The Amelia Peabody Foundation is a grant-making organization

The Mission of the Amelia Peabody Foundation is to support the charitable needs of the Commonwealth. The Trustees take particular interest in supporting organizations that provide services to materially disadvantaged youth, address food insecurity, and workforce development. Special interest has been undertaken in providing support across the entire Commonwealth, to honor and continue Amelia Peabody’s philanthropic legacy.

Miss Peabody initially set aside the corpus of funds that would become the Foundation in 1942 with the intention they be used for charitable purposes in Massachusetts. Her wishes are honored through the funding the Foundation provides. From time to time, the charitable focus of the Trustees may shift, or they may take special focus on a particular issue. Miss Peabody had broad, far-reaching interests.  The impact of Miss Peabody’s giving during her lifetime can be seen today across the state from the Museum of Science to the Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine. The Amelia Peabody Foundation endeavors to amplify and extend the generosity of Amelia Peabody into perpetuity.

The Amelia Peabody Foundation does not accept donations. All trustee decisions are confidential and additional feedback will not be provided to those declined a grant. If declined, prospective grantees can submit another application one calendar year or later from their declined submission.

"If I ever do take up a charity, I intend to do it, and not half do it."
Amelia Peabody

About Amelia Peabody

Amelia Peabody (1890-1984) was the sole surviving heir of Frank Everett Peabody's estate. Born to Frank Everett Peabody and Gertrude Bancroft Peabody (nee Bayley), Ms. Peabody was a gem of the gilded age. Her father was a partner at the brokerage firm Kidder, Peabody & Co. Her mother descended from Robert Gray, the American Captain lauded as the first to circumnavigate the globe and trade with China. The family resided in a townhouse designed by William R. Emerson and Carl Fenner; it was in the posh Back Bay neighborhood, in addition to oceanfront property in Gloucester. A rare family photo shows the home's interiors that seem as if they were ripped from the pages of an Edith Wharton novel. Six staff attended the house, including, at times, a governess to educate a young Amelia or Amy as she was known to her intimates. As a woman with exceptional breeding, Ms. Peabody was poised to be the toast of the town.

 However, after her debut in society in the fall of 1909, Ms. Peabody found high society too concerned with appearances. She took refuge in art, studying intermittently at the School of the Museum of the Fine Arts for the four years following her debut until 1913. Mrs. Peabody worried that her daughter's intensity and drive for sculpture would impact her eligibility in the marriage market. Amelia, however, had plans to devote her otherwise charmed life to giving. In a 1912 diary entry, she said, "If I ever do take up a charity, I intend to do it, and not half do it." Her endowments continue to fund various educational and charitable initiatives across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Ms. Peabody did nothing by half measures.

Ms. Peabody's wide-reaching charitable interests included Animal Husbandry, the Arts, Veterans Affairs, Medicine, and Scientific Discovery. Many of her interests were impacted by her life experiences. For instance, her elder brother Everett Peabody died aged 15 in 1900. Much of her work surrounding music was done in his memory. Her father, Frank, passed away shortly after Everett in 1918 after a brief illness. Her mother, Gertrude, summarily married a family friend, William Eaton. Amelia, however, was not taken by any offers of marriage and preferred her family's company. Comfortably in her 30s and labeled a spinster, Ms. Peabody obtained the property in rural Dover, MA.

Here she raised a variety of animals, from pigs to dogs to horses. She even began a connection with the Norfolk Hunt Club through her farm manager Richard Thibedeau. The Hunt Club continues to celebrate Ms. Peabody's patronage with an annual fox hunt across her former properties, now known as Powissett Farm and Noanet Woodlands, and managed by the Trustees of Reservations. By her death, she was the largest landowner in Dover. She used this commitment to agriculture to assist in founding Tufts Veterinary School, the only land-grant veterinary college in New England.

Not just agricultural science but medical science and engineering were subjects of interest for Amelia Peabody. She sat on the boards of various esteemed Boston medical institutions, including Boston Lying-in, Children's Hospital, and Joslin Diabetes Clinic. However, Ms. Peabody was never above rolling up her sleeves and getting to work; even in her golden years, she would don a volunteer uniform and work at the front desk at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She notably became the benefactor of a variety of engineering feat, including a solar home built on her Dover property, spearheaded by scientist and Hungarian emigree Maria Telkes. She stood firm for education and scientific exploration, brokering a relationship with the Museum of Science. Today there is a wing that still stands named for Ms. Peabody.

In 1942, she put part of her fortune into the trust that would become the Amelia Peabody Foundation's corpus upon her death. During the post-war period, she devoted her time to the Red Cross Service Corps, teaching returning GIs occupational art. She taught them to create things like ceramics so they could be gainfully employed. Ever devoted to her causes, she even brought her students to the townhouse on Commonwealth AVE where she had a kiln. Her artworks have been displayed worldwide, from Paris to New York, including a World’s Fair. However, some of her work lives on in MA, notably at the Bouve School of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. The piece was donated upon Ms. Peabody's death in 1984.

Amelia Peabody left an indelible mark on the community in Massachusetts, and as promised in her youth, she did her charity work all the way. Although a bete noir in her childhood, many endeavors would not exist without her generosity. The goal of the Amelia Peabody Foundation is to continue Ms. Peabody's project of supporting and innovating those who need it most across the Commonwealth.


Amelia Peabody Foundation Grants

Grant Application Deadlines

February 8, 2024

May 15, 2024

September 10, 2024


Before Filling Out An Application

Please read all of the information on our Application Overview page before filling out an application.
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