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Founding History

How it all began in Boston

Based on the success of the Portland Program,  Friends of the Children-Boston (Friends-Boston) was founded in 2004 as the first organization established by the GreenLight Fund. Co-founded by John Simon and Margaret Hall, the GreenLight Fund is a venture philanthropy firm that identifies innovative nonprofits from around the nation and provides seed funding to bring them to Boston. After vetting hundreds of organizations to select as its very first investee, the GreenLight Fund selected a high impact mentoring organization named Friends of the Children.

Under the leadership and vision of John Simon and Margaret Hall, in 2004, Friends-Boston welcomed its first class of 16 Achievers; this year our oldest Achievers are in 12th grade! 

A dedicated champion and supporter of Friends-Boston ever since, John still serves on the Board of Directors. We call the children we serve Achievers to demonstrate our belief in their potential to succeed. 

Unique in our work is our focus on serving the families of our Achievers; we reach over 400 siblings and caregivers through our family engagement efforts. 

Today, Friends-Boston serves 133 children in over 60 schools throughout Boston. The lifetime retention rate for Achievers is over 80%!