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Fund for Boston's Future

At the heart of everything the Boston Foundation has done over the last century is its endowment, the Fund for Boston's Future. 

The Boston Foundation was launched in 1915 by a small group of visionary civic leaders to be a flexible entity that could respond to the very real needs of the day—but also to adapt to an ever-changing city.

Just two years after the Foundation opened its doors, it received the first unrestricted gift to the Boston Foundation’s endowment, today known as the Fund for Boston's Future. Over the past century, the Fund has grown thanks to generous bequests and outright gifts from hundreds of forward-thinking Bostonians. Today, it is the most flexible pool of funds the Foundation has, giving staff and board members the resources to respond to the most pressing issues facing Greater Boston.

A Century of Impact


Responding to Need
Responding to Need

Buoyed by a bequest of $4 million from a generous businessman named James Longley—the Boston Foundation served immigrants flowing into the city from Southern and Eastern Europe and helped all Boston residents survive two World Wars, the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression.


Seeding innovation
Seeding Innovation

In 1960, a major bequest doubled the size of what was then known as the Permanent Fund for Boston and catapulted the Foundation into a new era. It began investing in some of the most important ideas and nonprofit organizations in Boston. Over the years, more than 100 iconic institutions received seed funding, including WGBH, American Repertory Theater, Boston Children’s Chorus, City Year and the Greater Boston Food Bank.


Thumbnail Changing Faces
Changing the Game

In 2001, the Boston Foundation began serving as a think tank and advocacy organization, collecting data and commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time. It also began bringing people together to discuss Boston’s biggest problems and work with government to influence enlightened public policies. The Permanent Fund for Boston provided the core of our grantmaking into a new generation of organizations.


Our New Pathway

Today, the Fund for Boston's Future provides support for millions of dollars each year in discretionary grants to Greater Boston nonprofits. With the launch of Our New Pathway, the Fund for Boston's Future is a grantmaking engine for our work to move equity by Nurturing Strong Beginnings, Building Economic Opportunities, Advancing Community Wealth and Amplifying Community Leadership

Learn more

Hundreds of forward-thinking Bostonians since 1917 have made bequests and gifts to this essential fund. It fuels all of the Foundation’s work and provides the resources that have sparked positive change and enabled new ideas.

The list of iconic institutions that have received seed funding from the Foundation over the years is astounding. (See the full list of “There at the Beginning” organizations.) In addition, the Foundation offered early funds for most of the city’s neighborhood health centers and community development corporations. It also played a major role in the cleanup of Boston Harbor, helping to transform it from one of the filthiest bodies of water in the world to one of the cleanest urban harbors in America.

No one knows what the challenges of the coming century will be, but we do know that the Boston Foundation will be there—and all of its work will be underwritten by the Fund for Boston's Future.

Kate Guedj

Contact SVP/Chief Philanthropy Officer Kate Guedj to learn more about the Fund for Boston's Future.

Ways to Participate

We invite you to explore the many ways you can support the Fund for Boston's Future.

  • Include a bequest to the Boston Foundation in your will or trust;
  • Designate the Boston Foundation as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, life insurance, charitable remainder trust or charitable lead trust;
  • Name the Boston Foundation as a successor beneficiary of your Donor Advised Fund or private foundation.
  • For information about more creative ways you can give to the Fund for Boston's Future—through stocks, retirement funds and complex assets—please contact the Senior Director of Leadership Giving at 617-338-3910. 

Centennial Society

The following donors have confirmed legacy commitments in excess of $1 million to the Fund for Boston's Future to benefit the Greater Boston community.

Anonymous (4)
Diane DeSerras Arenella
James Becker & Randal D. Rucker
Rick & Nonnie Burnes
Belden & Pamela Daniels
Richard & Marcia DeWolfe
Michael & Barbara Eisenson
Grace & Edward Fey
Atsuko & Larry Fish
Peni Garber
Brian Hyde
Jane Wegscheider Hyman
Marcia & Louis Kamentsky
Bill Nigreen & Kathleen McDermott
Sam Plimpton & Wendy Shattuck
Joseph G. Prone Foundation
Sandra Stark

Longley Legacy Society

The following donors have confirmed legacy commitments up to $1 million to the Fund for Boston's Future to benefit the Greater Boston community.

Anonymous (7)
David Arnold, Jr. & Dorothy Arnold
James & Hanna Bartlett
Barry Bluestone & Mary Ellen Colten
Lewis and Constance Counts
Ellen Epstein
Paul S. Grogan
Kate Guedj
Dean Hara
Ann Higgins
Helen M. Jones
Jonathan & Judy Keyes
Anne F. Kilguss
Carol F. Levin
Barbara Markell
Herbert Morse
Katherine Nash
Beatrice & Peter Nessen
Nathaniel Pulsifer
Gary & Natalie Robinson
Anthony Mitchell Sammarco
Jennifer P. & Daniel I. Sherman
Charles E. & Deana M. Shirley
Charles Walsh
Hungwah Yu & David J. Elliott
Ann & Hans Ziegler