The Parker Fundation


The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation was established in 1944 in Lowell, Massachusetts, under a charter that reflected the founder’s interest in a wide range of community needs. Because of the many compelling needs and opportunities in that city, the foundation has chosen to focus its grantmaking there.

Guiding Suggestions

In his will, Mr. Parker suggested that his trustees give special consideration to the welfare of children, disadvantaged young women, and the elderly.  The foundation is especially committed to assisting these and other under-served groups, including refugees and immigrants, to create a more caring and equitable community.  The foundation favors applications from organizations with balanced representation in staff and management, reflecting constituents served and the diverse community that Lowell has become.  For more information on the importance of equity and inclusion and how to successfully move in this direction, refer to articles from Independent Sector, Council of Foundations, Nonprofit HR, Building the Movement Project, and the Nonprofit Quarterly with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.

Moreover, preference is given to applicants who have formulated creative approaches to societal problems and provide leverage for Parker funds.  The foundation also favors projects that can demonstrate good prospects for continuation after the conclusion of Parker’s funding.

Fields of Interest and Types of Support

The Parker Foundation’s primary goal is to make effective grants that benefit the city of Lowell and its residents. Grants are made for a variety of purposes including social services, cultural programs, community development activities, education, community health needs, and urban environmental projects. The foundation funds specific needs including special programs and projects, capital improvements and equipment purchases, and technical assistance. The trustees do not usually award funds for the operating expenses of well-established organizations, for endowment, or to fund deficits. Grants are restricted to organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a). No awards are made to individuals.

The Form 990-PF may be found at

Proposal Deadlines and Meeting Schedule

The trustees usually meet two times a year for grantmaking purposes: in April/May and November/December. Proposal deadlines for these meetings are:

  • January 15* deadline for April/May trustee meeting
  • July 15* deadline for November/December trustee meeting

Applicants are limited to one application per year. Grant recipients should expect to wait two years before submitting a new request. Applicants whose requests have been denied are expected to wait one year before reapplying.

*When a deadline falls on the weekend or holiday, applications will be due the following business day.

Online Application Procedures

Organizations interested in applying to the foundation are welcome to contact staff prior to applying.  Thereafter, applicants are encouraged to apply online.

To register in application system:

  1. Click on Create New Account
  2. Enter your personal contact information
  3. Enter your organization’s contact information
  4. Click on the Proceed to Next Step button

After you have registered your account you will be directed to the Application Status Page.

  1. Start New Application – This allows you to review the available grants and apply.  Enter “parker” as the Access Code.
  2. Application Status – This is your homepage where you can check on the status of your grants.  This page will display the form you just filled out, what its status is, and what the next form will be.

In addition to the on-line application, organizations will need to upload the following attachments:

  • a list of board members, with an indication of their organizational affiliations, special skills, and links to the community
  • a completed diversity form detailing racial and ethnic compositions of board, staff, and constituents. This form may be found here: Philanthropy MA Diversity Form.
  • a copy of the organization’s most recent audited financial statements
  • a copy of the most recent IRS Form 990, with all attachments and schedules
  • a current organizational budget, including projected income and expenditures
  • bio statements or resumes of key project staff
  • a project budget, including line-item detail on sources of revenue and salary expenditures

Karen H. Carpenter, President
David W. Donahue, Jr., Treasurer
Sophy Theam, Clerk
Maria Cunha
Luis M. Pedroso

Benjamin Opara
Vladimir Saldana

Foundation Staff
Chaletta Huertas, Lead Program Officer
Sarah Kain, Foundation Assistant

Theodore Edson Parker Foundation
c/o GMA Foundations
Two Liberty Square, Suite 500
Boston, Massachusetts 02109

[email protected]