New Balance Foundation: Grants for Massachusetts and Maine

OVERVIEW: The New Balance Foundation primarily focuses its grantmaking on childhood obesity in select cities in Massachusetts and Maine.

FUNDING AREAS: Childhood obesity, education, athletics, environment, health, human services, arts and culture, disaster relief

IP TAKE: New Balance has a niche with its philanthropy, so make sure that an organization's goals very closely align with its before applying.

PROFILE: Established in 1981, the New Balance Foundation is the grantmaking arm of the New Balance shoe company. In its early years, the trustees quietly contributed to child-focused causes in nearby neighborhoods. However, the foundation has since expanded and broadened its grantmaking. A husband-wife team, Jim and Anne Davis, runs the, which has its own staff and a board of trustees. Areas of interest include childhood obesity, education, athletics, environment, health, human services, arts and culture, and disaster relief.

Preventing childhood obesity is the top priority for New Balance, and the foundation aims to support grassroots initiatives to get children more active. Aside from the childhood obesity priority, New Balance occasionally considers grant proposals for educational institutions, athletic clubs, environmental causes, health issues, and cultural projects. When natural disasters strike around the world, New Balance contributes funds as well. A few past New Balance grantees in Boston include the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, Boston Children's Hospital, PlayWorks National, and Kid2Kid Inc.

Foundation grants have been between a few hundred dollars and $1 million. Learn more about past giving on the foundation’s recipients page of its website. This foundation focuses its giving on Boston and Lawrence, Massachusetts as well as Skowhegan, Norridgewock, and Norway, Maine. The city of Boston receives a sizable portion of New Balance grants because the company is headquartered there and most connected with the Boston community. The company also caters to the needs of Lawrence, Massachusetts, which is 25 minutes north of Boston and home to the company's manufacturing facility. Since the company built three facilities in the state of Maine as well, the towns of Norridgewock, Skowhegan, and Norway are also in the running for grants. It supports national and global causes by invitation only.

This foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. However, it has only been funding two or three new initiatives per year lately. The application process is conducted online, and past deadlines have occurred in March. Direct general questions to the foundation at newbalancefoundation@newbalance.com.

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