Impact Area Grants

The Boston Foundation

Grant amount: US $25,000 - US $150,000

Next deadline: Nov 1, 2018 (Letter of inquiry)

Later deadlines: Jan 15, 2019 (Full proposal), Feb 1, 2019 (Letter of inquiry), Apr 15, 2019 (Full proposal), May 1, 2019 (Letter of inquiry), Jul 15, 2019 (Full proposal), Aug 1, 2019 (Letter of inquiry), Oct 15, 2019 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Massachusetts: Essex County, Middlesex County, Norfolk County, Plymouth County, Suffolk County

Location of residency: United States

View website    Save Need help writing this grant?


NOTE: To proceed with a grant application, an organization must discuss the possibility with Foundation staff, who will invite the submission of a Letter of Inquiry if the organization is a potential candidate. There are no deadlines for submitting an LOI. Organizations seeking consideration at one of four Foundation board meetings (March, June, October and December) should submit an LOI three to four months in advance. Approximate "letter of inquiry"  and "full proposal" deadlines are listed above. 

In line with its long-range plan, the Boston Foundation invests most of its discretionary resources in five impact areas and two crosscutting strategies. Nonprofits fitting within the defined goals of those areas and strategies are invited to apply for support after conversation with our program staff to ensure the organization's work is eligible for funding.

The impact areas are:

  • Arts + Culture
  • Education
  • Health + Wellness
  • Jobs + Economic Development
  • Neighborhoods + Housing

Impact Areas

Arts + Culture

Enhancing civic and cultural vitality in Greater Boston

The Arts and Culture impact area works in concert with the City of Boston’s cultural plan, Boston Creates, to drive investment, innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness across all levels of Greater Boston’s arts ecosystem.

Core components of our work:

  • Performing Arts
  • Infrastructure
  • Public Art
  • Advocacy
  • Cultural Equity

Read complete details here.


Strengthening the education-to-career pipeline and pathways from early childhood through postsecondary completion.

We work to ensure that all Greater Boston residents can access the education and training they will need to remain in our region and succeed in their careers. 

Core components of our work:

  • Early Childhood
  • K-12 Structural Reform
  • Postsecondary Completion     

Read complete details here.

Health + Wellness

Focusing on prevention and long-term health.

The Health + Wellness impact area strives to lower rates of overweight and obesity in Boston and Massachusetts, and to reduce health-care costs through a focus on prevention. 

Core components of our work:

  • School-Based Youth Physical Activity
  • Early Childhood Obesity Prevention
  • Social Determinants of Health

Read complete details here.

Jobs + Economic Development

Providing equitable access to economic opportunity and mobility, with a focus on populations that have customarily been overlooked

Core components of our work:

  • Workforce Development   
  • Inner City Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation Economy

Read complete details here.

Neighborhoods + Housing

Working to make Boston and its surrounding communities affordable, accessible and responsive to community vision and needs

Core components of our work:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Housing

Read complete details here.

Types of Grants

Our competitive grants process considers two principal types of grants for priority investments: General Operating Support and Project Support Grants. These grants fund the core operations of organizations with missions and activities that are highly aligned with the strategies and goals of the Boston Foundation. Grants go to nonprofits that show the potential to make a measurable contribution to achieving one or more of the desired results we seek for our community. In addition, most funded organizations will be in alignment with one or more of the approaches that we have identified as most likely to have an impact. 

General Operating Support

General Operating Support grants are usually up to $150,000 or 10–15 percent of an organization’s operating budget, whichever is lower, and may be awarded for up to five years. Applicants for multi-year General Operating Support grants must have a current strategic or business plan that clearly articulates the organization’s goals and presents a clear plan for achieving results. We work closely with nonprofit recipients of multi-year General Operating Support grants and learn together as strategic partners to achieve strong, measurable outcomes for Greater Boston residents. 

Project Support Grants

We also make grants to support specific projects or programs that are highly aligned with the strategies, goals and approaches we pursue in our five impact areas or Nonprofit Effectiveness strategy. This includes programs that are embedded within multiservice organizations or larger institutions, such as hospitals or universities that, in their entirety, may not be completely aligned with the strategies, goals and approaches of our impact areas or Nonprofit Effectiveness strategy.

Project Support Grants vary in size and duration as well as the percentage of project costs covered, but in general range from $25,000 to $100,000 to be applied to project budgets that include an appropriate amount of overhead. Project Support Grants are most often one-year awards, but in certain cases may be awarded as multi-year grants.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Are You Eligible to Apply?
    • Make sure you are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit or an entity operating under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit.
    • Confirm that your organization’s work is within the Foundation’s geographic area served.
    • Review the priorities of the strategic area through which you are interested in applying (use the links above).
    • Check out the exclusions below.
    • Contact a member of our Program Staff to ensure your organization’s work is eligible for funding. A conversation with a Program Officer is needed prior to any application.


  • Exclusions:
    • The 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, 509(c)(4) organizations, and Section 509(a)(3) Type III Non-functionally Integrated organizations are not eligible to apply.
    • The Foundation does not make grants to organizations whose goals are at odds with our mission of sustaining a vital, prosperous city and region, where justice and opportunity are extended to everyone.
  • Arts + Culture Exclusions:
    • The Arts & Culture impact area does not currently support the following areas:
      • Arts education and youth arts, except through our support of Edvestor’s BPS Arts Expansion initiative.
      • Capital grants or requests
      • Elder arts
      • Fashion arts
      • Film projects, film making or film festivals
      • Literature/literary arts

About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary