Chelsea Collaborative food distribution

Safety Net Grants

Please email or call 617-338-4508 with questions.

The Safety Net Grants program is designed to support social service organizations that respond to essential needs for marginalized communities and vulnerable residents in Greater Boston.

Built upon our now-closed Open Door Grants program, Safety Net Grants provide an opportunity to provide much-needed general operating funds to nonprofits addressing critical, immediate and essential needs for people throughout the region.

Safety Net Grants are $50,000, two-year general operating support grants, paid in two equal annual installments of $25,000. Essential needs are defined as resources that restore health, wellness, safety and belonging for individuals or families in crisis. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • Childcare assistance
  • Direct cash assistance
  • Food security
  • Health care access
  • Legal support
  • Mental health support
  • Rental and housing assistance
  • Support for survivors of trauma
  • Transportation and mobility support

Grants are offered twice each year - once in the spring and once in the fall. Information on the program is available via the Quick Links box, or elsewhere on the page below. If you have specific questions, please send an e-mail to or call 617-338-4508.

 Quick Links

Applicants who submitted a proposal for the February 15, 2023, deadline will be notified by the end of June 2023
Watch a recording and view slides from the Information Session on January 12th, 2pm-3:30pm EST 
Who We Are neighborhood
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Safety Net Grants Information Session

This session offered potential applicants to the Safety Net Grants program a chance to learn more about the eligibility requirements, application process and selection criteria. If you were not able to attend the webinar, a recording of the webinar and PowerPoint slides are below.

Watch a recording of the Safety Net Grants Info Session


Who Is Eligible?

Eligible Organizations primarily serve communities historically excluded from institutional philanthropy in the Foundation’s catchment area with a priority for organizations in Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Randolph, and Salem. An eligible applicant would also meet the following criteria:

  • Has not submitted an application within the past 12 months;
  • Has a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit designation from the IRS or operates under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit;         
  • Aligns with Our New Pathway, the strategic vision for The Boston Foundation;
  • Does not discriminate in the hiring of staff or the provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability;
  • Responds to an essential need by providing resources that restore health, wellness, safety and belonging for individuals or families in crisis 

We are especially interested in organizations that are:

  • Operating with budgets less than $500,000 in annual revenue;
  • BIPOC-led and/or whose leadership reflects the demographic composition and lived experiences of the communities they serve;
  • Meeting the needs of seniors and people with physical disabilities;
  • Providing food, fuel and shelter support


The Boston Foundation does not make grants for capital construction costs, endowments, medical or academic research, scholarships, sectarian or religious purposes, or to support candidates for political office. Private non-operating foundations, 501(c)(4) organizations, and Section 501(a)(3) Type III Non-functionally Integrated organizations are not eligible to apply. In addition, grants are not made to individual persons. Parent Teacher Associations and tuition-based schools (including K-12 and post-secondary schools and universities) are also not eligible for this funding.