Our civic leadership formula is an iterative cycle engaging all members of the community: It loops through cutting edge research, major forums and convenings, strategic and proactive grant making, task forces and coalitions, communications and media, and deep public policy work. This process has influenced issues critical to the economic competitiveness of the Commonwealth.

The Work of Leisure Forum

"We felt the Foundation would be the right place not only to manage our money but to develop a relationship—as a funding partner, a programmatic partner, a thought partner.”

- Wendell Knox, Fund Trustee and former CEO, Abt Associates 

Supported by the Civic Leadership Fund, through our Understanding Boston series and other collaborations we identify challenges facing our city and region, commission fresh research and share information through a series of popular forums attended by thousands of people every year. See the impact.

Download a PDF of the Civic Leadership Fund brochure.


reports published since 2001, including 94 Understanding Boston reports


public Understanding Boston forums held since 2001


people attending Understanding Boston forums since 2001

The Boston Foundation also sponsors Boston Indicators, which provides a comprehensive, constantly-updated body of information about key aspects of life in Greater Boston through groundbreaking reports and a dynamic website.

In fiscal year 2017, the Boston Foundation released some of the most influential reports in its 15 years of civic leadership, each discussed at forums attended by hundreds of stakeholders and engaged citizens and many broadening their reach with extensive media coverage.

You can access all of the Foundation’s reports online and watch archived videos of forums at News + Insights. We invite you to join us for upcoming events and forums.

Recent Reports

Avenues to the Arts cover

Report | Arts and Culture

Avenues to the Arts: A New Creative District for Boston

How can Boston raise the profile of its world-class cultural offerings? This new report, created from two years of interviews and discussions, suggests branding a new creative district "The Avenues to the Arts," and bringing together civic, commercial and cultural assets to create a powerful arts partnership

Download the report

Recent Forums and Events

Eileen McAnneny presents at the Grade Incomplete forum

Video | Education

Grade Incomplete: Understanding Boston Forum

In a highly engaging Understnading Boston forum, community college funding took center stage. The Boston Foundation and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation presented an examination of the fate of the Massachusetts' community college performace funding formula, and college presidents and the audience joined in a vibrant discussion of funding, private support and the opportunities and challenges facing the 15-campus system.

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Video | Civic Leadership

Census 2020 Explained

An October 24 forum for the release of the new Boston Indicators report "Census 2020, Explained" highlighted the critical importance of an accurate Census for Massachusetts, and featured an interesting conversation with the regional director for the US Census.

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Video | Civic Leadership

Boston Is Booming... But for Whom?

Boston as a whole is enjoying an era of growth, but the prosperity isn't distributed equally among various ethnic and socioeconomic groups, according to a new Boston Indicators report that was the focus of an October 10 event at the Edgerley Center for Civic Leadership

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Work of Leisure


The Work of Leisure

At this forum, the Boston Foundation released "The Work of Leisure: Behind the Scenes of Massachusetts' Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism Industry" - the first such study in 27 years - which is a detailed report that reveals how ubiquitous this industry really is and how much influence it has. The forum included a presentation of the report and a panel discussion about the implications of its findings.

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Holyoke Community College Patrick Prize


2018 Patrick Prize for Community Colleges

The Boston Foundation welcomed community college leaders and staff to the Foundation on June 5th where it was announced that Holyoke Community College has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges.

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