Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation: Boston Area Grants

OVERVIEW: Shapiro grants go to a variety of causes in the Greater Boston area, and recently health programs and hospitals have been major beneficiaries. Other areas of interest include arts, education, Jewish causes, and social welfare. Grants are made through a request for proposal system.

IP TAKE: The Shaprio Foundation loves a good underdog. Pitch a program that gets underprivileged children with disabilities involved in the Boston community. If the kids are Jewish, that's an added bonus.
PROFILE: Established in 1961, the Shapiro Family Foundation is a pillar in Boston area grantmaking. Although the foundation does award a few grants to Florida-based organizations, the great majority of its $40 million or so in annual grantmaking benefits the Greater Boston area. Here's a quick look at how people tend to view the foundation and its founders:
One of the hallmarks of Carl and Ruth Shapiro is that they pay a lot of attention to detail. They don't just write a check, they become real partners of the institution.

— Dr. Gary Gottlieb, past president, Brigham and Women's Hospital

The Shapiro Family Foundation's grantmaking interests fall into the categories of arts and culture, education, health and hospitals, Jewish causes, and social welfare. Grantmaking initiatives have included the following:

Disability Inclusion. This grantmaking program aims to give disabled individuals a better quality of life through the development and implementation of new assistive technologies. This program also awards grants to organizations that repair and redistribute assistive and adaptive equipment. Check out the foundation's funding approach for more detailed information. Recent grants out of this program include:

  • $30,000 to Massachusetts Advocates for Children in support of its Transition Planning for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities Program geared toward individuals ages 10 to 22
  • $20,000 to Easter Seals of Massachusetts Transition Services program
  • $30,000 Disability Law Center for its work in the legal rights of special ed students transitioning into postsecondary school
Youth in the Arts. This grantmaking program focuses on developing the artistic skills of at-risk youth in middle and high school. The foundation uses the RFP process to solicit funding and suggests that organizations whose work aligns with Shapiro's goals contact the foundation by phone for further discussion. Current grants include:
  • $20,000 to the Boston Children's Chorus
  • $40,000 to EdVestors for its Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative
  • $20,000 to the Urbano Project's Artists' Project and Young Curators programs
Access to Opportunity. This program focuses on adult and postsecondary youth education and pre-vocational training. Recent grants include:
  • $40,000 grant to English for New Bostonians
  • $30,000 to Bottom Line, a college graduation initiative for first-generation college students 
  • $25,000 grant to Future Chefs, a youth culinary arts program
A recent year, the funder had over $331 in assets and made over $10 million in grants. In the previous year, the foundation made 71 grants totaling $13,424,000. Fifty-five grants went to organizations supported through the Foundation’s Disability Inclusion, Youth in the Arts and Access to Opportunity Initiatives.
If you're looking for a Shapiro grant, you need to know that the foundation supports nine organizations that are close to its heart through its annual giving program. These organizations include the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Facing our History and Ourselves, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, and the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

Linda Waintrup assumed the rold of foundation president in 2015 after the passing of Ronny Zinner. General questions can be directed to her at info@shapirofamilyfdn.org.

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