Lloyd Balfour Foundation: Boston Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Balfour Foundation was formed as part of the academic memorabilia leader, Lloyd Balfour's will after his death in 1973. The foundation primarily funds educational institutions in the Boston and Attleboro, Massachusetts area, although some consideration is also given to health and social services non-profits in New England.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, human services

IP TAKE: Since Attleboro-based charities get special attention from Balfour, you should focus on a strictly educational program if you're working in Boston. Almost all Balfour grants have a strong educational component.

PROFILE: Think back to your high school or college graduation, and chances are Lloyd Balfour was somehow involved. The L. G. Balfour Company, now operating as the American Achievement Corporation, produces many those class rings, yearbooks, caps and gowns you remember from your life's monumental days. Balfour got his start in the industry selling fraternity jewelry, when he noticed trends in the business and developed a better way of doing things. He did it so well, in fact, that he was accused by the federal government of creating a monopoly on fraternity and sorority products by forcing out the competition.

When Balfour passed away in 1973, the assets of his business were placed into a trust and the Lloyd Balfour Foundation was established from his will. Bank of America serves as a trustee for over a hundred small family foundations that need a little extra guidance and direction. The Lloyd Balfour Foundation is one of these, and not surprisingly, the primary focus of its philanthropy is education. The foundation also awards grants to health and human services organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Since Balfour's company was based in Attleboro, Massachusetts, most of the grants are awarded to Attleboro-based and Boston-based non-profits.

Almost all Balfour grants are awarded for programs that increase access to education and promote college readiness for underserved youth in New England. Balfour specified a few organizations in his will that he was committed to donating to, including the Sigma Chi Foundation, the Inter-Fraternity Conference Foundation, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the other awards are divided up into scholarships and an Attleboro-specific category. Some past grants have been awarded for adult foster care. 

Most Balfour grants are between $7,000 and $400,000 in size so don't expect to find your million-dollar pot of gold here. However, multi-year funding requests are actually encouraged to help nonprofits build capacity. Around fifty grants are awarded each year.

At the end of the a recent year, the foundation reported over $114 in assets and more than $4.3 in total giving. Local grants have gone to Massachusetts 2020 for $75,000 for Expanded Learning Tie and Congregacion Leon de Juda for $75,000 for Passport to College. In addition to Massachusetts organizations, Balfour also supports groups in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Grant proposals are due March 1 of each year for scholarships and Attleboro-specific charities. However, proposals are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis for other educational organizations. The application process is carried out online, and you can complete everything right on the Bank of America website. Balfour's family doesn't play a large role in the administration of the foundation, and the trust is managed in the Massachusetts branch of the Bank of America office in Boston. If you have questions about the application process, direct them to the philanthropic director, Miki Akimoto, at miki.akimoto@ustrust.com or 866-778-6859.


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