Boston Foundation to Boost Discretionary Grantmaking, Despite Losses

The Boston Foundation has announced grants totaling $11.1 million to nonprofits serving residents of the greater Boston area and an additional $8.1 million in distributions from donor-advised funds. Although the foundation has seen the value its assets fall by more than 19 percent in the past year, it plans to boost its discretionary grantmaking during the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Boston Globe reports.

Despite a $200 million reduction in the value of its endowment and a $25 million decline in gifts, the foundation will award $17.2 million in discretionary grants in its 2010 fiscal year, an increase of $300,000 from the previous year. "The board is maintaining its presence in the community," Boston Foundation president and CEO Paul S. Grogan told the Globe. "It really wasn't a big debate. The board has tremendous confidence [that] this institution...is going to recover financially, eventually."

The second-quarter grants include $125,000 to the Union of Minority Neighborhoods for its Rally to Improve Schools and Education campaign; $125,000 to the Museum of Fine Arts to boost museum attendance among underrepresented populations and survey visitors' needs and interests; $100,000 to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation for general operating support; and $75,000 to Tufts Medical Center for its Career Ladder Program, which focuses on career development for entry-level, low-wage workers. The foundation also awarded an unrestricted $75,000 "Out of the Blue" grant to Raw Art Works, which provides arts-based youth development programs in the city of Lynn.

In addition, several grants were awarded to boost the region's charter schools and educational reform strategies, after recent Boston Foundation-funded research found that charter and pilot schools can help close the achievement gap between white and minority students. The grants include $100,000 to Massachusetts 2020 to further develop its Expanded Learning Time initiative and $50,000 to the Bay State Banner to help raise awareness about college opportunities in Boston's minority neighborhoods.

"Grants that build on research have a particular power, and this set of grants reflects a year of seminal research in education," said Grogan. "The report drawn from the Indicators Project, Boston's Education Pipeline: A Report Card, stresses critical ideas that show high impact and great promise, from early childhood education through college access, and our grants follow this data by strengthening the pipeline where we can confidently expect results to follow."

Sean Sposito. "More Charity Despite Smaller Pot." Boston Globe 06/27/2009. "Boston Foundation Announces $19.2M in Quarterly Grants at June 25th Board Meeting." Boston Foundation Press Release 06/25/2009.