Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation: Boston Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Fireman Charitable Foundation is a leader in funding homeless relief programs. It aims to end family homelessness in Massachusetts and assist the communities where Fireman family members live and work.

IP TAKE: Fireman likes to skip past the bureaucracy and red tape as much as possible. The foundation is generally willing to have open discussions with anyone doing something innovative to end homelessness. If you're going to attempt a discussion about anything besides homelessness, make it about education or health.

PROFILE: Tackling homelessness is a major fundamental goal of the Fireman Charitable Foundation, which has a growing interest in supporting organizations with antipoverty strategies. Homelessness and poverty are just a few aspects of grantmaking at Fireman, however. Other focused giving areas have been health care, Jewish charities, and performing arts programs in the past. However, the foundation is looking at efforts to strength families and promote international human rights in the future.

This foundation was created by Paul Fireman, the former CEO of Reebok International. He created this foundation after Reebok became a public company in 1985. The foundation revisited its program areas but is still very focused on ending homelessness in Massachusetts.

In the past, Fireman has provided grants of roughly $6 million annually to organizations primarily in the Greater Boston area. Some of the largest gifts have gone to Be the Change ($200,000), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ($371,000) and Lawrence Community Works ($200,000).

Here's how giving has broken down in the past in the top five categories : 

  • Ending homelessness - 32% 
  • Jewish community - 20% 
  • Health - 10%
  • Education - 8% 
  • Civic affairs and leadership - 7% 

A few things that will help fundraisers: The foundation has placed an emphasis on programs that are "data-driven," have "big bold goals," and "get assets and social capital in the hands of poor people."

One Family Inc., a nonprofit created by the Firemans to advance this vision, currently operates a scholarship program for formerly homeless and at-risk women and conducts a major campaign to end family homelessness in Massachusetts. 

At this time, the foundation is not accepting unsolicited proposals. A list of key partnerships and initiatives can be viewed here. All inquiries should be directed to 


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