Archives and Special Collections
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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

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Collection Overview
Creator: The Boston Foundation Persistent Poverty Project.
Title: Persistent Poverty Project records
Dates: 1985-2002
Call Number: M127
Location: 58/4, 57/1, FF6/D8
Volume: 20.5 cubic ft. (20 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract: The collection documents the activities of the Boston Foundation's Persistent Poverty Project in its attempt to create a comprehensive picture of multi-generational poverty in Boston. Records reflect the day-to-day administration of the Project and document its outreach activities, including data-gathering on poverty through community roundtables, focus groups, and surveys. The collection also reflects the Project's attempts to disseminate its research through Boston College Citizen seminars, press briefings, and multiple publications. Topics documented include poverty in Boston, the effects of poverty on various communities in Boston, including African American, white, Asian American, and youth; community building; and the Project's involvement with larger organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Community Building Network. Records include committee minutes and agendas; staff correspondence and notes; conference packets; seminar, conference, and meeting transcripts; publications; reports; and research data.
Historical Abstract: The Boston Foundation was created in 1915 as the Permanent Charity Fund by brothers Charles E. and Charles M. Rogerson to relieve hardship in Boston brought on by World War I. After the war, the Fund expanded its scope of activity to include community activism and involvement on a wider scale. In 1964, Albert Stone, Jr., left the Fund $20 million in his will, allowing the Fund to support special projects in Boston neighborhoods in addition to its other grant-making activities. In 1985, the Fund, now called the Boston Foundation, received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and became one of the partner organizations in the Rockefeller Foundation's Equal Opportunity Project. The Boston Foundation conducted one of the first comprehensive surveys of the multi-generational poor in Boston in the early 1980s, and the Persistent Poverty Project built on that work. The Project ran from 1987 until 1997, publishing several reports and holding seminars, focus groups, roundtables, conferences, and briefings to involve the general public, politicians, and other community organizations. The Project was also involved in initiatives, such as the National Neighborhood Indicators Project and the National Community Building Network, and it created the Boston Children and Families Database and the Boston Community Building Curriculum. The Project continued after 1997 as the Boston Community Building Network at the Boston Foundation.
Arrangement: Organized into four series: 1. Administration; 2. Projects and Publications; 3. Outside Organizations; and 4. Audio-Visual.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Kahn, Charlotte
  • Puriefoy, Wendy
  • Jones, Anna Faith
  • Gibson, Jim
  • Wagner, Tony
  • Amaro, Hortensia 1950-
  • Arredondo, Patricia
  • Zimmerman, Douglas
  • David, Geraldine
  • Steese, Ellen

  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) -- Center for Labor Market Studies
  • The Boston Foundation
  • Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy
  • William Monroe Trotter Institute
  • Asian American Resource Workshop
  • The Ford Foundation
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • Equal Opportunity Program
  • Community Planning and Action Programs
  • National Neighborhood Indicators Project
  • National Community Building Network
  • Boston Community Building Curriculum
  • Boston Community Building Network
  • Boston Foundation's Persistent Poverty Project
  • The Urban Institute

  • Urban renewal
  • Poverty
  • Poverty -- Research
  • Community organization
  • Community power
  • Coalitions
  • Asian Americans -- Massachusetts
  • Asian Americans -- Massachusetts -- Statistics
  • African Americans -- Massachusetts
  • African Americans -- Social conditions
  • Hispanic Americans -- Massachusetts
  • Single parents -- Massachusetts
  • Single mothers -- Massachusetts
  • Poverty -- Psychological aspects
  • Poor whites
  • Families at risk
  • Poor families
  • Single-parent families

Restrictions: The collection is unrestricted.
Processor: Finding aid prepared by Hanna Clutterbuck with the assistance of Britta Abeln, Marietta Carr, Tamara Gaydos, and Gena Pliakas, December 2007. The processing of this collection was partially funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.