A.C. Ratshesky Foundation

OVERVIEW: The A.C. Ratshesky Foundation supports early education, employment, and year-around/after school enrichment for preteens and teens. Programs that support disadvantaged Jewish populations in Boston are of particular interest.

FUNDING AREAS: Family partnering in early education, employment and self-sufficiency, and active learning for preteens and teens

IP TAKE: Make sure to highlight how a program serves Boston’s Jewish community as part of its overall goal. Tie “lifelong learning” into the proposal, regardless of the program area.

PROFILE: Established in 1916, the A.C. Ratshesky Foundation adopted its current name in 1930. Abraham C. “Cap” Ratshesky was a Boston native and a son of Jewish immigrants. He and his brother founded the United States Trust Company, which provided Jewish immigrants with access to capital and banking services. He was a social activist and politician, having served in the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, the Republican National Convention in 1904, the Massachusetts State Legislature, and as a United States Minister to Czechoslovakia. Today, the foundation’s interest areas are family partnering in early education, employment and self-sufficiency, and active learning for preteens and teens.

Ratshesky’s philanthropic endeavors have included the Beth Israel Hospital, the Boston Chapter of the Red Cross, and disaster relief efforts. The Family Partnering in Early Education program supports causes that create learning environments at home to supplement school education. The focus here is on prevention, mentoring, language development, and reading and math readiness. The foundation’s goal is to close the achievement gap through early learning development. The Employment and Self-Sufficiency program supports causes that help people find employment through education, vocational services, cultural orientation, English training, job placement, and on-the-job training. Ratshesky prefers to support programs that target low-income and dislocated workers, use technology for monitoring, and ones that build formal employer relationships. Active Learning grants are awarded to after-school and year-around enrichment programs for teens and preteens. The foundation chooses grantees that focus on real-world relevance, multiple interdisciplinary perspectives, and ill-defined problems. Regardless of the focus area, the foundation tends to support organizations and programs that serve disadvantaged Jewish populations in the Boston area.

Approximately 20 to 30 grants are made per year, ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each. View past grants on the foundation website. Grantmaking is focused on the Boston metropolitan area. Most grants support programs that provide direct services. General operating support and multi-year grants are rare, but not unheard of. Grant requests for $10,000 toward a program budget of $150,000 or from organization with an annual budget of $1 million, for example, are typically ranked a higher priority than requests to support a $300,000 program from large organizations with relatively strong fundraising capacity and many sources of funding.

This foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. Proposal deadlines fall on October 1, February 1, and July 1 each year. Direct general questions to the GMA foundation administrator, Prentice Zinn, at 617-391-3091 or pzinn@gmafoundations.com.

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