The Parker Fundation

Theodore Edson Parker Foundation Announces 2017 Grants

The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation paid a total of $1,115,500 in grants in 2017 to nonprofit organizations working in Lowell, Massachusetts. In addition to these grants, the Foundation ended the year with $282,000 in pledged grants for likely payment in 2018.


The Parker Foundation operates with an open application process and is known for its seed-funding for new organizations, support for program innovations, and the expansion of existing programs. This style of funding accounted for more than 90 percent of the grants portfolio.  Examples of new efforts include:

  • large-scale, start-up support for the Lowell Heritage Partnership and its Lowell Waterways initiative
  • a predevelopment grant to the Coalition for a Better Acre for the creation of an arts and community center at the Smith Baker Center
  • the development of an early education center at United Teen Equality Center
  • a capacity-building grant to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell to expand services to older teens.

Capital support, for facilities renovation, totaled $325,000 and included a final payment of a $1 million pledge to the Lowell Community Health Center for its phase one capital campaign for the Dr. Moses Greeley Parker Health Building.

Health-related grants totaled $345,000 (31 percent), followed by grants to human services organizations (24 percent). Three grants focused on the treatment for substance abuse. The largest of these, to Lowell House, supported the organization’s move into the Lowell Community Health Center. Two grants, to Operation Delta Dog and Veteran’s Legal Services, were aimed at Lowell veterans.

As has been true for years, Foundation places an emphasis on projects serving a diverse constituency, including anchor organizations such as the Coalition for a Better Acre and the Lowell Community Health Center. It seeks to deepen its support for immigrant and underrepresented populations over the next few years. The Foundation initiated a new Diversity Initiative to highlight the importance of diversity within the Foundation, amongst its grantees, and in the larger Lowell community.

The Parker Foundation was established in 1944 under the will of Theodore Edson Parker, of Lowell. The Foundation is managed by its five trustees:  Newell Flather (President), Karen Carpenter (Vice President), David W. Donahue, Jr. (Treasurer), Sophy Theam (Secretary), and Luis Pedroso. Staffing is provided by GMA Foundations, a Boston-based consulting firm that helps private foundations and other donors increase their impact and efficiency.