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Our History

For hundreds of years, philanthropic giving has played an essential role in furthering social and economic progress across the country. Private philanthropists act to produce something of common value, a greater good for a larger group than themselves as individuals. Over the centuries, private donors have typically made gifts for critical needs far earlier, and more quickly, than either businesses or government. These voluntary gifts have often initiated the first stages of tremendous change and development.

a main street intersection of Natick town center with brick buildings and old church with high steeple

Presently, philanthropy is growing across the U.S. Too often, however, critical needs closer to home are neglected because, ironically, local needs may not be as well known, and donors may not have the time or inclination to sift through hundreds of options to determine where to give. Community giving is vital to a region’s infrastructure.

In 1996, a visionary group of residents established the Crossroads Community Foundation to address the issues and challenges facing the cities and towns west of Route 128 and east of Route 495 and to bring the benefits of a community foundation to MetroWest residents and nonprofit organizations. With a deep understanding of MetroWest, its nonprofits, and its needs, the Foundation served as a resource, leader, and catalyst for philanthropy by connecting donors with nonprofits, and nonprofits with each other, across the region. By providing donors with flexible and innovative means to make gifts to support MetroWest, the Foundation helped all area residents, especially those who are most vulnerable and in need.

Today, renamed Foundation for MetroWest, the Foundation holds over $26 million in assets comprising more than 100 funds. This financial depth gives trustees, staff, and community partners the resources to assess community challenges and propose sustainable solutions. As of 2020, $19 million has been distributed to nonprofits across MetroWest to support their work in the human services, environmental stewardship, education, youth development, hunger relief, and arts and cultural sectors.

stone bridge with the Charles River running below it in Natick

Foundation for MetroWest augments its role through strategic education services, like hosting community forums on philanthropy for donors and nonprofits to help people understand the needs of the region and how best to address them. The Foundation also offers services to financial advisors and works with finance and investment professionals as they advise clients on philanthropic investments.

The Foundation for MetroWest board is comprised of local residents and offers an important opportunity for leadership and engagement in improving the quality of life in this region.

As one of almost 800 community foundations nationwide, the Foundation for MetroWest represents one of the fastest-growing types of philanthropic organizations in the United States. With the rising exodus to MetroWest suburbs, private philanthropy is essential to sustain and enhance the quality of life in these communities for generations to come. MetroWest would not be the thriving region it is today if it were not for the continued support of private giving from all walks of life. In light of this, Foundation for MetroWest’s efforts will sustain and invigorate MetroWest communities for present and future generations.

About The Building

3 Eliot Street, the Morse-Dana-Leach House, was built when the east boundary of Natick extended to the western shore of Lake Waban, now in Wellesley. In 1759, David Morse built this as a “saltbox” on land he had purchased from the native owners in 1730. Ephraim Dana bought the property on April 27, 1779, and established a blacksmith shop at the corner of Leach Lane. His daughters, Rebecca and Tabitha, built the eastern extension of the house for the store. The property remained nominally in the Dana family for over 100 years. Eventually passing to in-laws, the Abbotts, then in-laws, the Leach Family and finally to H. Hollis Hunnewell on October 16, 1876.

the 3 Eliot Street building with the Foundation for MetroWest sign on the front sign post