Learn what’s happening at the Foundation and in the communities where we work. Hear from staff and partners about their accomplishments and lessons learned along the way.

*** 2020 Grant Guidelines will be posted mid-November on our “Apply for a Grant” page***
We get by with a little help from our friends: Tower Foundation Advisory Team


Author: Megan MacDavey

Co-Author: Nick Randell Staff post guidelines. Organizations apply. Staff review requests. Staff ask clarifying questions. Staff invite full proposals from organizations. Board approves or declines proposals. Repeat. We are a well-oiled grantmaking machine. We’ve switched things up here and there over the years (e.g., reduced the number of questions we ask, added a clarification call, … Continued

Tweaks for Better Listening


Author: Don Matteson

Over the past year or so, we’ve been exploring Human-Centered Design (HCD). At a super-high level, HCD is a process of developing products or programs that places the end-user at the center of the process. It involves a deliberate set of stages and activities that helps designers get closer to end-users to get a better … Continued

Playing with (Catcha)fire


Author: Megan MacDavey

I am reminded daily by the amazing grant partners I get to work with that there is huge demand by nonprofits to build their capacity to be stronger, more sustainable organizations, but that there are not enough resources to do so.  Ninety-five percent of the organizations that responded to a Tower Foundation survey in 2016 … Continued

Making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline easier to use


Author: Don Matteson

The New York Times reported yesterday that the Federal Communications Commission recommended shortening the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1–800–273–8255) to three digits. This would effectively make it a “911” for suicide prevention. This is an excellent suggestion, and it echoes what Michael Hogan, Ph.D. recommends in the first installment of the 2019 Think … Continued

Meet our Summer 2019 Grant Partners


Author: Don Matteson

The Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation is pleased to announce its recent grant awards totaling nearly $1.1 million to 11 organizations for projects benefitting Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, and Nantucket Counties in Massachusetts; and Erie and Niagara Counties in New York State. According to Tracy Sawicki, the Foundation’s Executive Director, “These projects show many different ways … Continued

Team Fourteen: Changing Teen Lives in Eastern Massachusetts


Author: Guest

Our guest blogger for this post is Maureen McElhinny with Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services Substance use for adolescents can escalate from a dangerous discovery to a heartbreaking dependency, putting youth at long-term risk and damaging families and whole communities. Team Fourteen is a group of clinicians who serve adolescents and their families with … Continued

Introducing the TowerDATA Dashboard!


Author: Tracy Sawicki

Back in 2014, the Foundation’s Trustees and staff went through a strategic planning process. Nothing new, right? What made this strategic plan (which we later decided to call a strategic direction) different is that we built the entire thing around a process called Results-Based Accountability (RBA). Without getting too wonky, RBA takes a page out … Continued

Partnering with Humility: Lessons from the School Ground in Eastern Massachusetts


Author: Tracy Sawicki

Authored by: Tracy Sawicki, Executive Director at the Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation and Jane Feinberg, Founder and Principal, Full Frame Communications In 2013, a group of philanthropists gathered together in Beverly, MA for an education roundtable. One of the guest speakers was Jeff Riley, currently the Education Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who … Continued

Meet our Spring 2019 Grant Partners


Author: Don Matteson

The Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation is pleased to announce its recent grant awards totaling nearly $1.3 million to 15 organizations for projects benefitting Erie and Niagara Counties in Western New York, as well as Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Essex County in Eastern Massachusetts. “It’s a great privilege to support these organizations as they work … Continued