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The Lenny Zakim Fund (LZF)

Grants and In-Kind Support to Massachusetts Nonprofits
Serving Eligible Communities to Support Operations

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Lenny Zakim Fund (LZF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

09/01/21 11:59 PM EDT


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Grants of up to $20,000 and in-kind support to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations serving eligible communities to support operations. Priority is given to small grassroots organizations with limited capacity to raise other funds. Additionally, preference is given to support community organizing efforts identified by a community-driven process and making local impact. The Lenny Zakim Fund almost exclusively supports programs in Eastern Massachusetts.

The Lenny Zakim Fund (LZF) works to develop deep relationships and build bridges among people and communities to advance social, economic, and racial justice. The Fund's mission is to listen to those most impacted by inequity and provide the funding, essential resources, and support they need to create lasting change. An LZF grant is often the first step – a chance to turn a vision into a sustainable reality. 

The work of the Lenny Zakim Fund is guided by the following principles:

  • Social Justice: All that the Fund does is based in its deeply held belief that social justice is equity and that the fundamental rights, well-being, and dignity of all people must be recognized, upheld, and celebrated.
  • Grassroots Leadership: LZF is inspired by and respects the power and ability of those most impacted by injustice to bring about change.
  • Diversity and Belonging: LZF embraces a culture of inclusion and belonging, one that seeks out and welcomes the voices of those with diverse life experiences and intersectional identities.
  • Learning: LZF firmly believes that continuous, active, and reciprocal learning is critical to promoting awareness and creating a solid foundation for change.
  • Bridge Building: LZF is committed to bridging real and perceived difference, and to creating strong and lasting relationships that are fundamental to progress.
  • Responsiveness: Emerging challenges that impact those LZF serves require an acceptance of risk and an ability to adapt and respond as rapidly as possible.
  • Love: Love is at the heart of philanthropy. Love and compassion motivate and sustain the spirit of those who partner with LZF and remain dedicated to justice for all.

LZF strengthens its grantees by providing a variety of learning opportunities and services that are usually unaffordable for smaller organizations. LZF supports grassroots organizations through:

  • Unrestricted, multi-year general operating support grants
  • Educational seminars and workshops
  • Management assistance and coaching
  • Pro bono legal services
  • Open and ongoing relationships with grantees
  • Comprehensive and responsive approach to meeting grantee needs
  • Networking and referrals for grantees and donors
  • Active and participatory donor and board engagement
  • A culture of learning and teaching
  • Site visits

The Lenny Zakim Fund’s primary funding areas are:

  • Child and Youth Development and Education
  • Access to Food, Housing, and Economic Opportunity
  • Health Promotion and Accessibility for All
  • Organizing and Support for Immigrants and Refugees
  • Violence Prevention, Criminal Justice Reform and Family Outreach
  • LGBTQ Community Support and Organizing
  • Civil and Human Rights Advocacy and Support 

Challenge Grants:

Some awards may be designated as challenge grants. Organizations that receive a challenge grant must raise the amount of the challenge in new or increased gifts before LZF will distribute its grant. For more information about Challenge Grants, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 155676

Estimated Size of Grant:

General operating and program grants range between $1,000 and $20,000 per year.

Term of Contract:

Grants may be renewed for up to five years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Non-profit organizations based in Massachusetts that have an IRS 501c3 status or a documented fiscal agent that has 501c3 status are welcome to submit a proposal.

The Lenny Zakim Fund almost exclusively supports programs in Eastern Massachusetts. If your organization serves outside of Eastern Massachusetts, please contact the Fund prior to submitting a proposal.

LZF does not support conferences, sponsorships for fundraising events or other one-time events; one-time film, video, or print projects; requests from individuals; scholarships, research and development or planning grants; or capital campaigns.

Pre-proposal Conference:

- July 20, 2021: Informational session at 10 AM
- August 18, 2021: Informational session at 3 PM
To register for the informational sessions, please do so by visiting the URL for Full Text below.

Pre-Application Information:

Proposals are due by 11:59pm on September 1st, 2021 in the online system.

Grant Timeline:
- July 2021: 2022 Grants Application Released
- July 20, 2021: Informational session at 10 AM
- August 18, 2021: Informational session at 3 PM
- September 1, 2021: Applications are due by 11:59 PM
- November 2021: Notification of advancement to next round
- November/December 2021: Round 2 site visits, phone calls & meetings
- February 2022: Notification of final grant selection

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an informational session or watch a recording prior to applying.

Please note, if you are a current grantee, you do not need to reapply. Details on reapplying will go out at a later date.

Each year The Fund hosts several events; including an Awards Ceremony, professional development seminars, technical assistance workshops, and public forums. Grant recipients are required to participate in at least four workshops and/or events throughout the course of the grant year.

Click to watch a recording of the 7/20/21 info session:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

All application materials can be found at:

Eric Esteves, Executive Director

Dominique Ramos, Program and Office Administrator

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Eastern Massachusetts

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