Allison Bauer, The Boston Foundation

TITLE: Program Director, Health and Wellness

FUNDING AREAS: Health and wellness, mental health

CONTACT: allison.bauer@tbf.org, 617-338-3934

IP TAKE: Bauer used to fight for gay rights, AIDS prevention, and social work causes. Even though she now serves as health and wellness program director at The Boston Foundation, this program area is still very broad. Try tying your grant proposal to LGBT and AIDS, within the confines of the program area restrictions, of course.

PROFILE: According to last year's Healthy People/Healthy Economy report card, Massachusetts gets a C+ when it comes to health and wellness. This means there's still a lot of work to do for Program Director Allison Bauer. She's been in overseeing the health and wellness program at The Boston Foundation since 2007. This program covers everything from medical care to mental health, people with disabilities, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, child welfare, and elderly services.

That's a wide variety of issues to cover in one position, but fortunately, Bauer is the perfect woman for the job. Before joining The Boston Foundation, she served as chief counsel and staff director for the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the Massachusetts House of Representatives. During her stint in politics, she worked for State Representative Ruth Balser. Bauer also is the former director of professional issues and member services for Massachusetts' National Association of Social Workers and a liaison to the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

Although a career split between politics and mental health might not be all that common, it's been a way of life for Bauer. She earned a bachelor's in political science at the University of Rochester, a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a master's in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Since joining the foundation, Bauer has been the strategic adviser for the yearly in-house publication "Healthy People in a Healthy Economy: A Blueprint for Action in Massachusetts." Bauer's C+ grade for the state's healthiness is actually an improvement on the previous year's C-. Although body mass percentages for children in schools are on the decline, kids still need to get more exercise and stop drinking soda. "Everybody is taking a role in this and seeing it as changing the way of life for people in the community," Bauer said. She's even made presentations about the obesity crisis at the Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

Health and obesity prevention are obvious focus areas for Bauer, but what else makes her tick? Gay and lesbian rights and AIDS prevention definitely top the list. Bauer has served as the legislative and policy analyst and the state policy manager at the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, based in Washington, D.C. In this role, she worked to ensure equal education for students, regardless of their sexual orientation and expression. She's also worked as a policy director for the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, where she supported policy efforts to find an HIV vaccine.

Healthy People/Healthy Economy is one of The Boston Foundation's primary grantmaking initiatives. The objectives of Bauer's program is to combat obesity, stop the spread of chronic disease, educate Bostonians about healthy choices, and provide active recreational opportunities. To learn more about The Boston Foundation's health and wellness program, check out the competition grantmaking page and the grant guidelines page.