Boston –The Boston Foundation today announced $3.1 million in funding to 40 organizations, including twenty-four in the first cohort of grantees under the new Safety Net Grants program. The Safety Net Grants program is designed to support social service organizations that respond to essential needs of marginalized communities and vulnerable residents in Greater Boston. Each Safety Net Grants recipient will receive a $50,000 grant for general operating support over two years.
The announcement of this round of grants comes as TBF unveils its new strategic approach, which focuses on four interconnected pathways – Nurturing Strong Beginnings, Building Economic Opportunity, Advancing Community Wealth, and Amplifying Community Leadership.
“We are pleased to make this first round of Safety Net Grants awards in honor of each organization’s critically important work toward making Boston a more equitable city by serving essential needs,” said M. Lee Pelton, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “But what makes the program so powerful is the commitment of the more than two dozen community members who led the final decision-making process. Their leadership provides a new and vital partnership in the work.”
In all, 26 community members served on the final review panel, working in partnership with TBF to ensure the final slate represented a diverse portfolio of organizations across Greater Boston. Overall, 79% of Safety Net Grants partners are led by people of color, and nearly half are organizations that have not received funding from TBF in recent years.
“If we are to call ourselves an equity-focused organization, we must recognize the power of community voices and lived experience in every aspect of our work – including our decisions about funding, said Orlando Watkins, Vice President and Chief Program Officer. “Establishing the community review panel for Safety Net Grants builds upon the participatory grantmaking approach we began with Open Door Grants, and is one we plan to expand to other grantmaking decisions and even beyond in our new strategy.”
This quarter also marks the first quarter for grants to be allocated under TBF’s four equity-focused pathways. In addition to the Safety Net Grants, which are part of the Foundation’s Amplifying Community Leadership pathway, the Foundation made grants to nonprofit partners in the Nurturing Strong Beginnings, Building Economic Opportunity, and Advancing Community Leadership pathways.
“These grants are just a first step in the overall evolution of our work across the organization to focus on equity through these four pathways,” added Watkins. “Looking ahead to this summer and fall, we will continue to reshape our work and partnership in areas that go well beyond grantmaking to other critical aspects of civic leadership – including partnerships with donors, nonprofits, community leaders and others across Greater Boston.”
Among the most notable grants were those given to arts organizations in the Advancing Community Leadership pathway. The largest grant, a three-year, $375,000 grant to The Theater Offensive will support the construction and operations of a new theater, supporting facility features that will improve access for elder and physically disabled members of the greater QTPOC (Queer Trans People of Color) community the company serves. TBF also continued its support of long-time partnerships – among them the Boston Opportunity Agenda, Boston After School and Beyond, and Camp Harbor View, all of which were funded as part of the Building Economic Opportunity pathway.
A complete list of grants follows - overall, 63% of the grant partners this quarter are led by people of color.
Amplifying Community Leadership
Safety Net Grants
The following 24 organizations were selected by the community advisory committee of the Safety Net Grants program as grantees for the Spring 2023 cycle. Each organization receives a $50,000 grant spread across two years. Of this cohort, 21 of 24 organizations are led by people of color, and eleven of the 24 have not received discretionary funding from the Boston Foundation in recent years.
Asian American Service Association, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Asian American Service Association to support their work with Asian elders age 60 and older, enabling them to access culturally and linguistically appropriate services for their overall health and well-being through the bi-lingual and experienced social service staff of WSC.
Boston Home, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Boston Home, Inc., an organization that provides housing and care for seniors and individuals with physical disabilities.
Bryce's Journey, Inc
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Bryce's Journey, Inc., an organization that provides services for majority Black and Hispanic children and families living with ASD and/or ADHD.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Building Audacity, an organization that supports youth-led changemaking.
Cocotree Kids, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Cocotree Kids, Inc., an organization that responds to the urgent need for underwear for children (ages 2 to 16), particularly in the cities/neighborhoods with the highest percentage of marginalized and vulnerable residents in Massachusetts.
Concord Prison Outreach, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Concord Prison Outreach, Inc., an organization that offers high-quality, transformative programs that focus on education, personal growth, and increased opportunity for incarcerated people and their families.
East Boston Community Soup Kitchen
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to East Boston Community Soup Kitchen, an organization that seeks to provide a sense of community to those affected by hunger, homelessness, and difficult life circumstances.
Empowered and Dedicated to Edify the Nation
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Empowered and Dedicated to Edify the Nation, an organization that serves underrepresented, underserved, and marginalized individuals, the majority of whom are young single mothers (ages 18 and up) who identify as BIPOC.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to First Teacher, a community of parents and caregivers working together to prepare all our children for success in kindergarten and beyond.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Girls' LEAP, an organization that seeks to empower girls and young women to value and champion their safety and well-being.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Gratis Healthcare, an organization that provides free medical care to people of color and varying primary languages.
Haitian Health Institute
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Haitian Health Institute, an organization that seeks to reach families of children with developmental disability in the Haitian community of Greater Boston.
Hawthorne Youth and Community Center, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Hawthorne Youth and Community Center, an organization that will focus on meeting the needs of African American, Latinx, and Asian low-income elderly residents living in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Jamaica Plain.
Interfaith Social Services, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Interfaith Social Services, Inc., an organization that seeks to deliver compassionate, client-centered programs focused on hunger, mental health and emergency assistance.
Lawyers for Civil Rights
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Lawyers for Civil Rights, an organization that fosters equal opportunity and fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants.
Mabel Center for Immigrant Justice Corp
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Mabel Center for Immigrant Justice Corp, an organization that provides expert pro bono legal services to asylum-seeking families that have been separated, detained in family detention centers, and/ or subjected to expedited removal.
Sitters for Scholars (formerly Sitters Without Borders)
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Sitters for Scholars, an organization that seeks to advance low-income mothers into economic independence through education, using volunteer babysitters.
Sojourner House, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Sojourner House, Inc., an organization that serves as a shelter of hope for families, providing a circle of support and empowering them towards independence.
Somali Parents Advocacy Center for Education (SPACE)
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Somali Parents Center for Education (SPACE), an organization that seeks to support, educate, empower and inspire parents to be better advocates for their children, more specifically, their children with special needs in schools, in health care, and in the community.\
Salem Pantry, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Salem Pantry, Inc., an organization that seeks to work collaboratively to empower its diverse local and regional communities by ensuring the essential right to convenient and reliable access to healthy food.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to VietAID, an organization that is building a strong Vietnamese American community and a vibrant Fields Corner by promoting civic engagement and community building; developing affordable housing and commercial space; providing small business technical assistance and micro-enterprise development; and offering high-quality child care services.
We Are Better Together/Warren Daniel Hairston Project, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to We Are Better Together Warren Daniel Hairston Project, Inc., an organization that connects and heals women and girls affected by homicide and incarceration to prevent the cycles of violence and victimization.
Wily Network, Inc.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Wily Network, Inc., an organization that serves Boston area students who are navigating college without a safety net.
A two-year $50,000 general operating support grant to Y2Y Network, an organization that believes all young people deserve a safe place to sleep and access to the resources needed to reach their highest potential.
Nurturing Strong Beginnings
Strategies for Children, Inc.
A $50,000 one-year general operating support grant to Strategies for Children, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the well-being of children and families in Massachusetts, to support their current work to build public awareness of early childhood education and care’s critical role in the economy and to secure the necessary public investments to stabilize, sustain, and grow the field.
Advancing Community Wealth
The Flavor Continues
A $75,000 one-year general operating support grant for The Flavor Continues, a greater Boston-based non-profit driving social impact through Street and Club Dance programming, to support organizational capacity, artist and community movement building; and to secure a safe location/building for their weekly and monthly programming to reach marginalized residents.
Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts
An $80,000 one-year general operating support grant for the Lynn Arts Museum to support its first-time BIPOC Executive Director and her leadership, increasing staffing capacity, enhancing a paid youth internship program, assisting in the creation of a BIPOC artist-in-residence/ curator program, and supporting recurring programs that engage students, families, youth, adults, and seniors.
Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants
A $60,000 one-year general operating support grant for Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT), a resident-run membership coalition of tenant associations in subsidized housing. MAHT provides organizing and technical assistance to HUD and MassHousing tenants in Central and Eastern Massachusetts, advocates for policies that increase affordable housing resources, and helps preserve existing affordable housing.
Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations
A $150,000 one-year general operating support grant to the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), a membership organization of community development corporations (CDCs). The grant will support MACDC's work in three main areas: advocating for public policies that support equitable community development; coalition building at the intersection of housing quality and health equity; and working with the CDC network on the collective commitment to racial equity as a guiding principle of their work. MACDC members are diverse organizations representing diverse communities and perspectives, from community land trusts to older, well-established Boston CDCs.
Roxbury District Increment Financing
An $80,000 one-year grant for the Roxbury District Increment Financing (a mechanism that allows the property tax increment created by new development to be captured over 30 years and diverted to support capital projects focused on arts & culture within a geographic area) to conduct market research and community engagement activities to inform the process and infrastructure for future real estate development projects in Roxbury.
Stiggity Stacks Worldwide
An $80,000 one-year general operating support grant for Stiggity Stackz Worldwide to grow organizational capacity, increase movement building, expand cross-cultural knowledge exchanges, and explore cross-sector partnerships that allow for greater resources towards ownership of space.
Theater Offensive, Inc.
A three-year, $375,000 ($125,000/year for three years) grant for The Theater Offensive, a nonprofit led by and for queer and trans people of color, to support the construction and operations of a new theater built to serve the greater QTPOC community. The grant will focus on facility features that will enhance access for QTPOC elders and the physically disabled community.
Building Economic Opportunity
Boston After School & Beyond
A $150,000 one-year general operating support grant for Boston After School & Beyond, a public-private partnership that creates, supports, and coordinates enduring, engaging after-school and summer learning models to help more young people develop school, career, and life skills.
Boston Opportunity Agenda
A $200,000 one-year general operating support grant payable to the Boston Foundation for the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a public/private partnership that works to transform the cradle-to-career education landscape by removing systemic barriers that create unacceptable outcomes and lack of opportunity and by creating a just, equitable education system.
College Advising Corps
A $100,000 one-year project support grant to Trustees of Boston University to support College Advising Corps-BU for their college access advising work and Success Boston partnership.
Camp Harbor View Foundation
A $150,000 one-year, general operating support grant for Camp Harborview, a multi-service organization with programs and initiatives that address the broad needs of families and young people, including an engaging and enriching summer camp, student leadership activities throughout the school year, and supports for families.
A $75,000 one-year project support grant to EdVestors, an organization that works to increase the number of schools in Boston that deliver dramatically improved educational outcomes for all students, to support the final year of Phase V of the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative.
A one-year $150,000 project support grant to EdVestors, an organization that works to increase the number of schools in Boston delivering dramatically improved educational outcomes for all students.
Massachusetts Alliance for Early College
A $50,000 one-year general operating support grant to the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, a cross-sector coalition that works to dramatically increase the number of students with access to high-quality Early College in Massachusetts, to support its coalition building, funding and policy advocacy, capacity building, and innovation activities.
Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Inc.
A $50,000 one-year general operating support grant to MBAE, a policy and advocacy organization that partners with businesses and other organizations to ensure that all students have access to high-quality pathways that prepare them for postsecondary success, career, and citizenship.
NextGen Talent, Inc.
A $75,000 one-year general operating support grant to NextGen Talent, a non-profit organization working to boost the labor-market payoff of postsecondary credentials for first-generation, low-income students and students of color by providing data-informed career advising tools and professional networking supports.