Schooner Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Schooner Foundation was built upon the success of a Boston-based investment firm and has developed both a local and a global focus. Although the international programs revolve around human rights, the local programs are more centered on politics and the media.

FUNDING AREAS: Progressive media, campaign finance reform, the green economy, investigative reporting, judicial reform

IP TAKE: The foundation donates a good portion of its money towards liberal and progressive political causes.

PROFILE: Established in 1996, the Schooner Foundation is the grantmaking arm of the Schooner Capital LLC investment company. Since then, it has been channeling funds into a foundation to support human rights and other charitable causes around the world. Vin Ryan started the investment firm back in 1971 and has been instrumental in directing the foundation towards specific interests. Local grantmaking interests are progressive media, campaign finance reform, the green economy, investigative reporting, and judicial reform.

Many of the foundation’s local grants go to political organizations and activist groups. Schooner grants are often awarded to advocacy groups and organizations needing to build capacity or that are in need of technical assistance. Specific project grants, multi-year funding grants, and fellowships are also common. Schooner also contributes to political candidates and party committees. A few past grantees in the Boston area include Democracy Fund Inc., Boston University's School of Social Work, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.  

Foundation grants are typically less than $500,000 each. Learn more about foundation giving in the funder’s recent tax records. Even though Schooner operates on a global spectrum, a large portion of the grant money stays in Boston each year.

The foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals and does not share its grantmaking procedures. Direct general questions to the foundation by email at


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