Liberty Mutual Foundation: Boston Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder provides grants for organizations providing education, health, and human services in the Boston area. Special priority is given to low-income youth and families, youth with disabilities, and cultural organizations.

FUNDING AREAS: Low-income children, education, health, human services

IP TAKE: Boston nonprofits shouldn’t be intimidated by the global scope of this big insurance company. Most funding stays right in Boston, and the funding categories are so broad that lots of local groups are eligible for grants.

PROFILE: The Liberty Mutual Foundation was established in 2003 to support communities where company employees live and work. Liberty Mutual is an insurance company with operations throughout the world. However, the company is headquartered in Boston and contributes the bulk of its foundation funding here.

This funder’s grantmaking priorities broadly encompass education and health and human services. There is a strong focus on low-income children in each of these categories. Cultural organizations and youth with disabilities are also of interest to Liberty Mutual Foundation. The outfit's education program focuses on disadvantaged youth, and the health and human services program is all about improving the quality of life and safety within the communities it serves. Regarding the LMF’s youth disabilities funding, areas of interest are early intervention, K-12 education, family resources, healthcare, assistive technology, mentoring, bullying, out-of-school time, and preparation for employment.

Nonprofits can receive general operating support, program support, capital support, and multi-year support. Capital funding is the least common type of support LMF provides. There are no application deadlines; the review process is ongoing throughout the year. Characteristics that Liberty Mutual grantees tend to share include solid financials, effective impact measuring systems, a strong board and staff, and a well-planned strategy and budget.

Liberty Mutual also has an employee giving program that benefits nearly 9,000 charities in every state with a 50 percent match on employee donations. The insurance company provides support to organizations through dinners and events, but these requests are not considered through the foundation.

Nonprofits can apply for a grant at any time online, and applications are accepted on a monthly basis. Occasional local arts and culture grants are made, but most funding continues to go to education and health & human services groups.

In a past year, the funder committed $59 million in total giving and ranked #41 in corporate giving on the Fortune 100 list. Most grants have gone to education (30 to 40 percent), followed by 20 to 30 percent for health and human services, 15 to 25 percent for civic and community, and 5 to 15 percent for arts and culture. Most recent LMF grants have been between $10,000 and $50,000 lately.

Requests for proposals, messages, and opportunities are posted on the foundation's main page. The best way to get in touch with the foundation staff is by emailing inquires to Foundation@LibertyMutual.com.

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