Nonprofit organizations that meet the criteria outlined below are invited to submit proposals for funding consideration. The deadline for receipt of proposals is the first Monday in August.  (Last year’s grantees should please note that final reports are due at the same time as new proposals, and the report outline is now included within the online application process.)


Sailors’ Snug Harbor of Boston began its formal grantmaking program with a focus on assisting seamen and their families. In 1970, the trustees voted to extend eligibility for grants to agencies that serve low-income elderly men and women in the Greater Boston area. From 1994 to 2015, the foundation also addressed issues facing Massachusetts’ fishing communities, with a particular focus on those in New Bedford, Gloucester, and on Cape Cod, through a special funding initiative undertaken in collaboration with the Island Foundation.

In June 2016, the trustees voted to consolidate these two funding streams into a single grantmaking program that addresses the social service needs of fishermen, their families, and low-income elders residing in coastal communities of Massachusetts, maintaining its focus on Gloucester, New Bedford, and Cape Cod.

Overview and Goals

The foundation’s grantmaking will focus on the social service needs of fishermen, their families, and low-income elders in coastal communities of Massachusetts, with a particular preference to support programs for those residing in the traditional fishing communities of Gloucester, New Bedford, and Cape Cod.

The trustees are interested in making grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that are presently providing such services, as well as to agencies seeking to expand or develop new programs to serve the particular needs of these populations and communities.

Preference will be given to programs that address social service needs of fishermen and their families that are the direct result of ongoing changes in the fishing industry, and to programs that help low-income elders live independently.  For both of these population groups, the trustees have a particular preference for funding programs that prevent homelessness, re-house homeless families and individuals, or that provide the necessary services and supports to help families and individuals remain safely housed.

Potential applicants should please note that, while grantmaking will not be restricted to these areas, proposals falling within these stated preferences are more likely to receive Sailors’ Snug Harbor of Boston support:

  • A geographic preference for the traditional fishing communities of Gloucester, New Bedford, and Cape Cod
  • A preference for providing operating or program support, as opposed to capital support
  • An impact preference for organizations and/or programs with fewer funding alternatives

Grantmaking Interests and Limitations

Grants are made only to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.  No grants are made directly to individuals.  Types of grants to nonprofits include support for general operating, program support, seed money/start-up, and special projects.  Grants are very occasionally made for capital support, and challenge or matching grants are made on rare occasion.  The foundation does not support conferences/seminars, debt reduction/cash reserves, endowment, or publications/ films/videos.

Financial Information

Total Grants

FY 2017: $298,400

FY 2016: $437,200

FY 2015: $422,250
FY 2014: $393,200
FY 2013: $374,700

Annual Grant Range:  $10,000 – $25,000

Three-Year Grants: Up to $50,000/year

Fiscal Year End: April 30

Application Process

Organizations serving low-income elders in the city of Boston may apply upon invitation only.

Proposals may be submitted as soon as the online process opens, about one month prior to the deadline, but must be received by 5 pm on the first Monday in August for consideration at the fall meeting. If your organization received a grant from the foundation last year, please note that the online application includes a section where you can submit your final report, as well. Grants will be awarded in December.

Annual Grants

The majority of Sailors’ Snug Harbor’s grantmaking will support one-year requests in the program areas described above.  Past applicants should please note that the online application process has changed somewhat, and the foundation now requests uploaded copies of Associated Grant Makers’ Common Proposal Format.

Special Three-Year Funding Initiative

The trustees recognize that nonprofit organizations are rich in ideas, but often lack flexible resources to explore possible new program directions or reach new clientele. To that end, the foundation hopes to launch one new three-year program grant each year, to help nonprofit partners develop and implement new approaches in their provision of social services. Grants up to $50,000 in each of three years will be awarded through this special initiative.

In any given year, applicants may apply for a standard one-year grant only, or for a special three-year grant only, or you may choose to submit applications for either a standard one-year grant or a special three-year grant.  All requests should fit the foundation’s grantmaking goals described above.

Please note that the foundation will seldom award grants to an organization in both standard and special categories in the same year.

Please see How to Apply for information regarding online applications.