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.
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.
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.
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.
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 LeadershipLearn 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.
We invite you to explore the many ways you can support the Fund for Boston's Future.
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.
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
Jane Wegscheider Hyman
Marcia & Louis Kamentsky
Bill Nigreen & Kathleen McDermott
Sam Plimpton & Wendy Shattuck
Joseph G. Prone Foundation
The following donors have confirmed legacy commitments up to $1 million to the Fund for Boston's Future to benefit the Greater Boston community.
David Arnold, Jr. & Dorothy Arnold
James & Hanna Bartlett
Barry Bluestone & Mary Ellen Colten
Lewis and Constance Counts
Paul S. Grogan
Helen M. Jones
Jonathan & Judy Keyes
Anne F. Kilguss
Carol F. Levin
Beatrice & Peter Nessen
Gary & Natalie Robinson
Anthony Mitchell Sammarco
Jennifer P. & Daniel I. Sherman
Charles E. & Deana M. Shirley
Hungwah Yu & David J. Elliott
Ann & Hans Ziegler