What We Do

Our Leadership Role 

At the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, we take special pride in our leadership role, in which we work to facilitate, advise, convene and/or respond to critical community issues, such as education, the arts and the environment.

Education: As a leader in education, we have worked diligently to increase educational attainment and opportunity, one of the most critical issues facing our region. To this end, we manage 75 educational funds, including four local educational foundations, 62 scholarship funds, 15 educational funds for individual schools and programs, an Early Literacy Initiative, and an adult education grant program. The Community Foundation is also host to the New Bedford Education Roundtable, a forum of individuals and organizational representatives concerned about excellence in educational attainment in the New Bedford Public Schools.

The Arts: Our involvement with the arts includes our sponsorship of AHA! (Art History Architecture) (opens new window), the acclaimed monthly arts and culture nights in downtown New Bedford, and our support for the burgeoning creative economy. We also count among our funds such arts and culture festivals as the New Bedford Folk Festival, a twi-day folk music and crafts festival held every July in downtown New Bedford.

The Environment: One of our original flagship funds is SEEAL (the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance, whose mission is to support its partners’ capacity to provide quality environmental education and stewardship in our region. CFSEMA is also a sponsor of Bioneers by the Bay, the annual environmental conference held for the past two years in downtown New Bedford.  To learn more about SEEAL, visit www.seeal.org (opens new window).

Capacity Building: The development and strength of the non-profit sector is central to our mission of improving the quality of life in our region through philanthropy. Throughout our history we have provided training and technical assistance to non-profits as well as individuals and groups seeking to establish such entities.

Our current Nonprofit Capacity Building Program includes our participation in a collaborative effort by area funders to support a first-time capacity assessment of the non-profit sector in Greater New Bedford; a partnership with the Community Development Clinic at the UMass Dartmouth School of Law to provide training to non-profit Board members in their roles and responsibilities; and providing capacity building and technical assistance to help strengthen smaller and/or newer nonprofits and their boards. We also offer public access to our resource library for grantseekers.

Advisors for Philanthropy:Our goal as a Community Foundation is to provide professional advisors and their clients with a range of giving options and professional oversight that will help donors meet their philanthropic and financial goals. Our knowledgeable staff, board of directors, investment committee and investment managers all work together to help donors maximize their funds and leave a lasting legacy in Southeastern Massachusetts.

Grantmaking Since 2005, CFSEMA has distributed more than $15 million in grants and scholarships from 167 funds. These grants have been used to support youth programs, expand economic opportunities, increase educational attainment, promote sustainability, invest in the creative economy and, through the Women’s Fund, improve the economic status of women and girls. Visit our grant opportunities page for more information.