CFLeads: Community Foundations Leading Change



Paul S. Grogan

CEO Visits by CFLeads

Paul S. Grogan

President and CEO
The Boston Foundation

Paul S. Grogan became the President and CEO of The Boston Foundation, one of the national’s oldest and largest community foundations, on July 1, 2001. With assets of more than $850 million, the Foundation distributed grants of more than $75 million to non profit organizations throughout the Greater Boston community in 2011. Since coming to the Foundation, Mr. Grogan has boosted fundraising and streamlined operations while also launching high-impact initiatives in education, youth violence prevention, community development, health care and the arts, among others. Under Mr. Grogan’s leadership the Foundation has become a highly influential civic convener on issues and challenges facing the City of Boston and the region.

Mr. Grogan joined The Boston Foundation from Harvard University, where he served as Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs from 1999 to 2001. He was also a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School. Mr. Grogan spearheaded unprecedented University commitments to the community, including $21 million for affordable housing and $5 million for the Harvard After-School Initiative. He successfully transformed the University’s previously poor relationship with the City of Boston, which paved the way for Harvard to double its property holdings in the Allston neighborhood with the public support of the Mayor, local neighborhood groups and the editorial page of The Boston Globe.

While at Harvard, Mr. Grogan created a national organization, “CEOs for Cities,” whose members are big city mayors, business leaders, university presidents and foundation executives. CEOs for Cities holds semi-annual conferences and publishes cutting edge research on the nature of successful urban economies.

From 1986 through 1998, he was President and CEO of the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development intermediary. During his term as President, LISC raised and invested more than $3 billion of private capital in inner-city revitalization efforts across America. LISC also made vital contributions to a string of national policy successes, including the creation of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the establishment of the HOME program, the strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act and the creation of the New Markets Tax Credit. As noted author and Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, Nicholas Lemann, has written that “Paul Grogan is one of the heroes of the community development movement.”

Mr. Grogan’s passion for cities began in Boston where he served Mayors Kevin H. White and Raymond L. Flynn in a variety of staff and line positions. He headed Boston’s neighborhood revitalization efforts in the early 1980s, where he helped pioneered a series of public/private ventures that have been widely emulated by other cities. These included the Boston Housing Partnership and the Boston Compact, a partnership between the city’s corporate community and public school system.

Mr. Grogan graduated with honors in American History from Williams College in 1972 and earned a Masters degree in Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1979. In 1997, Williams College awarded Mr. Grogan a Bicentennial Medal for his leadership in inner-city revitalization efforts. He is a trustee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; a founder and director of The Community Development Trust; a director of New Profit Inc., a trustee of Brandeis University and the Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School and a former trustee of Williams College.

Mr. Grogan is the co-author, with Tony Proscio, of the book, Comeback Cities, published in 2000 which syndicated columnist Ron Brownstein has written is “arguably the most important and insightful book on the American city of a generation.”