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.

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Disabilities Community in Massachusetts


Author: Nicholas Randell

The focus of this blog post is a webinar on the COVID-19 vaccines as they affect people with disabilities in Massachusetts.  For more of a Western New York perspective, take a look at this webinar recording from the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4_mz_pO3rk On Tuesday, March 9th, the Center for Public Representation … Continued

It’s Alive! (Plus Funding Opportunities for our Western NY Partners)


Author: Don Matteson

At long last, I’m pleased to announce that the Tower Foundation has launched its new grants portal. We hope that it will be easier and more pleasant for you to see what grant opportunities are available, apply for grants, check on grant payments, request technical assistance, and share stories about your work. If you had … Continued

Tower Foundation Grant Portal Launches Thursday


Author: Don Matteson

We’re very excited about the transition to our new grants portal, but I’m sorry to say that we’re running a bit further behind schedule than we’d imagined. While we expected to “flip the switch” last week, it’s actually going to happen this Thursday. Here are a couple of things you need to know: If you … Continued

Take 1: Introducing a Diversity Form to our Application


Author: Megan MacDavey

A little over a year ago, the Tower Foundation began to use a racial equity lens to reflect on our work: How can we be a more equitable grantmaker? (You can read more about this journey here.) While we focus on young people living with intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, learning disabilities, and mental health … Continued

How We Pivoted During the Pandemic – Guest Blog


Author: Guest

For this blog, we invited Anne Showers, a grant partner and CEO of Accessible Academics to describe the impact of COVID-19 on her organization and ways in which they were able to adapt to new realities.  Accessible Academics, based in Buffalo NY, works with students that have a range of learning challenges, providing academic and … Continued

Fewer Strings Attached: General Operating Pilot Project


Author: Nicholas Randell

About five years ago, the Ford Foundation made public a commitment to award 40% of its grant dollars as unrestricted, general operating awards.  They made this move in the face of mounting advocacy for loosening philanthropy’s widespread proclivity for tying grant dollars to specific programs or capital projects.  Groups like GEO (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations) … Continued

Journeying into the Equity Conversation


Author: Tracy Sawicki

For a little less than a year, the staff at the Tower Foundation has been exploring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as it relates to our work. This post is the first of several in which we will share about our path and process, some of the challenges we have experienced, and the opportunities that … Continued

Published! Sharing our Adventures in Human-Centered Design and Inclusive Grantmaking


Author: Nick Randell & Megan MacDavey

Last October, we wrote a blog about the Advisory Team of young people with intellectual disabilities that helped us review grants from the fall 2019 grant cycle. In that blog, we focused on the creation of the team, the process of coming together to review grants, and the great feedback that we got.  The Advisory Team … Continued

COVID-19: Changes to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming


Author: Tracy Sawicki

Just about every website you visit these days has a popover window, a banner, or some other techie web-gizmo to make sure you know about the host organization’s COVID-19 response. Time to add our response to the mix. With a number of currently running grants and an upcoming grant deadline, we’ve tried to slow down … Continued

Coronavirus Offers Significant Challenge to Grant Partners


Author: Nicholas Randell

We asked our current grant partners to tell us about the challenges to their organization stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.  Responses to the survey were timely, detailed, open, and sobering. Across the board, providers are working tirelessly to maintain as much continuity of care as they can. Some of the reported issues are captured here. Rapid … Continued