The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust Fund

Guidelines for Applicants

Note to Applicants: Please review the Trust’s guidelines after October 1, 2013 to see if your program is eligible for consideration.

Jessie B. Cox was noted for her philanthropy.  Her creation of the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust Fund (the Cox Trust) continues a family legacy of giving.  As a charitable lead trust, the Cox Trust has a life cycle of 35 years and will conclude its activities in 2017.

The Trust is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living in New England. To achieve its goals, the Trust pursues initiatives in three key fields of interest: education, environment, and health.  These interests, once broadly supported, have become more focused in anticipation of the Trust’s closing in 2017.  Within the field of education, there is a special interest in promoting opportunities for early learning.  For environment, the Trust focuses on large-scale habitat conservation. In the field of health, the Trust emphasizes improving access to health care within a field that is changing rapidly due to public and private efforts for reform.

Given its limited resources and lifespan, the Trust is particularly interested in leveraging its grants, and in supporting efforts with promise for lasting societal benefit.  Preference is given to significant model projects with promise for growth and replication, the leveraging of government and other philanthropic dollars, and collaborative efforts, both with other funders and among nonprofit organizations.  The Trust is mindful of its special status as one of the few funders with an interest in all six of the New England states, and applications for funding are reviewed in light of the important issues of the region.

Fields of Interest

The Cox Trust seeks to prepare all children for academic success, especially those in low-income and vulnerable communities, before they enter kindergarten and in innovative ways.  To that end, the Trust focuses its Education grantmaking in the area of early childhood education.

Early Childhood Education

The Early Childhood Education program invests in large-scale, region-wide efforts that 1) provide broad access to early learning opportunities for children ages three through five and 2) improve the quality of early childhood education across the spectrum of providers.  This spectrum includes family, friends and neighbors, private child care centers, public school pre-kindergarten programs, Head Start agencies, and licensed family child care providers.  Focus is placed on strengthening and expanding preschool education and those systems related to parent engagement/outreach.

Areas of Priority

  • Significantly increasing early childhood education opportunities for young children in the New England states and across the entire region, especially through multi-partner networks or collaboration.
  • Focused and sustained parent education/engagement efforts that are intricately combined with student-centered interventions and follow-up coaching.

Particular attention will be given to efforts that have demonstrated success in advancing young children’s learning, school-readiness, and long-term academic accomplishments; further systemic alignment and coordination of early childhood education, K-12 education, community support services, and family involvement efforts; and use standardized assessment methods indicating young children’s progress and development and/or their initiative’s impact on improving access to or quality of early childhood education.

In its environmental grantmaking, the Trust works to save and protect the great terrestrial ecosystems of New England through habitat conservation.

Habitat Conservation
The Habitat Conservation program seeks to protect terrestrial and wildlife critical for the preservation of biodiversity.  The Trust focuses on protecting functioning ecosystems, including core habitats, buffer zones and wildlife corridors.  While the Trust has an interest in the region’s watersheds, marine projects will be considered only when they are linked to land ecosystems.

Areas of Priority

  • Significant conservation areas as identified by habitat assessments, eco-regional planning, or evidence of pervasive threats suggesting urgent conservation action.
  • Smart growth strategies.
  • Support and strengthening of citizen-based networks and alliances that collectively establish priorities and take action.
  • Science-based tools and research to aid conservation campaigns.
  • Partnerships with large-scale health, economic, education, recreation and sports, environmental, and cultural initiatives.

The Trust’s grantmaking in health is focused on access to health care within a field that is changing rapidly due to public and private efforts for reform.

Access to Health Care
The Access program is dedicated to improving access to health care for all New Englanders, especially low-income or otherwise disadvantaged people, through innovative and replicable health care delivery projects and public policy initiatives.  Access to health care includes consideration of supply, distribution, and means of payment in urban, suburban, and rural communities. The Trust has a special interest in projects that will improve access to care for disadvantaged children.

Areas of Priority

  • Demonstrated, replicable health care delivery projects designed to improve access to needed, culturally competent services.
  • Targeted research, convening or collaboratives that identify means of improving access to health care.
  • Research and advocacy in the areas of supply of care, distribution, and insurance coverage.

Application Process

Grants Calendar and Process
The Grants Committee meets twice per year to award grants, in May and October/November. As of June 15, 2011, the application process has been modified, with the grantmaking process initiated to a greater extent by program staff in coordination with the grants committee.  The Trust’s program staff will retain an open-door policy for new requests, which will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  Based on such review, the grants committee will invite specific proposals.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to begin the process with a brief project description of no more than two pages describing your organization, proposed project, outcomes/benchmarks for success, project budget, and dollar request.  These descriptions should be identified by program category (education, environment, health, or a combination thereof), and sent by e-mail to the attention of

Program staff will work with the grants committee to identify a limited number of concepts for further investigation, possibly leading to the solicitation of a complete funding proposal.  All queries will be answered following the spring and fall meetings.

Grant Size
With few exceptions, grant requests will be considered on the scale of $50,000 or more per year.

The Cox Trust does not normally support:

  • General operating support and ongoing maintenance.
  • Excellent but small-scale programs with limited potential for growth or influence beyond their local sphere of activity.
  • Proposals with poorly defined outcomes or benchmarks for success.
  • Capital requests for building, equipment or land acquisition.
  • Endowments, scholarship funds, or fundraising activities.
  • Grant requests of under $50,000.
  • Projects for which the Trust is the sole or predominant source of support.
  • Programs for which the public sector normally assumes funding responsibility.
  • Requests from individuals.
  • Maintenance of existing programs or services.

Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust
c/o GMA Foundations
2 Liberty Square, Suite 500
Boston, MA  02109-4884
Phil Cappello, Foundation Assistant
(617) 399-1852

Grants Committee
Michael C. Hill, Chair
Leslie Hill
Thomas G. Hill

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