For a PDF version of the FAQ, please click NS4G FAQ 2015.

What is Northeastern Students4Giving (NS4G)?
Northeastern Students4Giving (NS4G) is a philanthropy education program that enables students to make a positive and lasting impact in the communities where we live and learn through grant making. We make grants to community-based nonprofit organizations that address critical economic and social challenges facing the Boston neighborhoods of Mission Hill, Fenway, Roxbury, and the South End. Through our grant making and volunteer work, we further strengthen the relationship between the Northeastern University community, our grantees, and the neighborhoods they serve.

Since 2008, students have used a consensus-based approach to manage all stages of the NS4G funding cycle, from conducting needs assessments through making grant determinations. Past funding priorities have included trauma treatment, diversity and inclusion, youth violence, households at risk due to financial insecurity, positive youth development, thriving families, intimate partner violence, post-incarceration reintegration, and mental health. Our philanthropy is informed by coursework in human services and nonprofit management as well as many experiences students have had while working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. NS4G is advised by Social Impact Lab Director Rebecca Riccio and Human Services Director Lori Gardinier, MSW, PhD. Our decision making is completely independent of any other relationships applicants may have with the university.


What is NS4G’s current funding priority?
Northeastern Students4Giving will award a grant of $10,000 to an organization promoting public policies that support vulnerable and under-represented populations. Specifically, we seek to fund an organization using advocacy and lobbying to support the needs and interests of groups whose voice is not always heard in society, including but not limited to:

 – Racial/ethnic minorities

 – Foster youth

 – Individuals with physical or mental disabilities or illness

 – Veterans

 – LGBTQ individuals

 – Low wage earners

 – Immigrants

 – Currently or previously incarcerated individuals

 – Elders

Applicants may address the funding priority through any activity that may contribute to meaningful social change, such as:

 – Lobbying

 – Advocacy

 – Coalition building

 – Community organizing

 – Voter education and registration

The populations and activities listed above are illustrative, not exhaustive. The work may be oriented toward the national, state, or city level, provided that the impact is demonstrably achieved in one or more of our target communities of Mission Hill, Fenway, Roxbury, and the South End.


What type of organization is NS4G’s looking for?
Applicants must be registered as 501(c)(3) public charities and demonstrate an existing commitment and expertise relevant to this funding priority. The grant may be applied to a need of the organization’s choosing, including program support, operating and administrative expenses, or capacity building.

We look favorably on applications from organizations working collaboratively with public agencies, other nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders, but we will award the funding only to the applicant.


How do organizations apply for grants from NS4G?
Applicants must complete an NS4G Application and a Giving Common profile (described below). Both components must be completed by March 11, 2015. We encourage applicants to submit their Giving Common profile information to the Giving Common by February 20, 2015, if possible, to ensure that it can be processed by the deadline.


How do you apply for the NS4G grant?

We hope that our application process will benefit all applicants by exposing them to a larger pool of funders.  Therefore, we ask applicants to complete a two-step process:

1. Submit a brief Grant Application directly to NS4G.

2. Upload an organizational profile to the Boston Foundation’s Giving Common website.

The Giving Common is a free online resource that facilitates philanthropy by making it easier for nonprofit organizations to showcase the good work they do and for potential donors to find and fund them. To learn more about our rationale for working with The Giving Common, please see our NS4G FAQ 2015.


What is The Giving Common?
The Giving Common is a free online resource operated by the Boston Foundation to facilitate philanthropy. It allows Massachusetts nonprofits to tell their own stories and provides tools for potential donors to research, find, and fund them. A “donate now” function facilitates immediate online giving. Visitors to the site can search by issue area, geography and other variables. The Giving Common provides information typically requested by donors, including an organizational profile (history, goals, key achievements, staff, and volunteers), a copy of the most recent audited financial statement, and a copy of the IRS 501(c)(3)determination letter. The information is formatted to make it easy for individuals, foundations, and other funders to learn about each nonprofit. Organizations are asked to update their profile annually. To learn more about the Giving Common, please visit


Why was the Giving Common created?
The Giving Common was created in 2012 to facilitate informed philanthropy and make it easier for nonprofit organizations to provide information about themselves for potential donors. Since its launch in May 2012, the Giving Common already has over 800 nonprofit profiles available for review and has raised more than $1 million for those organizations.


Why is NS4G requiring applicants to create a profile in the Giving Common?
Our hope is that our application process will benefit all applicants by exposing them to a larger pool of funders. In making our grant determinations, we consider many of the qualities showcased in a Giving Common profile, including clarity of mission, an understanding of the need being addressed and the community being served, credible strategies for achieving and measuring impact, sound management and governance, and fiscal responsibility. By using the Giving Common, we are confident that we can maintain our rigorous grant-making standards, help raise our applicants’ visibility, and demonstrate how donors can easily utilize a free, public platform to access frequently requested information about nonprofit organizations.


How long will it take to complete the Giving Common profile?
The Boston Foundation estimates that it takes 4-6 hours. If possible, applicants should try to submit their Giving Common information by February 20, 2015 to enable Boston Foundation staff sufficient time to process it by the NS4G deadline of March 11, 2015.


What if we have questions about how to complete the Giving Common profile?
The Boston Foundation staff is happy to help. For questions about the Giving Common and support for completing your profile, please contact Leigh Handschuh, Nonprofit Effectiveness Program Associate, at 617-338-1623 or


What if we are unable to complete the Giving Common profile by the application deadline?
Boston Foundation staff will work with you to complete your profile as quickly as possible. NS4G may also be able to accept a draft version of your profile or review the documents you are planning to use to complete your profile. If you have concerns about completing your Giving Common profile on time, please contact Rebecca Riccio, Director of The Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University, at 617-373-4020 or


What if we choose not to complete the Giving Common profile?
If any concerns or obstacles are preventing you from completing a Giving Common profile, please contact Rebecca Riccio, Director of The Social Impact Lab at Northeastern University, at 617-373-4020 or


Contact Information

For NS4G:
Rebecca Riccio
Director, Social Impact Lab

For The Giving Common:
Leigh Handschuh
Program Associate, Nonprofit Effectiveness