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Haymarket People's Fund : Records, 1974-1989


7 cartons


The Haymarket People's Fund donated the records of the Boston Regional Funding Board, the Boston portion of HPF's grant files, and HPF's annual reports and publications, to the University of Massachusetts/Boston Archives in June 1990.

Restrictions: permission to identify board member's opinions by name, as expressed in non-published materials, must be obtained from Haymarket People's Fund before publication.


Haymarket People's Fund, a New England alternative granting foundation for social change, was founded in July 1974 by George Pillsbury and other young people with inherited wealth. In 1976, the Haymarket staff established Rank and File (R&F), a corporation used to fund projects that would not pass guidelines for tax-exemption. When organizations without tax-exempt status submit proposals that fall within tax-exempt guidelines, HPF encourages them to find a tax-exempt "conduit" or "sponsor."

Between 1976 and 1977 the structure of HPF evolved from one community decision-making board in Boston to eight autonomous boards, one for each New England state, and two each for Massachusetts and Connecticut. Each regional board is comprised of five to ten members who are often political activists and from organizations HPF has previously funded; each board makes funding decisions for that region. The boundaries of the Boston Regional Funding Board include the area from Worchester to the Atlantic, Fall River to the northern border of Massachusetts.

From 1977 until 1983 one member of each regional board sat on the New England Board which made grants for proposals crossing funding areas and served as a board of directors. In 1983 HPF established the Coordinating Council, responsible for general administration of the Fund, financial and personnel policies, and fund-raising plans. Although apparently most of HPF's grants are directed from the regional boards, HPF also channels donor-directed (DD) or donor-advised (DA) grants to organizations. HPF relies on donations from people with inherited wealth and earned income as well as interest from its investments in corporations that meet its moral and political standards.

In 1979 HPF helped found the Funding Exchange (FEX), an umbrella organization for alternative funds with a shared philosophy. In 1980 FEX moved beyond sharing technical support among the funds by creating National Community Funds to administer grants to national and international organizations within its guidelines.

Believing that in order "to transform our society the unequal distribution of wealth and power must be righted" (1983-84 Annual Report) the philosophy and goals of the Haymarket People's Fund have apparently remained consistent throughout its existence. Since the "potential for change in the United States lies in people's realization that the roots of our oppression and insecurities are related to the political/economic system in which we live" (1981-82 Annual Report), HPF's goals are: "to help people understand the sources of social and economic injustice in our country and how to change them; to support people trying to take control of their lives through challenging established power, learning how to use leadership, and developing self-respect; and to work towards the shared vision of a non-oppressive, life-supporting society" (1983-84 Annual Report). In its attempt to support people organizing among their own constituencies, HPF has tried to be responsive to what people, particularly those in "oppressed" groups, identify as pressing issues.

These goals have resulted in grants to a variety of grassroots organizations including those interested in the rights of people of color, tenants, workers, women, students, people with disabilities, gay men and lesbians, the elderly, veterans, welfare recipients and environmentalists, as well as groups working on issues of peace, poverty, discrimination, economic justice, accessibility, and public education on international issues. HPF explicitly states that they do not fund activities not clearly linked to organizing, groups with budgets over a particular amount, groups receiving significant government or corporate grants or those with no fund-raising plans beyond HPF, groups that solely provide services, or alternative businesses or institutions. (1988-89 Annual Report)

In addition to making grants, Haymarket People's Fund makes small emergency grants, administers loans, and provides technical assistance. HPF helps socially responsible people with wealth make investment and donor decisions. Technical assistance to groups sharing its philosophy (whether or not they meet its granting guidelines) includes helping organizations make long-range plans, develop fund-raising strategies and network with other groups.

For additional information see HPF's annual reports in Series III of this collection.

Scope and Content

The Haymarket People's Fund Collection primarily consists of HPF's Boston's grant files from 1974 through 1984. The papers of HPF's Western Massachusetts Regional Funding Board are located at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst Archives. This collection is divided into three series and several subseries.

Series I: Boston Regional Funding Board
Subseries IA: Minutes, #1-10
Subseries IB: Other, #11-1
Series II: Boston Grants, files, #17-485
Series III: Haymarket People's Fund, publications
Subseries IIIA: Annual reports, #486-497
Subseries IIIB: Other, #498-499

The folder descriptions used in the inventory below are extensions of the folder titles used by HPF. HPF marked the files in Series III by organization name, and occasionally included date of funding, "emergency," or project sponsor.

SERIES I: Boston Board

Series I, is divided into two subseries and documents the Haymarket People's Fund's Boston Regional Funding Board's deliberations and activities, and occasionally its policy debates, between 1974 and 1984.

Subseries IA: Minutes

#1-10, includes correspondence, agendas, and notes. Some are in chronological order, some are in reverse chronological order.

Subseries IB: Other

#11-16, consists of 1984 board records including emergency grant applications, and correspondence, minutes, and completed registration forms relating to HPF's Tenth Anniversary Festival. Before 1984, some emergency grant applications were interfiled with regular grant applications files such as those in Series II. HPF may, however, have maintained a separate emergency grant applications file prior to 1984 in which case there is a gap in the University of Massachusetts/Boston's HPF Collection.

SERIES II, Boston Grants, files

#17-485, the bulk of this collection, contains successful and unsuccessful grant applications and a few loan applications made to the Haymarket People's Fund between 1974 and 1984. Each folder consists of one or more grant application files. When the collection was transfered to UMass/Boston these files were divided into pre-1983 and 1983-84. As this was an arbitrary distinction, the files were integrated into one alphabetical series, but applications from the same organization remain in separate folders.

Each grant application file includes a completed "Haymarket Grant Application" form or answers to questions on that form, and often includes proof of the applicant or conduit's tax-exempt status, samples of the group's work, letters in support of the application, a grant proposal not following Haymarket's requested format, correspondence with HPF staff or board, or copies of applications made to other funding sources. The "Haymarket Grant Application" form requests a brief history of the group, organization's goals, how the group plans to reach those goals, the group's structure and decision-making process, targeted constituency and membership make-up, how the group deals with the oppression of racial and oppressed nationalities, women and gay/lesbian people, working class and poor people, the group's current and planned projects, a description and budget for the project the grant would fund, how the organization or project's effectiveness could be evaluated, and other items the organization wished to include. The grant proposals include samples of leaflets, clippings, etc. used to support grant proposals or as part of subsequent reports.

Many application files include a form filled out by the HPF board member who interviewed the organization, or other notes taken by board members about the applicant. Most include notes indicating the board's decision.

Folders that include successful grant application files also usually contain a copy of a memorandum from HPF, a completed grant agreement form, a grant history, and a six month progress report.

The grant history includes the date of the grant, conduit through which the grant was channeled to the organization, the funding period, the amount of the grant, the grant's source (HPF, R&F, donor directed (dd), donor advised (da), etc.), and often notes if the grant was an emergency. In the middle of the decade this series covers, HPF Boston Board used an orange form for the grant history. It appears that in the early eighties someone ("RT") went through each file and, following the format of the orange sheet, wrote the same information on the inside of each folder. The processor transferred these notes to the first sheet of each folder. When it appeared that the organization acting as a conduit had a relationship with the grant recipient beyond transfering funds, the conduit, or project sponsor, was noted in the folder description.

The dates in the folder headings are not inclusive; they represent years when an organization either received a grant from HPF or made an unsuccessful grant application. In keeping with HPF's notations, each year represents at least one grant application. If an organization submitted an application in October 1976 and received the grant in February 1977, 1977 is the only year noted for that application. If the organization did not receive the grant, 1976 is the only year noted for that application. Therefore, folder headings spanning two or more years contain two or more applications or grants. Most folders are in rough reverse-chronological order. At times HPF used colored paper dividers to separate different grant applications within a file. For preservation purposes, some such dividers were replaced with white sheets marked "divider."

Most folders contain supporting material dating from the period before and after the year in which the grant was applied for or funded. Many applications include samples of the organization's then current work. Most grantees filed a required six month progress report, and some sent HPF information for years to come.

Researchers interested in a particular subject should examine the entire folder list for Series II which is in alphabetical order by organization name.

SERIES III: Haymarket People's Fund

#486-499, publications is divided into two subseries and provides thorough if general information about HPF's philosophy, goals, and activities.

Subseries IIIA: Annual reports

#486-497, consists of HPF's annual reports from 1979 through fiscal year 1988. They include HPF's goals, financial information, grant recipients, and other information.

Subseries IIIB: Other

#498-499, contains a set of articles published by HPF in 1981, and a book including a chapter about HPF's work.