OVERVIEW: The Hyams Foundation focuses its grantmaking on affordable housing, teen development, civic engagement in Boston and Chelsea communities. The foundation awards usually over 100 grants each year, most of which are under $150,000 in size.
FUNDING AREAS: Affordable housing, teen development, civic engagement
IP TAKE: Make contact with the foundation before even starting to type up your letter of inquiry. The Hyams Foundation is very accessible to grantseekers and welcomes open communication throughout the application process.
PROFILE: In the past, there have been three types of organizations that gotnoticed by The Hyams Foundation: ones that provide affordable housing, ones that help at-risk teenagers, and ones that get low-income minorities involved in their communities. But today, this funder is all about racial equality in Boston and Chelsea.
The foundation has a long history of giving, starting back in 1921 when Godfrey Hyams, a Boston metallurgist, engineer, and financier, set up a trust to make sure his money would keep going to charity long after he was gone. The foundation is truly a family affair, as the wealth of Godfrey's parents and sisters was merged into the overall assets as well. During his lifetime, Godfrey lived a simple life and anonymously gave to charitable causes in Boston. His legacy in the mining and railroad industries lives on today in the underprivileged neighborhoods of the city.
The overarching theme of all of Hyams grantmaking is reducing racial and ethnic disparities in all areas of life. If you're going to pitch a civil engagement program to Hyams, it should aim to build grassroots leadership development, increase voter engagement, or further racial equality public policy. If you're running a housing organization, your proposal had better create and preserve sustainable homes for families of color and with low income in Boston or Chelsea neighborhoods. Your teen development grant proposal should demonstrate how your non-profit will help teenagers graduate high school and be successful in the workplace.
The Hyams Foundation is run by a moderately-sized staff and each focus area has its own specialist. The foundation is very accessible to grantseekers and isn't shy about letting the public know what they're looking for in grantees and how it decides who to fund. It also makes program-related investments in the form of loans with specified repayment dates or equity investment. At the present time, Hyams has more than $4.2 million in outstanding program-related investments, mostly for affordable housing construction projects.
At the end of a recent year, the foundation had $134 million in assets and gave out $5.5 million in grants that year. You can find a list of paid grants by year on the foundation website. Unlike many foundations in the city, Hyams doesn't stray from its Massachusetts-only giving policy. This is also a funder that's really into funder collaboratives.
The Hyams Foundation actually encourages grantseekers to make contact with the staff before submitting a letter of inquiry. New grantmaking procedures went into effect in 2016, following the announcement of its new strategic direction in May 2015. To apply online, you'll first need to register your organization on the foundation website. There are there grantmaking deadlines per year; however, letters of interest can be submitted at any time. Any questions about the application process can be directed to Shani Pankam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Angela Brown, Director of Programs
- Nahir Torres, Teen Development Program Officer
- David Moy, Civic Engagement Program Officer
- Maria Mulkeen, Affordable Housing Program Officer