Jobs + Economic Development

Providing equitable access to economic opportunity and mobility, with a focus on populations that have traditionally been overlooked


Workforce Development    

Our workforce development efforts focus on increasing the number of people receiving training for low-, middle- and high-skilled jobs and careers in sectors like hospitality, culinary arts and IT. One of our key partners in helping to build job skills for Greater Boston residents is SkillWorks.

health tech student near Mass General
Key Initiative

SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative and public/private partnership between the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, and local and national philanthropic and corporate entities. Not only has it changed the lives thousands of low-income job seekers and low-wage workers, it has created a pipeline of talent for the region’s highest demand businesses and industries. This includes more than 100 employers seeking qualified employees for jobs in healthcare, biotech, construction, financial services, hospitality, green jobs and, most recently, IT/technology. Hosted by the Boston Foundation, SkillWorks acts as a workforce intermediary that pools funding from public, private and corporate philanthropy to create a flexible set of resources that we can steer toward innovative solutions across community-based organizations, vocational training, community colleges and employers.

LEARN MORE about SkillWorks.

Inner City Entrepreneurship

We believe fostering an environment of support for entrepreneurs, with a specific focus on women and under-represented minorities, will help lead to economic resilience and the building of generational wealth.

Key Initiative

MassChallenge is a nonprofit organization based in Boston's Innovation District and devoted to helping entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2010, MassChallenge runs the world's largest startup accelerator and competition program—the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs while taking no equity from the business.

The Boston Foundation has partnered with MassChallenge to host a cohort of 20 entrepreneurs annually for an entrepreneurial bootcamp during the MassChallenge “off-season.” The cohort comprises companies founded primarily by women and people of color and mostly from the Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan neighborhoods, nominated by key grantees within our entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The entrepreneurs participates in intensive workshops to prepare their companies for accelerated growth. The curriculum is catered to their needs, matching them with expert mentors in their industry and providing 24/7 office space.

Learn more about MassChallenge and the other business accelerators and incubators we support!

Innovation Economy     

We aim to increase the participation rate of women and under-represented minorities in the innovation economy.  To achieve this, we are investing in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Additionally, we recognize local food systems as a great economic driver providing many jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs in Greater Boston. Current investments have been made to organizations that support F&B business and urban agriculture. This is a new initiative we look forward to expanding in the future.   

Boston Stem Week continues!
Key Initiative

In October 2016, 36 middle schools, 300 teachers and 6,500 students in the Boston area participated in the inaugural Boston STEM Week. For five days 6th, 7th and 8th graders’ traditional curriculum is replaced with hands-on, problem-solving experiments developed by leading STEM organizations like MIT. Boston STEM week returns again this fall with more schools in participation.

LEARN MORE about Boston STEM Week.