longest; are there regional differences?  The report will be posted here and on the Boston Foundation website after it has been released at the forum. 

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.


Race to Lead Boston: Three needed changes for nonprofits to close the leadership gap

Posted 11/02/2017 by Jennifer Aronson, Associate Vice President for Program

--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.


Open Door Grants program is in business

Posted 10/12/2016 by James Burnett

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."


ChildObesity180 and a commitment to public health

Posted 10/14/2017 by Mira Kahn, Program Associate, Health and Wellness

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.


Taking STEM into schools - and students out into STEM

Posted 11/06/2017 by By Eric Esteves, Social Innovation Fund Director


What’s more important than teaching STEM in schools? Taking STEM students out.


The Boston Foundation: 102 years old, and new again!

Posted 11/13/2017 by Ted McEnroe, Director of External Communications


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. 


4 Reasons Greater Boston is Primed to Tackle Its Housing Challenges

Posted 12/01/2017 by Paul Grogan, President and CEO

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.


Interview with Darcy Brownell, Executive Director of Social Venture Partners Boston

Posted 04/14/2017 by Amanda Holm and Leigh Handschuh

This month, the Giving Common team had the opportunity to interview Darcy Brownell, the Executive Director of Social Venture Partners (SVP) Boston, a network of philanthropists who strengthen nonprofits, invest in collaborative solutions and help individuals achieve greater impact with their giving. We were excited to learn more from Darcy about her personal connection to philanthropy, the impact of her work, and the ways the SVP Boston team is able to support local nonprofits.


A summary of the findings of <i>The Growing Challenge of Family Homelessness Homeless Assistance for Families in Massachusetts: Trends in Use FY2008-FY2016</i>

Posted 02/23/2017 by Rebecca Koepnick, Senior Director, Neighborhoods and Housing

  Homelessness Report 2017 cover

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:

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