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The Mabel Louise Riley Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-07-28

At A Glance

The Mabel Louise Riley Foundation

(also known as The Riley Foundation)

77 Summer St., 8th Fl.

Boston, MA United States 02110-1006

Telephone: (617) 399-1850


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $65,734,513

Total giving: $3,301,320



Additional Contact Information

E-mail for Nancy Saunders:


Established in 1971 in MA as the Mabel Louise Riley Charitable Trust - The foundation was established under the provisions of the will of Mabel Louise Riley, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Riley of Newton, MA. Mr. Riley took an active part in the development of the cotton textile industry, particularly in the south, and later formed the C.E. Riley Co., which purchased and sold textile machinery and also functioned as a financial management organization. Mabel Louise Riley inherited a substantial fortune from her parents, as well as a strong interest in local charities which she supported generously. In her will, signed ten years before her death, Miss Riley designated over 100 charities which received bequests totaling over $2,000,000, as well as 84 relatives and individuals. The residue was left in trust "for public charitable uses" with three individual trustees (who had long-time connections with the Riley family), and with Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Co. as the fourth time trustee.

Purpose and Activities

Giving primarily for 1) education and social services for disadvantaged children and adolescents; 2) preschool reading programs; 3) community development that will benefit low-income and minority neighborhoods, including job development and training, and housing; 4) citywide efforts in Boston and vicinity that promote cultural improvements and the arts; 5) grants that, despite some risk, offer a potential of high impact or significant benefits for a community, (the foundation is especially interested in leveraging its grants by funding new programs that can become self-sufficient or which may serve as a model in other geographic areas); and 6) improvements of race relations and neighborhood safety issues.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Family Strengthening Small Grants Fund

This fund will provide funding to proposals that are developed and carried out by resident volunteers who live in the Greater Dudley area of Roxbury and Dorchester, MA. In addition to resident volunteers, volunteer-run neighborhood groups and associations in the Greater Dudley area are also eligible. Nonprofit 501(c)(3) status is not required, but has to be organized for charitable activities for the benefit of families and neighborhoods. Large social service agencies, community-based organizations, and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply. The average grant size is $1,200 - $2,500. Grant funds may not be used to pay salaries. All grants are expected to be completed within a 12-month period from the date of receipt. Prior grantees cannot reapply until they have completed the prior activity/program/project. An application form is required. See foundation web site for current deadline and additional information. Completed applications can be mailed to Nancy A. Saunders, Admin., The Riley Foundation, f/b/o/ Small Grants Fund at the foundation's main address. Contact for assistance with form completion or technical assistance: Che Madyun, Small Grants Fund Mgr., tel.: (617) 823-0066, e-mail: .

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Child welfare
  • Community and economic development
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Family services
  • Housing development
  • Human services
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $65,734,513 (market value)

Expenditures: $4,003,428

Total giving: $3,301,320

Qualifying distributions: $3,619,058