The Jacket Foundation: Boston Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Gross Family Foundation funds grants almost entirely in the Boston area for youth services, education, athletics, and cancer research. Most grants have been in the $2,500 to $900,000 range range for pre-selected organizations.

FUNDING AREAS: Youth services, education, athletics for water and snow sports, cancer research

IP TAKE: Phillip Gross is an investment banker with a passion for skiing and helping out youth services organizations in Boston. Although unsolicited proposals aren't encouraged, an athletic program for disadvantaged youth in the city has the best chance of getting noticed.

PROFILE: Boston and hedge fund-based foundations seem to go hand-in-hand these days. Phillip Gross, co-founder of Adage Capital Management, LP, started his own philanthropy foundation in 1998 to give Boston-based organizations an extra boost. The Gross Family Foundation sticks almost exclusively to non-profits within the Boston city limits and considers all the usual type of program areas, as well as a few unconventional ones.

Before Phillip Gross started a hedge fund, he was a healthcare analyst at Harvard Management Company. Despite his experience in healthcare, very few health-related grants are awarded each year. Instead, Gross Family grants revolve around youth services organizations and educational facilities. When he's not investment banking, you can often find Gross on the ski slopes, as he has a passion for skiing and has actually served on the board of trustees for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. Although Gross is a University of Wisconsin graduate, he rarely sends funds back to his home state or to his alma mater.

When it comes to philanthropy, Gross has traaditionally been most interested in youth services organizations including local youth groups Youth Enrichment Services and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. Gross usually awards several grants each year to Boston-based Youth Enrichment Services in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $250,000. If you can think of a program that ties snow and water sports together with disadvantaged inner-city youth, you're golden.

With over $64 million in assets, the foundation's awards generally range from $2,500 to $900,000 each. Other Gross grants in the area have been $1 million to the Fenn Schools, $400,000 to Tufts University, $375,000 to Strategic Grant Partners. Gross supports the occasional HIV/AIDS cause as well. At the end of a past year, total giving was over $4.8 million. For comparison, the previous year saw $3.2 million awarded and spread across 30 grants. This funder has had over $105 million in assets.

The Gross Foundation doesn't have a website and it doesn't publicize its grant application guidelines either. Grants aren't awarded to individuals, but any organization in Boston or Cambridge is fair game. Phillip and his wife, Elizabeth, run the operation along with Thomas V. Quirk, the Vice President and CIO of Howard Capital Private Investment Advisors. You can try reaching Phillip at the foundation office by mail at 75 Federal Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02110 or by phone at 617-357-9110.


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