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Open Door Grant

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits for Projects
Addressing Critical Needs in the Greater Boston Area

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Boston Foundation (TBF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/01/19 11:59 PM


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Grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to Massachusetts new and existing nonprofits in the greater Boston area for innovative programs addressing critical needs and challenges in local communities. Organizations supporting individuals with physical disabilities or seniors are especially encouraged to apply for an Open Door Grant as the Foundation has funding specifically designated for these purposes.

Open Door Grants are especially focused on organizations serving and building power in communities historically excluded from institutional philanthropy and whose leadership reflects the communities they serve. Examples include, but are not limited to: communities of color; the LGBTQIA community; immigrants and refugees; people with disabilities; poor or low-income people; youth and seniors.

Funding is available for general operating support as well as project support, including capacity-building projects.

The Foundation will fund statewide advocacy or policy research when there is a strong connection with and influence on Greater Boston policy interests.

Organizations doing work in any of the following areas may be eligible for funding through the Boston Foundation’s Open Door Grants program.
- Arts education and youth arts
- Capital grants or requests
- Elder arts
- Fashion arts
- Film projects, filmmaking or film festivals
- Literature/literary arts

The Foundation encourages new and existing nonprofit organizations in Greater Boston that are not currently aligned with the strategies, goals and approaches pursued in the Foundation’s five impact areas to pursue Open Door Grants for support of their efforts to meet existing needs or test new ideas and innovations that address the most critical challenges and biggest opportunities facing the community.

The Foundation aims to maintain a diverse funding portfolio and considers a variety of factors such as commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, budget size, geographic area served, service population and mission when determining which applicants are selected for investment.

The Foundation encourages collaboration. One organization should submit the application as the lead organization on behalf of the collaborative partners.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182035

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant funding ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

Term of Contract:

Grants will be made for one year at a time and for up to two years in a row, with a renewal application required for those seeking a second year of funding.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

In general, the Foundation funds projects, programs and efforts that serve cities and towns in Greater Boston. Both existing and new/start-up organizations are eligible to apply.

An eligible applicant would be an existing or new organization that:

- Is not in direct conflict with the strategies, goals and approaches pursued by the Foundation’s five impact areas (see:
- Has a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit designation from the IRS or operates under the fiscal sponsorship of a tax-exempt nonprofit. (The organization is responsible for having that relationship in place before submitting an application.)
- Primarily serves the people of the cities and towns in the Foundation’s catchment area, with the exception of regional, statewide or national public policy efforts that may benefit a substantial portion of the people in the Foundation’s catchment area
- Aligns with the Foundation’s Values Statement, which seeks to broaden participation; foster collaboration; and heal racial, ethnic and community divisions
- Does not discriminate in the hiring of staff or the provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability
- Has not submitted an application within the past 12 months

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 or individual schools. Schools must apply through their school districts and districts may submit one application every 12 months.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Sessions run December 7, 2018 through January 10, 2019.

The Foundation asks that each nonprofit organization limit its registration to one individual, to allow space to accommodate as many nonprofits as possible.

For Conference dates and registration:

Friday, December 14, 2018
10:00 - 11:30 a.m
Parenting Journey
366 Somerville Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143
(Session at capacity)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Thomas Crane Public Library
40 Washington Street
Quincy, MA 02169
Register Now:

Thursday, January 10, 2019
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Register Now:

This series of conversations, held throughout Greater Boston, provides community members with the opportunity to learn more about Open Door Grants, ask questions and discuss the application and review processes with Boston Foundation staff.

For additional information, or to register by phone or email, please contact Lauren McDermott.

Pre-Application Information:

The Foundation considers applications biannually for Open Door Grants. The upcoming application dates are listed below.

Application Deadline: August 1, 2018
Applicants Notified (Via Email): Mid- December 2018

Application Deadline: February 1, 2019
Applicants Notified (Via Email): Mid- June 2019

To apply:
1. Complete an online narrative application. (If your organization received an Open Door Grant and you wish to apply for a second year of support for the same program or work, please see the Renewals section.)

2. Complete select fields within a Giving Common profile. To request a profile for the first time, please submit a Giving Common profile request form. To confirm that select fields in your existing profile are up to date, please e-mail Giving Common staff. Applications will not be considered without having completed the select fields by the ODG application deadline.

Giving Common profile request form:

The Foundation does not accept more than one application per 12 month period.

A pre-conversation is not necessary to apply for an Open Door Grant; however, if an applicant has questions please email the Foundation and a member of the grants management staff will be happy to assist.

While the Boston Foundation website performs best in Firefox or Chrome, please use Internet Explorer for the forms.


The Foundation’s Values Statement:

Considerations for Funding, Open Door Grants advice:

Arts and Culture:

Contact Information:

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

To Apply:

Giving Common staff
phone (617-338-1623)

Lauren McDermott

The Boston Foundation
75 Arlington Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02116

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Greater Boston Area