Paul S. Grogan is former President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. As a leader in the Boston community and beyond, Paul brings holistic philanthropic expertise to his role as a TPI Senior Advisor. Under his leadership from 2001 to 2021, the Boston Foundation’s assets have doubled in size to more than $1.3 billion. Paul also expanded the mission of the Boston Foundation to include a powerful civic leadership role through commissioning and publishing cutting-edge research into urban issues, holding hundreds of public forums, forming task forces and coalitions, and informing and influencing legislative solutions to some of the city’s most intractable problems. Legislation passed through this work has leveraged more than $600 million in public funds for cultural facilities, K-12 public education, community colleges, municipal budgets, and smart growth housing. The model created by Paul has inspired a large number of community foundations nationwide to add civic leadership to their missions.
During Paul’s tenure, the Boston Foundation has also launched a number of high-impact initiatives, such as Success Boston, which has raised college completion rates for Boston Public Schools graduates by 77 percent. Other examples include the youth violence prevention model StreetSafe Boston; Project Catapult, which represents the next generation of workforce development; and the Boston Opportunity Agenda, which is a historic public/private partnership of the Boston Foundation, the City of Boston, the Boston Public Schools, the city’s other leading public charities, and many local foundations. The Foundation also played a pivotal role in informing and passing sweeping criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, which has rolled back the inequitable and ineffective “get tough” criminal justice policies of the 1980s and 1990s.
Prior to his work with the Boston Foundation, Paul served as Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs at Harvard University and as a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School. During his time at Harvard, he spearheaded efforts that led the university to make unprecedented investments in the community, including $21 million for affordable housing and $5 million for the Harvard After-School Initiative. He also transformed the University’s previously poor relationship with the City of Boston, paving the way for Harvard to double its property holdings in the Allston neighborhood. During this time, Paul also served on TPI’s board of directors.
From 1986 through 1998, Paul served as President and CEO of the nonprofit organization Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development intermediary. Paul’s passion for cities is rooted in his experiences in Boston where he served Mayors Kevin H. White and Raymond L. Flynn in a variety of positions. He headed Boston’s neighborhood revitalization efforts in the early 1980s, helping to pioneer a series of public/private ventures that have been widely replicated by other cities.
Paul graduated with honors in American History from Williams College in 1972 and holds a Master of Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 1997, Williams College awarded Mr. Grogan the Bicentennial Medal for his leadership in inner-city revitalization efforts. He is also the recipient of five honorary degrees, has been recognized four times by The NonProfit Times through its annual “Power & Influence Top 50” list from 2013 to 2016, and was named one of America’s Top 25 “Disruptive Leaders” by Living Cities in 2016. Paul is a founder and director of The Community Development Trust, the nation’s first real estate investment trust dedicated to affordable housing and has been a trustee of Williams College and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
In 2000, Mr. Grogan, and writer and nonprofit consultant Tony Proscio, co-authored the book Comeback Cities, which syndicated columnist Ron Brownstein wrote is “arguably the most important and insightful book on the American city in a generation.”