Tapping into the Boston Foundation’s Growing Permanent Fund

The Permanent Fund is one of the oldest funding programs at the Boston Foundation (TBF), and it was the very first endowment fund created in Greater Boston. The purpose of this particular TBF fund is to support the most pressing needs of the city and region, representing about one-third of the foundation’s net assets. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Who’s Behind the Funds?

Established in 1917 with $4 million from James Longley, a director of Boston Safe Deposit & Trust, the Permanent Fund has been a long-time favorite among socially minded Boston philanthropists. Longley’s bequest actually made TBF the first community foundation in the country able to make grants. 

These are some of the local philanthropists who gave at least a million to TBF's Permanent Fund this year. 

  • Sandy and Paul Edgerley
  • Amos and Barbara Hostetter
  • Joseph E. Corcoran
  • Gururaj “Desh” and Jaishree Deshpande
  • Paul and Patricia Gannon 

Growing Pools of Money

By mid-July, TBF had already raised $174 million for the Permanent Fund towards its year-end goal of $200 million. And it’s not even the holiday season yet!

Aside from this $174 million, the foundation also raised $122 million between July 2014 and June 2015, thanks to donor-advised funds. These types of funds are also on the rise in Boston, and it seems that more and more local individuals, families, and organizations are setting up charitable giving accounts for TBF to manage. TBF has over a thousand separate charitable funds established by donors for general community benefit and other special purposes. In FY 2015, TBF granted $110 million to nonprofits through the Permanent Fund and donor-advised funds. 

Who's Getting Money?

Nonprofits cannot apply for a grant directly from TBF’s Permanent Fund. You can learn more about this avenue of funding on the foundation’s Permanent Fund page.

Overall, TBF grantmaking has been trending toward public education lately. For instance, Boston Public Schools’ Human Capital Initiative received a $200,000 three-year grant to increase teacher effectiveness. Otherwise, TBF has been supporting a lot of stay-in-school initiatives for high school students and college readiness grants.

On December 2, TBF will host a 100th anniversary gala, where the final results of its Permanent Fund campaign will be announced.

Questions about TBF’s competitive grantmaking process can be directed to Travis McCready, Vice President for Program at 617-338-2291 or travis.mccready@tbf.org.