A Foundation-wide Focus on Public Policy

To advance the Foundation's overarching goal "to dismantle persistent, racialized economic disparities" in Boston and Chelsea, Massachusetts requires changes in public policies and institutions. Lasting institutional and policy change occurs when the people most affected by issues/problems lead efforts to develop solutions, and when those solutions address the root causes of the disparities.

Why Policy Change?

Youth members of UTEC in Lowell discuss the importance of voting (November 3, 2015)

Influencing larger public policies and systems is essential to achieving a broad range of social and economic justice goals and to addressing racial and ethnic disparities.  The Foundation’s investment in policy change is grounded in the knowledge and experience it has gained from its direct support of community engagement, affordable housing production and programming for high-risk teens.  While a high percentage of the Foundation’s public policy funding has focused on increasing public resources to support critical social needs, it also has helped to protect and extend civil liberties and rights; eliminate barriers to fuller participation in society; and increase fair lending and address specific problems in low-income communities such as the mortgage foreclosure crisis. 

Key Policy Issues

At the "enhanced" level of our work, the Foundation is providing resources for grassroots leadership development, community organizing and policy change strategies to address three specific racial justice issues of critical importance in Boston and Chelsea today. For further information on these issues, please refer to Important Racial Justice Issues.

A Framework for Public Policy Change

In all of its policy funding, the Foundation looks to support organizations that are led by, or provide for meaningful participation of, individuals who are directly affected by the policies in question.  Working closely with its grantees, and drawing from the work of other foundations that focus on public policy change, the Foundation developed a Public Policy/Community Organizing Framework  .  The Foundation recognizes that policy change can take a long time. As a result, it supports the capacity of policy-focused grantees on an ongoing basis so that they have a continuing advocacy presence while also being able to seize opportunities for action when they arise.