Vela Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Vela Foundation supports nutrition, health and fitness programs in Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, nutrition, fitness, access to healthy foods

IP TAKE: The Vela Foundation has been funding more nutrition education programs than anything else lately. Many of these nutrition programs have a parent-child focus to support the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Family cooking and fitness classes are often favored by Vela.

PROFILE: Established in 2007, the Vela Foundation is focused on improving nutrition and wellness in eastern Massachusetts. It was formerly known as the Bernadette T. Rehnert Charitable Trust. Bernadette T. Rehnert is the founding trustee of the foundation, and she has also served on the Board of Directors of FUEL Education in Boston and as a Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club of Boston. As a long-time supporter of charity, Rehnert has contributed to local grassroots efforts, including donating turkeys to low-income families at Thanksgiving. Grantmaking interests are health, nutrition, fitness, and access to healthy foods.

Overall, the Vela Foundation aims to tackle health conditions associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Since its inception, the Vela Foundation has funded organizations that improve access to healthy foods and encourage fitness through nutrition education and physical activity. Preference is generally given to nonprofits that incorporate a strong family engagement principle in fitness programs and also to advocacy programs that promote systemic change. It is not uncommon to see this foundation collaborate with other organizations and funders that have similar priorities.

The average grant is between $5,000 and $15,000. View a list of recent grants on the funder’s website. The grantmaking emphasis is on underserved communities in eastern Massachusetts. Although the foundation is based in Boston, the nearby cities of Dorchester, Roxbury, Everett, Allston, Dartmouth, Fall River, and Jamaica Plain are also common grantee locations.

To apply for a Vela grant, the foundation accepts letters of inquiry on a rolling basis. These letters should be no more than two pages and submitted via email. Send letters of inquiry and general questions to brehnert@velafoundation.org. Visit the foundation's news section for recent updates.

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