In 1921, Godfrey M. Hyams established a trust to dedicate his money to charity, resulting in the birth of the Hyams Foundation. A metallurgist, engineer and financier, Hyams lived a modest life in which he and his family were actively involved in charity. After his death in 1927, a large portion of his estate was placed in the trust to be used for purposes to be determined over time.
Today, the foundation has evolved to address racial and ethnic disparities, specifically within Boston and Chelsea, Massachusetts. As a private, independent foundation, the foundation envisions “a society in which systems and structures are transformed to create the conditions for increased collective well-being and produce equitable power, access, opportunities, and outcomes, regardless of race,” according to the website. The Board of Trustees and eight-person staff look to utilize grantmaking to not only directly address racism but also empower those within these Massachusetts communities. To best inform funding decisions regarding community initiatives, the foundation consistently aims for “organizational diversity” via incorporating a racially and ethnically diverse leadership team and staff.
Major Program Categories:
Since 2008, the Hyams Foundation has awarded over $35 million in grants. And as of last year, the Hyams Foundation has provided grants utilizing a newly structured approach that highlights three main levels of “racial justice challenges in Boston and Chelsea today … each has emerged from the community, has involved active organizing by Hyams’s grantees and others, and presents specific current or emerging policy change agendas.”
At the base level, the foundation looks to support “community-identified issues,” which include grassroots community organizing and empowerment within low-income populations. Last year, over $2 million went to this category – nearly half of the total grants awarded. For example, the foundation awarded a grant to The City School to help them conduct leadership programs aiming to mentor and teach youth about social justice, activism and community organizing.
The foundation also focuses on “pivotal racial justice issues,” in which grantees and other community members will help select one critical area to address.
Further, at the final level of funding, the foundation highlights “important racial justice issues” such as disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, promoting fair wage benefits for low-income workers and increasing equitable housing access.
In addition to its three main grantmaking categories, the foundation has a special opportunities fund in order to support efforts addressing racial issues throughout Boston. These allow the foundation to go beyond their specified grants, such as helping public policy advocacy and addressing various economic issues within minority communities.
How to Apply: The foundation is looking to fund organizations with clear missions that benefit low-income and minority communities. Applicants should also demonstrate that they have “solid, overall organizational capacity such as an active and effective board, solid financial and other internal management practices, etc.”
For more information on applying for specific grant levels, contact Angela Brown: (617) 426-5600, ext. 310, [email protected]
Name of Foundation: The Hyams Foundation
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Tel: (617) 426-5600
Coverage Area: Boston and Chelsea, Massachusetts
Subject Area: Racial Justice Issues
Total Assets: $134 million (2015)
Last Year Total Grants Paid: $5.5 million (2015)