May 10, 2019 | Oct 4, 2019


The Henderson Foundation’s grants provide support for projects focused on the enhancement of the appearance and preservation of outdoor elements in the city of Boston. The Foundation encourages applications for projects in all neighborhoods of the city of Boston that concerns parks, city streets, buildings, monuments, and architectural and sculptural works.

Deadlines: May 14, 2019 and October 4, 2019
closeup photo of a crow that is part of the Poe Returning to Boston statue


Through past grants, the Foundation has supported capital projects such as the restoration of historic buildings; creation of new public sculpture and gardens; restoration of historic monuments; and other projects that enhance quality of life and sense of place, while demonstrating design excellence. Grants are made only for projects within Boston city limits and to projects that are accessible and visible to the public. Grants are not made to individuals. Grants are made for restoration and preservation activities, but not for routine care or maintenance (as defined by National Park Service technical standards.)

In 2019, the Designators are particularly interested in requests for support of permanent public art projects, projects focused on outdoor spaces, and historic preservation projects. In addition, the Designators are seeking proposals from projects in neighborhoods that have not been well represented in previous grants, including but not limited to East Boston, South Boston, Mission Hill, Allston/Brighton, Charlestown, Chinatown, Mattapan, and Roslindale.



Spring 2019 Grant Round

The Spring 2019 Grant Round will focus on requests for projects which can be completed and for which reimbursement funding can be sought on or before December 31, 2019. Applications are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, May 10 and will be reviewed at a meeting in early June.

Fall 2019 Grant Round

The Fall 2019 Grant Round will accept requests for projects whose projected completion is on or before December 31, 2020. Applications are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 4 and will be reviewed at a meeting in early December.

Applicant Forums

The Designators will host an applicant forum before each deadline, on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, September 11, both 1:30-3:30 pm at Hemenway & Barnes, 75 State Street, Boston. Pre-registration is required and open to all potential applicants.

Most grants awarded will be in the $20,000-$40,000 range, but the Designators will consider all projects that fulfill the Foundation’s goals and offer outstanding benefit to the community.


  • Grants are made by the George B. Henderson Foundation in accordance with the Indenture of Trust by Mr. Henderson dated May 21, 1964.
  • The Trust directs that Foundation funds shall be devoted solely to the enhancement of the physical appearance of the city of Boston including projects concerning parks, city streets, buildings, monuments, and architectural and sculptural works. Each project shall be visible by the public, preferably from a public way. If funds are expended for work on building interiors, the building shall be open to the public a reasonable number of days in each year.
  • The term “physical appearance of the city of Boston” includes all neighborhoods in all parts of the city and includes their identity, sense of place, and quality of life.
  • Highest priority is given to requests for grants that would make the most significant and lasting enhancement of the physical appearance of the city of Boston.
  • Future maintenance is an important consideration, including durability of design and materials, who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance, and how maintenance will be funded.
  • Any requests for public art must be for permanent public art. Requests for temporary or time limited installations will not be considered. Any public art projects on property owned by the City of Boston are required to have secured approval from the Boston Art Commission before being considered by the Henderson Foundation. More information on their process can be found at
  • The Trust stipulated that a Board of Designators to make grants be composed of the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT; the Director of SPNEA (now Historic New England); the Chairman of the Board of Arts Commissions for the City of Boston; plus three other members, one of whom is a landscape architect and two additional members who reside in the Commonwealth and are not architects or landscape architects. Selection of Designators who are leading figures in the design, artistic, and preservation professions in Boston makes clear the intent that the selected projects must be of the highest professional and design quality.
  • Recognition of the Foundation’s contribution will be expected if your project is funded. The George B. Henderson Foundation expects to be recognized through usual marketing and promotion efforts. Proposals should outline how the applicant will recognize the Foundation on its web site, through social media, through permanent signage or markers (if appropriate), and/or in electronic and print communications or other relevant public materials. Final grant award letters will specify the recognition parameters jointly agreed to by both the Foundation and the grantee.


Applicants, unless a municipal agency, must be an exempt organization under IRS Sec. 501(c)(3) and must submit a copy of a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service. Projects must be within the city of Boston.


Grants are not made for general fund drives, endowments or operating or staffing costs, planning or design studies, or construction of playgrounds or tot lots.

Types of Grants

  • Grants are made for capital improvements that would not ordinarily be undertaken by public or private bodies. Targeted grants may be made to identifiable elements within a project in circumstances where that element could be a Henderson Foundation project.
  • Grants are typically reimbursement funding and are payable upon completion of work for which the grant is made.
  • Grants that have been made but not expended within three years after the grant award date are cancelled.
  • Grants are made for preservation and restoration as defined in the National Park Service Technical Preservation Service Standard, but not for routine care or maintenance of distinctive and significant buildings, objects, or features.

PRESERVATION IS DEFINED AS the act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity, and materials of an historic property. Protection, maintenance, and repair are emphasized while replacement is minimized.

RESTORATION IS DEFINED AS the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period.

closeup photo of the Harriet Tubman sculpture


The Designators meet at least once per year to review and award grants. The schedule for grant deadlines is set in the first quarter of each year. Funding decisions are usually made six to eight weeks after deadlines. The Designators will hold two grant rounds in 2019.

How To Apply

View complete Application Process by clicking “More” or “Download PDF Application.”

Applicants must provide nine (9) copies of the proposal narrative, budget, and all exhibits and one (1) copy of all attachments. Please collate but do not bind proposals or include videos.

Proposals must include:

1. Proposal Narrative and Budget – 5 page maximum (9 copies)

  1. Personnel/contact
    1. Name, address, and web site of applicant organization
    2. Name, address, phone, and email of Executive Director and/or primary contact person
    3. Name and affiliation of your project supervisor if known at the time of your proposal
    4. Identify the specific architect, landscape architect, or other design professionals, artists, fabricators, or restoration specialists responsible for, or involved in your project. Include resumes or bios if available.
  2. Name of project for which support is requested, along with a one sentence summary of the project
  3. Amount requested
  4. Project description, including specifics of proposed project
  5. Description of entire project if requested amount is part of larger project
  6. Significance of proposal project to the community and the city of Boston
  7. Schedule
    1. Anticipated completion date of project overall, and/or specific project element for which funds are being requested
    2. If you are awarded a grant, indicate how soon after an award you will begin to incur costs for your project.
  8. Plan for maintenance and maintenance funding (submit a copy of the maintenance plan if available)
  9. Budget
    1. Include a line item breakdown showing expense details of requested amount (and full project expenses if part of a larger project) and what specifically the George B. Henderson Foundation will be funding.
    2. Include a funding plan and amount raised to date.
  10. Indicate all other funders who are reviewing your proposal at the time of submission to the Henderson Foundation and the amount they are considering. Indicate how the contribution of the Henderson Foundation will be credited for the project, in media and other acknowledgements, both during the work phase and following project completion. Please include information about permanent recognition if applicable.
  11. Indicate any public approvals your project has received. For public art projects on land owned by the City of Boston, you must demonstrate that you have secured approval for the project from the Boston Art Commission. Indicate whether you have site control for the project and if not, when control is expected.
  12. Indicate any previous grants your organization or project has received from the Henderson Foundation.

2. Proposal Exhibits (9 copies)

  1. Exhibits must include photographs (no slides, Polaroids, or photocopies), plans, and other visual materials directly relevant to your project, sufficient to give reviewers an understanding of the current conditions at the site and what will be accomplished and changed through the proposed project.
  2. Provide photographs of existing conditions at the project site, including its surroundings to show the site and explain the neighborhood context, including how the neighborhood will be affected by the project.
  3. Provide plans, elevations, and renderings, or if these are not yet available, concept sketches showing what the project will look like. Include information on materials to be used.
  4. Provide at least one but not more than three letters of support from community leaders, organizations, or affected individuals. Letters should address the specific benefits of the proposed project, not a general statement about the applicant organization.
  5. All documentation must be labeled with organization name and date.

3. Proposal Attachments (1 copy)

  1. The most recent audited financial statement for the applicant organization, including that of any parent organization if the applicant is a subsidiary or support group of a larger nonprofit
  2. The most recent organizational budget with year-to-date financials
  3. IRS letter of determination
  4. List of Board of Directors, including affiliations and city of residence

How to Submit

Please submit completed applications no later than 5:00 pm on the day of the proposal deadline. You may mail, courier, or hand-deliver your proposals. If you choose to hand-deliver, please notify us one day in advance so we may add you to the building security access list.

Ms. Gioia Perugini, Foundation Administrator
Hemenway & Barnes LLP
75 State Street, 16th Floor
Boston, MA 02109


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

A carefully prepared grant application that adheres to the printed guidelines and tips for grant applications is critical. Please review the full guidelines carefully before submitting your proposal. Below are some frequently asked questions to help guide you.

Does my application need to look a certain way?

Applications need not be elaborate and may be inexpensively printed. Do not submit with elaborate bindings or covers.

What’s the best way to tell you about our organization?

Do not assume that your organization, the project, or project location are known to reviewers; all requested information and attachments should be provided, even for repeat applicants.

Do you need information about my community or constituency?

The need for the project should be clearly stated, and the case for how the proposed project will meet community needs or aspirations should be succinctly presented. In order to better understand the project and its neighborhood context, illustrations or renderings that show the project from the pedestrian point of view are welcome.

Does the size of my organization matter?

The Foundation welcomes applications from nonprofits of all sizes. The Designators will hold an Applicant Forum each year so that applicants may meet with the Foundation and learn more about its giving priorities. Should you need assistance with proposal writing, there are many resources available in Boston, including but not limited to Philanthropy Massachusetts ( and the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (

Does it matter who does the preservation or restoration work?

The Foundation expects that professional planning for the project will have taken place prior to the application. The professional expertise of those responsible for the project is an important consideration that will be evaluated. For example, a preservation project is expected to involve a qualified preservation architect; a conservation project is expected to involve a well-qualified conservator; a landscape project is expected to be designed by a qualified landscape architect. Contractors performing the work should have prior experience with similar professional projects of recognized high quality.

What information should I include about other funders?

Project funding sources must be identified, whether received or proposed. Reviewers will consider whether the funding plan is thorough and realistic given the Foundation’s knowledge of funding sources, the applicant’s budget and resources, and the history of fundraising by the applicant.

What information do you require regarding maintenance?

Maintenance of the project after completion is a key component of proposal evaluation. State who will maintain the project, how annual and long term maintenance and repairs will be funded, and whether any endowment will exist for the care of the project.

What are the Foundation’s expectations for recognition?

Recognition of the Foundation’s contribution may be made in newsletters, press releases, media announcements, annual reports, on the organization’s web site or through social media channels; by invitation of the board of designators to attend project events; and on plaques or other long term recognition if those are planned for the project. The level of recognition is expected to be proportionate to the scale of the Foundation’s contribution to the full project budget. Grant expectations and guidelines will be sent with the award letter.



Eustis Street Fire House | link to Preservation Projects


Reading Garden | link to Outdoor Space Projects


Wings of the Imagination sculpture | link to Public Art Projects


Harriet Tubman Sculpture and Park | link to Special Projects