Highland Street Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Highland Street Foundation mostly supports the following causes in Boston, but also elsewhere in Massachusetts and occasionally in California: education, housing, mentorship, healthcare, environment, and the arts.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, housing, mentorship, healthcare, environment, the arts

IP TAKE: Highland has focused heavily on access to arts and culture and capacity building for nonprofits. Affordable housing is also a huge issue for this funder.

PROFILE: Established in 1989, the Highland Street Foundation (HSF) is based in Newton, Massachusetts just west of Boston. It is committed to supporting children and families in need in both Massachusetts and California. David J. McGrath Jr., the founder and owner of TAD Resources International, Inc., established this foundation. After he passed away in 1995 and TAD was sold in 1997, the foundation received a significant endowment. Areas of funding are education, youth programming and mentoring, housing and homelessness prevention, environment, healthcare, and the arts.

Highland Street looks to invest in organizations that develop creative solutions to address this complex problem. For example, a group of foundations, including Highland Street, came together to form the Home Funders collaborative. Home Funders pools private dollars to make low-interest loans and grants to developers in order to increase the supply of affordable housing. Highland Street continues to work with the private and public sector to help address this issue. In Boston, the foundation is particularly concerned about the high cost of living and the lack of affordable housing for people living below the poverty line. This funder also sponsors and supports several community events, such as Free Fun Fridays, Out in the Park, TADpole 10, and Winter Camp.

Foundation grants range in size, and grantseekers can view lists of past grants by year on the funder’s website. Much of the foundation’s Massachusetts giving is centered on Boston, but it gives elsewhere in the state, too. It also commits funds to California, but HSF does not support international causes.

HSF does not accept unsolicited grant proposals. It also does not have any pre-established funding limits or deadlines. However, it is open to new ideas and welcomes brief letters of inquiry to introduce an organization and mission and to confirm eligibility. This is done through an online eligibility quiz, and nonprofit should hear back from the foundation within about 12 weeks. Direct general questions to the staff at (617) 969-8900 or infor@highlandstreet.org.

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