The Parker Fundation

The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation paid a total of $1,154,594 in grants in 2014 to nonprofit organizations working in Lowell, Massachusetts. In addition to these grants, the Foundation concluded the year with $855,000 in pledged grants for anticipated payment over the years 2015–2017.

The Parker Foundation operates with an open application process and favors one-time projects, including startup support for new organizations. New ventures for 2014 included Project LEARN (a strategic initiative to raise private funds for the Lowell Public Schools), an alternative sentencing program for first-time offenders, a program for homeless students in Lowell, and Lucy’s Love Bus, which provides palliative care for child cancer patients.

Basic needs funding to support the city’s most needy residents totaled $185,000. Included in this total was a one-time grant in response to the city’s Branch Street fire—the worst residential fire to occur in Massachusetts in 20 years. As in prior years, the foundation paid close attention to Lowell’s immigrant community, with a total of $192,000 explicitly directed to immigrant-led organizations and programs serving Lowell’s newcomer populations. Support for programs directly concerned with the welfare of children and youth totaled $516,500.

The foundation’s largest grant in 2014 was a $140,000 contribution to the Lowell Community Health Center as part of a $1 million pledge for the new Moses Greeley Parker building in Lowell, named after the uncle and benefactor of Theodore Edson Parker. Approximately 20 percent of the foundation’s grants supported capital needs.

In December, the trustees established the Tom Leggat Opportunities Fund, a $100,000 endowed fund at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. This fund was established by the Parker trustees as a permanent endowment at the Greater Lowell Community Foundation in the name of Thomas E. Leggat, a Lowell native and longtime trustee of the Parker Foundation, to honor his services to Parker and in recognition of his interest in the advancement of youth and his dedication to the betterment of Lowell. The fund makes an award annually to a deserving student who is recognized as having great unrealized leadership potential. The Opportunity award may be pertinent for a given individual for any number of good reasons, and particularly due to difficult personal or family circumstances.

The Parker Foundation was established in 1944 under the will of Theodore Edson Parker, of Lowell. The foundation is managed by its four trustees: Newell Flather (President), David W. Donahue, Jr. (Treasurer), Sophy Theam (Secretary), and Karen Carpenter. Luis Pedroso serves as a senior advisor to the foundation. Staffing is provided by GMA Foundations, a Boston consulting firm for philanthropy, under the long-time direction of Philip Hall.

For more information, please contact Newell Flather, President, at 617/426-7075; or Philip Hall, Administrator, at 617/391-3097. The foundation’s web address is posted at