Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts

Craig Dutra, CFSEM President

(508) 996-8253 ext. 201


The Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts was launched in 1995 by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to create a new avenue for encouraging philanthropy in the region. Since then, it has grown to 167 funds with more than $30 million in assets. The Foundation’s mission is to mobilize philanthropy by matching donors and resources with community needs. It serves 41 cities and towns, with an initial focus on Greater Fall River, Greater New Bedford and Southern Plymouth County.


The Foundation works to facilitate, advise, convene and/or respond to critical community issues including:


  • Education: by managing 75 educational funds, including four local educational foundations, 62

    scholarship funds, 15 educational funds for individual schools/programs and Early Literacy Initiative.


  • The Arts: Including sponsoring AHA! (Art History Architecture) the monthly arts and culture nights

    in downtown New Bedford and Fall River, and supporting the burgeoning creative economy.


  • The Environment: Includes SEEAL (Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance), whose mission

    is to support its partners’ capacity to provide quality environmental education and stewardship.


  • Nonprofit Capacity Building: Training and technical assistance to non-profits and helping strengthen

    smaller and/or newer nonprofits.


The Fall River Alumni Network is a Community Advised Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts with primary funding from the Kellogg Foundation and BayCoast Bank.




In 2012 The Community Foundation distributed nearly $2 million in grants to beneficiaries in 6 sectors:


            12%  Arts and Culture

              3%  Community Development

            45%  Education

            37%  Environment

            17%  Health and Human Services

              6%  Children and Youth


Who controls distributions of the earned income


Donor Advised, Committee Advised and Field of Interest Funds make grants through the Community Foundation only on the recommendation of the advisors and Boards of these funds.  The amount available for distribution is determined through a distribution policy that is contained in the fund agreement that is executed between the advisors and or donors to the fund, and the Community Foundation. While the Community Foundation has the power and responsibility to review and approve all grants and distributions that are made, it does not independently recommend distributions made from advised funds.

Each fund is a component part of the Community Foundation and as such does not require separate filings with state and federal oversight agencies, liability insurance or accounting and auditing services.

What services does the Foundation provides


Presently the Community Foundation manages 33 committee advised and donor advised funds, assisting them with training and technical assistance, marketing support and research into potential grant recipients. These funds provide philanthropic vehicles for families and groups to distribute grants and gifts to charities they care about.  In several instances advised funds were established as alternatives to or successors to existing private foundations or trusts.   

Establishing an Advised Fund at the Community Foundation offers many benefits that include:                     

-      maintaining your role in choosing the recipients of your grants

-      managing your administrative activities including meetings and correspondence

-      assisting you with the review and evaluation of grantee proposals and performance

-      providing investment management and oversight

-      eliminating accounting, filing and management fees

-      enabling you to establish the amount available for distribution annually


The assets of the Community Foundation are overseen by an 11 member Investment Committee appointed by the Board of Directors. The Committee engages an organization to serve as an Investment Advisor and assist in  the selection of investment managers.