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Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-06-04

At A Glance

Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation

(formerly Carl and Ruth Shapiro Foundation)

75 Park Plz.

Boston, MA United States 02116-3941

Telephone: (617) 778-7999


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $331,510,871

Total giving: $10,260,000





Additional Contact Information

Additional inf. (for Jean S. Whitney) e-mail:


Established in 1961 in DE as Carl Shapiro Foundation - Carl Shapiro was a successful businessman who founded Kay Windsor, Inc. in 1939. The company, based in New Bedford, MA, manufactured and imported a variety of women's apparel. When it was acquired by the Vanity Fair corporation in 1971, it was one of the largest women’s clothing companies in the country. Mr. Shapiro remained with Vanity Fair until his retirement in 1976. He then devoted his energies to the worlds of investment and philanthropy. Though his wife Ruth passed away in 2012, Carl remains active in the foundation today. In recent years, their three daughters have become involved in shaping the direction of the foundation. Much of the current work reflects their philanthropic interests and expands on the tradition established by their parents.

Purpose and Activities

Grants primarily for arts and culture, education, health and hospitals, Jewish causes and social welfare in the Greater Boston area.

Program Area(s)

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

Access to Opportunity Initiative

The initiative builds on the experiences of the Empowerment Initiative and will continue that work but with a sharper focus on education and pre-vocational training, which the foundation views as essential preparation for achieving economic security. The initiative has two distinct funding strategies: 1) Increasing access to and persistence in education for adult learners; 2) Promoting post-secondary success for youth.

Disability Inclusion Initiative

Provides support to organizations that assist individuals with disabilities as they strive to achieve independence, community integration and a better quality of life. Focus areas are assistive technology and related services; sports, recreation, the arts; and underserved populations and systematic change.

Youth in the Arts Initiative

The goal of the initiative is to increase access and participation for those youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to become involved in the arts. A secondary goal is to support the growth and development of youth as artists, as individuals, as students and as participants in their communities through their involvement in high quality youth arts programs.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Dance
  • Diseases and conditions
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Hospital care
  • Human services
  • Museums
  • Music
  • Nonprofits
  • Theater
  • Youth development
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Adolescents
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Immigrants and migrants
  • Low-income and poor people
  • People with disabilities
  • People with physical disabilities
  • Students
  • Young adults
  • Judaic institutions
  • Public charities

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $331,510,871 (market value)

Expenditures: $10,616,478

Total giving: $10,260,000

Qualifying distributions: $10,551,982

Giving activities include:

$10,260,000 for 14 grants (high: $3,810,000; low: $10,000)