About Us

New Bedford Harbor fishing boats sunriseSince 1995, area residents have been turning to the Community Foundation to make their philanthropic giving as effective as possible. CFSEMA is a tax-exempt, public charity serving thousands of people who share a common concern – improving the quality of life in Southeastern Massachusetts.

The Community Foundation offers donors, both individuals and organizations, great flexibility in fulfilling their philanthropic goals. Individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create permanent charitable funds that help their region meet the challenges of changing times. The Foundation invests and administers these funds, with assets pooled for investment purposes. Individual funds in turn make grants benefiting charitable organizations in Southeastern Massachusetts.

While the Foundation’s primary grantmaking focus is on the SouthCoast communities of Greater New Bedford, Greater Fall River, and Southern Plymouth County, CFSEMA is a regional foundation serving 41 cities and towns.Since 2005, CFSEMA has distributed more than $16 million from over 200 funds to humanitarian, educational and cultural organizations in the region.

For current financial information about the Foundation: 2011 Form 990   2011 Financial Statements

History of the Community Foundation

The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts was launched in 1995 by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to create a new avenue for encouraging philanthropy in Southeastern Massachusetts.

The seeds for the Community Foundation were planted in 1991 by a group of concerned citizens who formed a steering committee to discuss the need for a public community foundation. Over the next four years, a feasibility study funded by the Island and the Polaroid foundations was conducted, the first Corporators meeting was held, and a board of directors was appointed in 1994.

In 1995, CFSEMA incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, obtained nonprofit tax-exempt status from the IRS, and hired Anne M. Beaulieu as its first president. The Foundation’s first $100,000 gift was received that year, and in 1997 CFSEMA received a gift of one million dollars to establish the drug abuse prevention and education effort known as Youth Entitled to Success (Project YES). Since then, the Community Foundation has grown to include 167 funds and more than $30 million in assets.

Our Mission

Our mission is to mobilize philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs for the benefit of our region.