As we celebrate another year of giving at the Yawkey Foundations (“the Foundations”), we are reminded of the principles that guided Tom and Jean Yawkey's decisions to establish their two private foundations. The Trustees and staff of the Foundations work diligently to ensure that our grantmaking reflects these principles, which included a sense of patience and persistence in the support of good work. The Yawkeys were not people who sought a “quick fix,” but rather understood the importance of staying with organizations over time as they worked to solve problems and improve lives. This philosophy of “seeing it through” and steadfastly supporting organizations through their growth and development has helped guide many of our funding initiatives over the years. Since 1977, the Trustees of the Yawkey Foundations have applied these principles to their decisions to award $430 million in grants to more than 600 organizations throughout Boston, Massachusetts, New England, and South Carolina.
In 2016, the Foundations provided $19.5 million in grants to more than 220 organizations. We have been supporting many of these organizations for more than a decade because their good work impacts the areas of giving that mattered most to Tom and Jean Yawkey. In this year's grants report we highlight several organizations that have completed transformative projects supported by the Foundations. These organizations include the Museum of Science; Lucy's Hearth in Middletown, Rhode Island; Boston College High School and UMass Boston; and Smith Medical Clinic in Georgetown County, South Carolina. We have watched these organizations grow and evolve over many years and, in each case, are happy to support these projects that will help them with their important work for years to come.
The Foundations' education initiatives provide a great example of the importance of seeing it through when it comes to supporting young people seeking a college education. With national and local reports consistently citing college graduation rates of 60% over six years and average undergraduate loan debt of nearly $40,000, many of our peer foundations and corporations are doing important work to help support young people as they complete undergraduate or technical degrees. Others are providing support directly to colleges and universities working to increase college graduation rates. Supporting educational opportunities for those in need has long been a priority for the Foundations. Over the years, we have developed several initiatives to promote post-secondary student success, such as our Yawkey Scholars Program, Adult Education Programs, and our Nonprofit Internship Program. Each of these initiatives has been built over time with a focus on consistent funding in order to help students not only get into, but successfully complete, college.
The largest of our education initiatives, the Yawkey Scholars Program, recently celebrated its 11th year of providing scholarships and other support to disadvantaged students. This four-year, renewable college scholarship program has provided more than $11 million to 265 Scholars since 2005. While gaining admission to competitive colleges, many of our Scholars (100% come from families with limited financial resources and 60% are first-generation college students) need more than just tuition support to successfully graduate. We make a deep investment in these Scholars by providing advisors, career programming, and extra funds to support academic and career goals. This persistent support — seeing it through — has resulted in a 93% overall graduation rate for our Scholars. We are pleased to introduce some of our Yawkey Scholars Program alumni on the pages that follow.
Everyday our Trustees and staff endeavor to see it through, just as Tom and Jean Yawkey would have. We look forward to the next chapter of work at the Foundations, which will continue to reflect the Yawkeys' belief in patience and persistence in the support of good work.
John L. Harrington
Chairman and Trustee
James P. Healey
President and Trustee