Not every law firm has enough resources to start a philanthropic foundation—or cares enough to do so—but there are a few big givers in this world that are. Much of the action is in New York City and Boston, which are home to some of the nation's most prestigious law firms, and also where top law firm foundations focus their giving.
The Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation is one of these funders, and it's been pretty active on the East Coast lately. Most recently, the foundation awarded a new round of Relationship Grants for the 2017-2018 academic year. It awarded 14 new grants totaling approximately $200,000 in this cycle to support inner-city education programs. For reference, the foundation received 75 proposals, and invited two dozen of the applicants to submit full proposals.
We’ve noted in the past that these Relationship Grants tend to go to the same groups year after year. However, two brand new grantees got in on the action this year: Horizons for Homeless Children in Boston and Generation Citizen in New York City.
Overall, Boston groups are receiving the steadiest support for this grant program. But in both Boston and New York, the funds are supporting things like debate programs, scientific literacy and reading programs for homeless kids.
While the foundation is giving more of these Relationship Grants to Boston groups, it has directed plenty of other recent support at New York City. Earlier this year, the Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation awarded grants to teach Brooklyn high school students about immigration history, start a robotics club at a Staten Island school, and support a nonprofit program that teaches entrepreneurship skills to NYC students.
Meanwhile, in Boston, the funder has been awarding grants to help middle school students publish stories they’ve written, learn about justice and establish a writing center at the Boston Teachers Union School. For Brown Rudnick, inner-city education isn’t just about STEM, as it is for so many corporate funders these days. In fact, there’s been a ton of funding for liberal arts subjects lately, which is something worth noting if you’re in Boston or New York City. Washington, D.C. is also a geographic area of interest for this funder on the East Coast.
In addition to the Relationship Grants described above, the Brown Rudnick Charitable Foundation awards Community Grants to subsidize small and concrete projects that aim to improve inner-city education. What’s great about these grants is that they are awarded monthly, so you don’t have to wait for a single annual deadline to roll around. Community Grants also are the best opportunity for new groups that haven't received funding from the firm in the past. As a general rule, the firm gives up to $2,000 per month for Community Grants, and you can see a list of past recipients here.