Home » Organization » A192275b663c31cbcd7b24fe87166f5c » Ella Lyman Cabot Trust

Ella Lyman Cabot Trust

General organization information
Mission statement: 

The Ella Lyman Cabot Trust seeks to assist people who want to take their lives in a new, other-oriented direction. The twice-annual awards given out by the Board of Trustees of the Trust have enabled scores of individuals to develop their passion for serving others. By identifying and funding promising projects, the Trust aims to have  a meaningful impact on both the proponent of the project and on the project’s intended beneficiaries. If this sounds of interest to you, please read more about the Trust and review its application guidelines. Should you determine your project falls within the guidelines, we invite your application.

c/o GMA Foundations
2 Liberty Square, Ste 500
Boston, MA 02109
Care of: 
c/o GMA Foundations
Main contact name: 
Michelle Jenney
Phone number(s): 
General inquires email address: 
Organization type: 
Grantmaker - Private Foundation
Geographic focus: 
State » Massachusetts
Types of support: 
General operating
Fields of interest: 
Arts & culture
Arts & culture » Performing arts
Community and economic development » Economic development
Education » Education services
Education » Elementary and secondary education
Food, agriculture, fishing & forestry » Food security
Human rights
Human/social services
Human/social services » Basic and emergency aid
Human/social services » Homelessness
Human/social services » Shelter and residential care
Human/social services » Special population support
Human/social services » Women's services
Human/social services » Youth development
About The ELCT It was the belief of both Richard C. Cabot and Ella Lyman Cabot that persons were a better vehicle than institutions for a substance so precious and volatile as human idealism. Personalities grow and adapt; institutions all too often harden and contract. Their own creative faith, while variously transmitted, was most characteristically expressed in spiritual or material help to countless individuals at critical and crescent moments of their careers. In medicine, Richard Cabot recognized three groups: those who would recover of themselves; those who would not recover, whatever the physician might do; and those – a relatively small middle group – where what the physician could do would make all the difference between life and death. Carrying this same analysis over into his teaching, his social service, his individual contacts, it was again a middle group that challenged him – a group where a timely word, and unadvertised and prompt material assistance, might make all the difference between success and failure. Richard and Ella Cabot were willing; indeed, to gamble almost recklessly on the creative powers of human personality if there was even a slight chance of tipping the balance in favor of real and significant achievement. It is fitting, therefore, that the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, whatever the more generalized purpose expressed in its charter, should be devoted to this clearly articulated purpose of its founder – the sponsoring of persons with projects. These projects may be in the realm of art, science, social service, education – almost any significant human endeavor – so long as they are embodied in the elastic medium of some individual creative personality. Worthy endeavors embodied in institutions may often tempt the trustees to lend their support, but these will be outside the peculiar and often expressed scope of the Trust, as it existed in the mind of its founder. Only so qualified and defined does the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust stand as a truly characteristic projection of these two individuals, so rich in their own achievement, yet whose warmest and most appealing characteristic was the faith which they had in their friends.
Tax ID: 
Application information
Final notice: 
Spring (usually May) and the Fall (usually December)
Unsolicited requests accepted: 
Application methods: 

Application Guidelines

The Trust was established in 1939 by Dr. Richard C. Cabot , a pioneering and innovative Boston physician, to honor the memory of his wife, Ella Lyman Cabot, and the work of the Trust is carried on today by the Trustees of the Ella Lyman Cabot Trust. Dr. and Mrs. Cabot believed strongly in the individual’s ability to make a positive difference in the world. The criteria by which the Trustees make decisions on grants are based on the lives and ideals of the Cabots, who, during their lives, contributed greatly to the fields of medicine, social work, ethics, education and religious studies.

The ELCT, a tax-exempt organization, supports persons with charitable, religious, artistic, educational, and scientific projects that promote the good of others. Within this general guideline, the trustees strive to carry out Dr. Cabot’s original intent by giving paramount consideration in their evaluation of an application for a grant to the applicant’s demonstration of how the proposed grant will be essential to the applicant’s own growth and development. Important as the proposed project’s value to others and the probability of success may be, it is the impact of a proposed project on the individual carrying it out that the trustees consider most important in deciding which applicants to support.

While there is no formal limit on the size of an individual grant, the trustees expect grants to be in the range of $15,000 per applicant, and do not anticipate granting any individual support in excess of $25,000. The ELCT does not grant renewals or follow-up grants.

The interests of the Trust are broad, and not limited to any single area of endeavor or geographical location.

There are, however, some very specific limitations:

By virtue of its Grantor’s intent, the ELCT does not make grants:

  • To institutions, organizations, group endeavors
  • For scholarships, research, or vocational training
  • To artists, writers, or film makers soliciting support for artistic works, writing or publication of a book, or the production of a film, unless the project has a demonstrable charitable component.
  • To support development of a commercial enterprise

Applications can be submitted throughout the year, although grants are made only twice: in the Spring (usually May) and the Fall (usually December).

Consult the How to Apply section for instruction on submitting an application.

Review examples of previously sponsored projects in the Past Recipients section.

Grantmaking activity
For the fiscal year ending: 
December 31st, 2015
Total grantmaking dollars: 
Total assets (market value dollar amount): 
AGM membership information
Membership type: 
Member - Prospect
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