Our History

Boston’s Higher Ground evolved out of the work of the Working Group on Nonprofit Stabilization and Recovery, which convened in 2008 in response to struggling nonprofit service organizations in high-poverty neighborhoods and communities of color in Boston. An analysis of the economic indicators related to neighborhoods in Roxbury, North Dorchester and Mattapan, commissioned by the Working Group revealed an alarming picture of negative outcomes for children and youth, particularly related to health and education.

These data led a coalition of nonprofit leaders, foundation program officers and academics to consider the need for new service paradigms to get better outcomes. Consequently, twenty-five Boston leaders visited the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City on May 1, 2009, to learn about its operations and results. They returned to Boston and decided to establish a place-based service program that would be relevant to Boston’s unique circumstances.

To address the impact gap, Higher Ground seeks to unite various service providers to affect actual, measurable results in one neighborhood at a time. The leaders of Higher Ground recognize that intergenerational poverty and structural inequality will only end with at least a generation of dedicated, results-oriented work. To affect change, Higher Ground engages communities as well as individuals, generating results that promote life-long community empowerment.

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