Our Story

In the 1960's, interstate highways were the key development strategy for so-called 'Urban Renewal'.  An eight-lane highway was planned for Boston, with a cloverleaf to be placed at the center of Roxbury. Under the power of eminent domain, thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed and entire neighborhoods were obliterated. As the far-reaching impact of the plan became more and more evident, a broad coalition of community champions began working on a way to stop the highway. And after more than 25 years of sustained civic engagement, a moratorium was declared on further highway development. Under new legislative and regulatory guidelines that established a trust for those affected in Roxbury and Chinatown, a multi-ethnic group of real estate developers negotiated an agreement that connected the development of Ruggles Center to the sale of One Lincoln Street in Chinatown. The development team pledged a percentage of their profits to benefit non-profit organizations in impacted communities and in 2004, a portion of those community benefit dollars seeded the Roxbury Trust Fund. Over nearly a decade, the Roxbury Trust Fund distributed almost $2.5 million and helped more than one hundred nonprofit organizations grow their organizational capacities along several key areas. In the years since, the Roxbury Trust Fund has worked closely with its long-standing partner and Pro Bono legal team at Foley Hoag to amend its original state charter to allow for increased flexibility and independence along key areas such as fund development and board expansion. In June 2016, the state legislation that created the Roxbury Trust Fund was successfully amended.