Stoneman Family Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Stoneman Foundation supports education, health, and Jewish causes in Boston, as well as other issues and regions more recently.

FOCUS AREAS: Education, health, Jewish causes

IP TAKE: Education and poverty organizations often receive $10,000 or $20,000 grants. Make sure a program pitches a solution to a problem and does not just mask the symptoms.

PROFILE: Established in 1957, the Stoneman Family Foundation is the foundation of Sidney Stoneman. Stoneman, co-founder of the General Cinema movie chain and honorary director of Harcourt General, established this foundation and named it after his parents, Anne and David. For about 30 years, Stoneman ran his foundation quietly with his wife and gave money to the Boston Orchestra, medical centers, and Jewish causes in Boston, where the couple lived. However, more formality was deemed necessary when the Stonemans made philanthropy a family affair. Foundation interests are education, health, and Jewish causes.

More recently, Stoneman's daughters and grandchildren have wanted to take the foundation in new directions by sending funds to grassroots organizations serving poverty-stricken populations in the southern United States. Stoneman devised a power-sharing agreement that split the foundation's assets in half between him and his wife and the younger generations. A current goal of the foundation is an economic justice one: to help low-income people achieve independence and self-sufficiency. As a general rule, Stoneman prefers to address underlying causes rather than treat symptoms with its grants. Pitch a program that uses entrepreneurial approaches to providing leadership opportunities for disadvantaged populations and leverage additional funding.

Foundation grants often range from $3,000 to $900,000 each, with the average grant at about $10,000. Learn more about foundation giving in the funder’s tax records. According to the legacy statement that was approved by the board in 1997, a fair amount of funds must always stay in Boston and with Jewish organizations.

Historically, Stoneman has required an initial one-to-two-page letter of inquiry, with full application forms completed later upon request. The foundation hired Grants Management Associates to administer the grantmaking. For more information, contact Mott Philanthropic LLC's Julia M. Toulmin at 617-927-5700 or the Office of Goulston & Storrs at 617-482-1776.


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