Hestia Fund

OVERVIEW: The Hestia Fund is a volunteer-based, donor-led giving circle that support programs for underserved children in the Boston area.

FUNDING AREAS: Youth causes, in-school and after-school programs, teacher training, preschool programs

IP TAKE: The Hestia Fund does not accept unsolicited proposals and does not have a process in place to respond to requests from nonprofits seeking grants.

PROFILE: Established in 2000 by Susan Priem, the Hestia Fund is a giving circle comprised of more than 50 women in Boston. The group aims to positively impact the lives of low-income women and their children living in the greater Boston area by increasing the quantity and quality of after-school and out-of-school programs. Susan Priem launched the women-only Hestia Fund to increase women's participation in philanthropy, with a goal of distributing $100,000 in grants. Her vision involved equal vesting of all members, multi-year commitment to the giving circle, a consensus decision-making process, and no additional fundraising within the membership. Grantmaking interests include youth causes, in-school and after-school programs, teacher training, and preschool programs.

Approximately half of Hestia grants are funding systemic change in the public schools, augmented by other educational grants in early childhood, extended learning and teacher development grants that comprise another 40 percent of the grants awarded. Educational programming has included the Boston Public Schools, early learning, teacher development, and philanthropy. The most common Hestia grantees are public schools, charter schools, arts programs, mental health programs, and summer programs in the Boston area. Past grantees include Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention, Beacon Academy, Cambridge Camping - Daybreak Day Camp, and the Joseph Lee School.

Hestia grants range from $50,000 and $10,000. Hestia’s annual grantmaking budget is about $300,000, and it has three operating committees: Grants, Membership and Steering. The operating budget is funded through member-paid dues. See a list of past grantees on the funder’s website. Grantmaking is focused on the Boston area of Massachusetts.

This foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications. Instead, Hestia members reach out directly to potential grantees that they think everyone would be interested in. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at hestiafundboston@gmail.com or 617-485-8579.

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