Strategic Priorities

Our Community. Your Foundation.

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

Since 1995, the SouthCoast Community Foundation has served as a catalyst for philanthropic giving. Looking ahead toward the next phase of our work, the Community Foundation will build on more than 25 years of mobilizing philanthropy, deepening its organizational strength, and addressing the needs and challenges of the Southeastern Massachusetts region.

To meet our mission and fulfill the Foundation’s promise to be the philanthropic partner of choice for local donors, the strategic focus over the next several years will be robust and engaging external initiatives coupled with a balanced approach to internal improvements. Improving the quality of life in our region for the benefit of all is our top priority. We do this in a variety of ways, focused on three areas: education, arts and culture, and economic opportunity.

Our work includes actively partnering with, and supporting the good work of organizations that care for those in need, assist our country’s immigrants, create arts and celebrate the diversity of our cultures, make education available to everyone, expand civic engagement and participation, and seek to provide economic opportunity for each of us. And most importantly, finding a way to build a community that is equitable, anti-racist, peaceful, respectful, and democratic.


At the heart of improving the quality of life for those in our region is creating strong educational programs and opportunities. From early literacy to college scholarships to ongoing professional development, the need is extensive.

The Community Foundation is one of the largest aggregators of scholarships in the Southeastern Massachusetts region with more than $500k awarded each year to eligible high school seniors, current college students, or adult learners from the area. Additionally, we are seeking to address the foundational needs for educational success beginning with early childhood. For each of our initiatives, we seek a data-driven approach to inform our work and create a baseline from which to drive our efforts.

Expanding Early Education and Child Care Opportunities Report

To deepen our understanding of early childhood education and care, we commissioned the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University to produce a report on Expanding Early Education and Child Care Opportunities. The report is a rigorous assessment of the Community Foundation catchment area using the best available data and supplemented by 21 interviews with regional experts and thought leaders. The report is available in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Arts & Culture

Arts and Culture are essential to our region’s quality of life. While a key part of our economy, it is as important as any other basic human need. We are proud to invest in art and culturally focused nonprofits that are community-driven and use the arts to challenge, inspire, and change lives.

Increasing local philanthropic support will ensure these organizations continue the critical work they’re doing. By engaging culturally diverse populations, we help build trust while improving our residents’ overall quality of life and those who visit the area.

Our Creative Southcoast Initiative (formerly Creative Commonwealth Initiative), begun in 2017, specifically focuses on Fall River and New Bedford and continues to engage a high-profile and robust area of opportunity. Building on our partnership with the Barr Foundation, we attract and motivate local philanthropy to prioritize the arts. The work of the initiative has included public art, capacity building for small nonprofits, increased access for youth, and the celebration and elevation of culturally diverse creativity.

The vision for the Creative Southcoast Initiative is to serve as a model that can be replicated to other communities throughout our region, growing and diversifying philanthropic investment in arts and culture.

Economic Opportunity

Dovetailing education and arts & culture is the need to remove obstacles and increase our community members’ success in the economic realm. This involves supporting everyday basic needs, food security, housing, job training, and supporting those nonprofits at the forefront of this work.

Our work in this area is growing and currently involves immigration support, workforce development, and career readiness.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we deepened our role by establishing the SouthCoast Emergency Relief Fund to swiftly raise and distribute aid to the most vulnerable communities and regional nonprofits experiencing the detrimental impact of this crisis. We are committed to providing residents the opportunity to thrive economically and will continue to deepen our understanding of the part we can play.