Civic Leadership

We strive to serve as a civic hub and center of information, where ideas are shared, levers for change are identified, and common agendas for the future are developed.

With crucial support from our Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership, we work with partners in the business and nonprofit communities, as well as numerous public officials, to have a real impact on issues that are critical to the economic competitiveness and civic health of Greater Boston. We consider this civic leadership—especially bringing together analysts, problem solvers and funders to understand and act on matters of local concern—to be core to our mission.

Each year, generous donors make this civic leadership work possible through their donations to the Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership. In 2020-2021, more than 500 individuals, companies and organizations donated to the Annual Campaign, supporting our research, convenings and communications, informing our grantmaking, and helping us better utilize the Permanent Fund for Boston to provide funds, meeting space, and other resources to Greater Boston nonprofits.

Click below and join the hundreds of committed donors supporting our roster of research, events, and advocacy efforts.

A Conversation with Darren Walker into
Vitas mori. Albus orexiss ducunt ad gabalium. Ubi est altus nomen? Liberi de castus bubo, pugna species! Persuadere diligenter ducunt ad bi-color barcas.

The 2020 Civic Leadership Forum: A Conversation with Darren Walker

On November 19, the Boston Foundation was proud to welcome Ford Foundation President Darren Walker as the special guest for the 2020 Civic Leadership Forum. Mr. Walker joined TBF President and CEO Paul Grogan for a wide-ranging discussion on how philanthropy can expand its work to improve social justice.

Click here for the video and recap

  Leadership Spotlight

Lee Pelton, President and CEO

In June, Dr. M. Lee Pelton began his tenure as President and CEO at the Boston Foundation, stewarding the Annual Campaign.

"The Boston Foundation has a major role to play in the city and beyond, not only through its endowment, the Permanent Fund for Boston, and the generosity of its fabulous donors, but through its civic leadership—the role that it plays in bringing together nonprofit organizations, the business community and civic leaders to seek ways to address and confront the most pressing issues of our communities."

To learn more about Dr. Pelton and his vision for TBF, you can find a full article here

Civic Leadership, Equity and COVID-19

Our unique position as a civic leader - and your generous support - has allowed us to address both the immediate needs and the long-term issues the pandemic has triggered.


COVID 19 Response Fund

Our COVID-19 Response Fund was among the first in the nation, and has provided millions of dollars in general support to more than 200 grantees, the majority of which are led by people of color.


Business Equity Fund

Even as we set up our fund, we have worked closely with both the Boston Resiliency Fund and MA COVID-19 Relief Fund, and partnered to support the needs of minority-owned businesses in the region.


COVID Community Data Lab

Boston Indicators, the research center of the Boston Foundation, has established the COVID-19 Community Data Lab, to improve access to current data and analysis of equity, housing, economic issues.


Upcoming Events

With our offices closed, we have moved our Understanding Boston series online, with a virtual calendar of events exploring issues from foreclosure to education, health, and business equity. 

The Boston Foundation: A Center for Civic Leadership


Reports published since 2001, including well over 100 "Understanding Boston" series reports


Public Understanding Boston forums held since 2001


People have attended Understanding Boston forums since the series inception

Criminal Justice forum 2016
Vitas mori. Albus orexiss ducunt ad gabalium. Ubi est altus nomen? Liberi de castus bubo, pugna species! Persuadere diligenter ducunt ad bi-color barcas.

Civic Leadership in Action: Criminal Justice Reform

The Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership has raised funds for more than a decade of research, advocacy and policy work that has driven significant changes in the Massachusetts criminal justice system, including CORI Reform and improved equity and justice in sentencing.

Learn more about the work

"The Boston Foundation's clear and focused civic leadership is more important than ever to solving our local and regional challenges."

- Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III

  From TBF News: Summer 2019

The Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership Provides Record Support

Thanks to gifts from more than 500 donors, including a record 50 corporate donors, the Boston Foundation’s 2018-2019 Campaign for Civic Leadership exceeded its goal, reaching more than $3 million. The campaign supports the Foundation’s role as a center for research, a community hub where thousands of people come together every year to learn from each other and drive real change—and a promoter of public policy. Donors to the campaign are thanked every fall in a full-page ad in the Boston Globe. The 2019-2020 campaign will continue to support this important work.

Indicators logo

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.

Recent reports on economic mobility, the status of the state's LGBTQ community and explorations of Latinos and millennials in Greater Boston have received extensive coverage and informed the discussion of critical issues.

"Changing the Game"

Changing the Game cover
President Paul Grogan explores the development of our civic leadership approach in the book, "Changing the Game"
Download the book

Contact Manager of the Annual Campaign Taylor Garry to learn more about the Campaign for Civic Leadership

Boston Foundation research, reports and forums

In fiscal year 2019, the Boston Foundation released some of the most influential reports in nearly two decades of civic leadership, presented at Understanding Boston forums, covered widely in local media and read and referenced by civic leaders across the state.

Recent reports and videos are listed below.  You can access all of the Foundation’s reports and watch archived videos of forums at News + Insights.

We invite you to join us for upcoming events and forums.

Cummings 100k for 100 logo

 The Annual Campaign for Civic Leadership is a recipient of a $100k for 100 grant from the Cummings Foundation.