Boston has a long and well-established philanthropy scene, but also one that is changing fast. Familiar players like the Boston Foundation are more active than ever, while new funders keep arriving on the scene. There are many opportunities here for nonprofits in search of funding, across a wide spectrum of issues. A great many funders are interested in the traditional areas of arts, education and human services, but other work also attracts support related to the environment, transportation, affordable housing, and more.
As is the case everywhere, the competition for grants can be intense, and funders vary in levels of accessibility to grantseekers. All the information in this guide is updated regularly and new funder profiles are added often.
Grantmaking has supported Boston organizations focused on youth development and related education organizations and initiatives, the arts, and community issues.
The Balfour Foundation places an emphasis on education and regularly awards grants to local organizations. The foundation is managed by Bank of America, and grantseekers can apply for funding online.
Barr is the largest private foundation in the state of Massachusetts. Barr’s work focuses on education, climate change, and arts and culture. Its education and arts investments are focused on Boston.
Grantmaking modestly supports select Boston organizations in areas like the arts, education, and Hellenic causes.
Bennett exclusively supports youth causes in Boston. It funds programs that help teens stay connected to the community and boost the skills they need to be successful adults.
Biogen Idec Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Cambridge-based drug maker by the same name. The foundation gives mostly to benefit STEM education in North Carolina and Massachusetts.
BOSTON BAR FOUNDATION
This funder is the charitable arm of the Boston Bar Association and awards grants to nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to vulnerable residents.
As the city's community foundation, TBF has a broad impact on Boston fundraising. The foundation has been the city's largest funder, mostly supporting education, health, neighborhoods, and civic/cultural vitality.
The Boston Women’s Fund is a “community of interest foundation” that focuses on women-centric justice issues in the Boston area. It funds grassroots organizations with small budgets.
The philanthropic arm of the international law firm is a flexible funder of education needs in inner-city communities where it has company offices—particularly its home city of Boston.
Calderwood is in the process of spending down its assets over the next few years. It supports performing arts, higher education, opera, orchestra, and theater groups.
The bank's charitable arm concentrates its giving on programs that benefit at-risk and low/middle-income populations.
One World Boston Inc. is the grantmaking entity of the Cummings Foundation. Nonprofits in Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties are given priority. Support goes to human services, education, healthcare, and social justice groups.
Boston philanthropy focuses on schools, health organizations, and more. The family is also rather supportive of churches.
This funder provides grants to East Boston groups that promote youth and senior recreation, open space development, and local business enhancement. Grants are often between $1,000 and $25,000.
This funder provides grants in the Greater Boston region in the areas of civic education, human development and self-sufficiency, music education and the performing arts, and public education and broadcasting.
The Fireman Foundation's goal is to promote permanent solutions to family homelessness in Massachusetts. Other interests are strengthening families, anti-poverty efforts, and international human rights.
This funder exclusively supports organizations that work with disadvantaged youth in the Greater Boston area. Grants average $5,000 and go towards program and operating support.
This funder got its start with arts & culture grants in Boston. Today, its focus has expanded to ethics and the environment, religion and ecology, youth and higher education, advocacy through film and video productions, and alternative/conservation medicine.
Children and youth programs command most of the foundation's attention. Youth causes, cancer research, arts and higher education are commonly funded by the foundation.
The John W. Henry Family Foundation’s grantmaking in the Boston area focuses on healthcare, the arts, and more.
Approximately 50 Boston women comprise the Hestia Fund, a volunteer-based, donor-led giving circle. The group supports in-school and after-school programs and programs for quality teachers and pre-school.
This funder mostly supports the following causes in Boston, but also elsewhere in Massachusetts, and occasionally in California: education, housing, mentorship, healthcare, environment, and the arts.
This funder's strategy is all about racial equality in Boston and Chelsea. It's a perfect funder for smaller organizations and makes itself accessible to grantseekers.
This funder supports health and welfare organizations in the Boston area. The trust is administered by the law firm of Hemenway & Barnes LLP, and most grants are $50,000 to $150,000.
This is one of several philanthropic outfits of the Johnson family that gives in Boston and greater New England. Interests include arts & culture, historic preservation, conservation, and health.
Gives awards for arts, education, health, and social service organizations. Not much is known about the foundation's grant funding policies or how to apply for funding, as most decisions are made in-house.
The couple's philanthropy focuses on the Boston area, extending to Nantucket. The Karps are steady funders of health causes in Boston, particularly local hospitals. Another interest is education.
Kendall has historically supported regional environmental work in New England. Interests include creating sustainable and resilient food systems in Greater Boston.
Klarman awards grants to Jewish and Israeli charities, enrichment opportunities in Boston, and medical and science research. Klarman is a big supporter of research, especially related to eating disorders.
This is a big youth funder in Boston. Its grant programs focus on increasing youth access to college and college readiness. Applications are posted online and due in the spring and fall.
This funder provides grants for education, health, and human services in the Boston area. Special priority is given to low-income youth and families, youth with disabilities, and cultural organizations.
The Linde Family Foundation provides support for arts, education and youth programs. You'll need to contact the foundation's philanthropic advisory service to get involved with Linde.
This funder supports nonprofits in the Greater Boston area in the fields of education, culture and historic preservation, healthcare and medical research, and religious/educational efforts of the Catholic Church.
Environmental programs account for a major part of grants from the Merck Fund, including clean energy projects, sustainable food programs and environmental advocacy. Grants are also made for developmental disability research. Merck will close its doors in 2022.
This funder supports access to health care, healthy aging, and adolescent mental health in the MetroWest region outside Boston. There are two grant cycles per year.
This foundation is focused on social justice and civic engagement in Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Grantmaking extends to employment, housing, education, healthcare, transportation, and cultural activities.
The couple's giving through their foundation focuses on Catholic education and Catholic organizations in and around Boston.
New Balance has headquarters in Boston, and the main program area is childhood obesity. Grants are also considered in arts and culture, youth athletic programs, education and health, with programs that target underserved children given priority.
The foundation of the telecom mogul Robert Hale does most of its grantmaking in Boston and its surrounding areas. Hale and his wife Karen have interests in health, human services, the environment, and more.
The charitable vehicle of Jonathon Jacobson and his wife Joanna focuses on education, particularly charter schools, supporting at risk-youth and their families, and Jewish outfits. Also provides pro bono consulting to help nonprofits build capacity.
The Peabody Fund is active throughout New England, but lots of grants stay in Boston. Grantmaking interests are health (human and animal), visual arts, land conservation and historic preservation causes.
This is the charitable outfit of tech billionaire Phillip Ragon and his wife Susan. Much of the couple's philanthropy takes place in the Boston area, where the Ragons live and work.
Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation primarily funds fellowships and scholarships for medical research and public policy. The foundation also funds art prizes for emerging and promising contemporary artists and music composers.
This funder supports early education, employment, and year-round/after school enrichment for preteens and teens. Programs for disadvantaged Jewish populations in Boston are of particular interest.
This is a progressive foundation that works internationally on human rights, peace & security and economic opportunity issues. In the U.S., it funds progressive media, campaign finance reform, the green economy, investigative reporting, and judicial reform.
Shapiro grants go to a variety of causes in the Greater Boston area, and health programs and hospitals have been major beneficiaries. Other areas of interest include arts, education, Jewish causes and social welfare.
The foundation's Boston grantmaking goes to local hospitals, Jewish organizations, and more. Personal connections seem to animate much of this family's giving.
This funder supports health, education and economic mobility causes in the Greater Boston area. It provides small and mid-sized capital grants that local groups can apply for.
A large portion of State Street funding goes to programs in Boston, although the foundation provides grants nationally and internationally. Program areas are varied, including education, community development, and employment services.
The Stone Family Foundation provides grants in three areas, including health, education and justice programs. Another big interest is helping low-income people achieve independence and economic self-sufficiency
Jewish charities, health programs and science research command the lion's share of Swartz Foundation grants. Unfortunately, the foundation doesn't have a website, a hurdle for fundraisers.
This funder supports Greater Boston nonprofits for healthy food accessibility and programs that get youth involved in farming and gardening. It’s also a strong supporter of teacher training in public schools.
This funder is committed to the needs of older adults in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Letters of intent are accepted at select times of the year.
The Vela Foundation supports nutrition, health, and fitness programs in Eastern Massachusetts. Grants go to Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Everett, Allston, Dartmouth, Fall River and Jamaica Plain.
Wagner is relatively new on the funding scene, and it's not clear exactly how grantmaking decisions are made. The foundation supports education, medicine, and human services.
The Yawkey Foundation has been a longtime Boston funder. The majority of grantmaking backs health, education and youth programs, although it supports a wide range of causes.