BCF Safety Net Fund Background

With roots in the community that go back to the 19th century, the Brookline Community Foundation (BCF) has a long history of meeting the needs of Brookline residents, providing aid when and where it is needed most. One of our cornerstone efforts, the BCF Safety Net Fund, provides critical, urgent assistance, helping neighbors in crisis with rent, food, utility bills and other acute financial needs. 

Over the past several years we’ve seen an increasing need for support from the BCF Safety Net Fund as many of our residents face unemployment or underemployment, stagnating or declining wages, a scarcity of affordable housing and rising costs for child care and health care. According to BCFs recently published report Understanding Brookline: A Report on Poverty, Brookline's poverty rate from 2000 to 2010 has increased from 9% to 13%, with growing poverty rates in all segments of the population. And, almost one-third of Brookline residents live in households below the 300% poverty threshold, a marker of economic insecurity.

Safety Net Fund Impact Stories 

A senior in transition: An elderly woman lost her husband, and although she was due to receive a subsidy on her apartment, her rent would not adjust until the following month. The BCF Safety Net Fund paid the difference between the former rate and new, more affordable rent, preventing possible eviction.

 A couple with disabilities: A couple, who is low-income and disabled was unable to heat their home during a period of sub-zero weather and had resorted to using the oven to warm themselves. The BCF Safety Net Fund covered the costs for an emergency delivery of home heating oil.  

Neighbors who are hungry: With evidence of growing food insecurity in town, the Brookline Food Pantry opened a second site in 2015. The BCF Safety Net Fund provided funding to purchase fresh and frozen food for the launch of the second site. 

Click here to donate to the BCF Safety Net Fund.

Council on Foundations National Standards

BCF is confirmed by the Council on Foundations as operating in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

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Julie Marcus (President) has more than 15 years experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in marketing and communications. She worked at City Year, the Boston-based national youth service organization for nearly a decade overseeing major events and communications. In 2003, still with City Year, Julie served as Director of the Save AmeriCorps initiative that resulted in the creation of Voices for National Service. Julie began her career at Imagitas, a government-focused marketing solutions company. She has a degree in Government from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in American History from Brandeis University. Julie joined the BCF board in 2010 and became President of the foundation in June 2016. She lives in Brookline with her husband Craig and their three children.

Michael Lindstrom (Vice President) is currently the principal of studioMLA Architects in Brookline, which provides a full range of architectural services in the design of environments for children, including projects in Europe and Asia as well as in the United States and Canada. Mike led the annual Child Care Design Institute at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 2000 to 2008. In addition, he has served as an instructor for the Boston Architectural Center and as an assistant professor for the Parsons School of Design - Paris Program. He has served as an advisor to the American Academy of Pediatrics on Child Care Center Design. Mike has practiced architecture since 1982 in Paris, New York and Boston. Mike is a LEED accredited professional and has designed multiple LEED certified children's centers.

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