The Filene Foundation is a private family foundation that makes grants to tax-exempt organizations and institutions that provide services to individuals and localities.
The Foundation's major goals are:
to enable those who are disadvantaged to help themselves and others;
to reduce social conflicts and create harmonious communities;
to encourage informed civic participation on local, state and regional levels; and
to promote participation in the performing arts.
Innovators in Boston's early philanthropic community, Lincoln and Therese Filene's interests spanned many areas of concern. Today, five generations of the Filene family continue the Foundation's grantmaking in four specific program areas, including:
The Civic Education Committee considers grants to organizations that reinforce the values and responsibilities, as well as the privileges and opportunities, of American citizenship for natural-born and immigrant populations.
The Committee focuses on programs to encourage, engage, and inform citizens including programs that educate others (e.g. training teachers or student leaders).
The mission of the Human Development and Self Sufficiency Committee is to enable those who are disadvantaged in various ways to help themselves and others. It supports organizations dedicated to building equitable, safe and successful communities in the Greater Boston-area by providing pathways for disadvantaged individuals to become self-sufficient, valued, and productive members of their communities.
The Committee funds grants in areas including, but not limited to, services for domestic violence and human-trafficking survivors, homelessness prevention, job training and programs that enable youth to overcome obstacles to positive growth.
The Music and Performing Arts Committee determines funding levels for continuing programs at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, including the Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and the Opera Company, and the Filene Music Program at Skidmore College.
Other requests are considered on a limited basis, including initiatives that support Therese Filene’s lifelong effort to offer musical instruction and experiences to those who could otherwise not afford them.
The Public Education and Broadcasting Committee considers grants to organizations that provide equal access to education and information by encouraging civic engagement, community involvement and early childhood education.
The Committee also focuses on efforts that address local community needs, including programs in public school systems.