A Boston Funder Focused Squarely on Local Teens: the Bennett Family Foundation

Amid a big push lately for children and youth funding in Boston, where do teenagers fit in?

Fortunately for local nonprofits working with at-risk teenagers, there’s a funder solely dedicated to this demographic in the city. You may not be familiar with the Bennett Family Foundation yet, but this is a funder to know in Boston.

It awards grants in both Boston and Philadelphia, but it’s Boston giving has a single focus. The goal of Bennett’s grants here is to “help teens get re-connected to a supportive community, with the services and skills they need to become independent adults.” The grants of this nature tend to range between $2,500 and $25,000, although larger and multi-year commitments aren’t entirely unheard of.

To give you a better sense of this funder’s local giving, here are some past teenager-focused grantees that Bennett has supported in Boston.

  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters
  • East End House
  • RAW Art Works
  • Roca
  • Samaritans

There are a lot of different ways that a funder can support teen health, wellness, and independence, and Bennett tends to consider a wide range of programs and organizations in its grant cycles. Here are some of the types of causes that Bennett likes to get involved with.

  • Housing, education, and career services for runaway and homeless teens
  • Mental health for teens
  • Health services for LGBTQ teens
  • Teen men at risk of re-incarceration  
  • Teen suicide prevention
  • Self-expression through the arts for teens

One thing that Boston nonprofits should know is that Bennett prefers to support small local groups rather than large national ones. For Boston nonprofits, if you have a profile on The Giving Common, Bennett would like to review that.

You can apply for a teen-focused grant in Boston at any time, although grants are typically distributed in May and November each year. Since this is a true family funder that’s run by the founder’s descendants and doesn’t have a full-time staff, you may or may not get a response to your inquiry. If the Bennett family is interested in your project, they will follow up with you. A formal grant proposal will be requested if and when that time comes. The Bennett Family Foundation is also known as the Eleanore Bennett Charitable Trust #1, and the trustees are Eleanore’s grandchildren.