Our Mission: Turning the Tide for Children, Families & Communities
In supporting the important work of small to medium-sized nonprofits in Greater Boston that larger charitable organizations may overlook, the Foundation Trust is impassioned to help individuals, families, and communities overcome adversity.
Through a unique combination of philanthropy, grantmaking, educational resource development, scholarships and emergency assistance, our mission is to enhance individual well-being and community development in the Greater Boston area. Focusing on four program areas, the Foundation Trust is driven to help those facing disproportionate risk or denial of opportunities based on factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, religious affiliation, or physical impairment. Likewise, we support artistic and cultural initiatives that advance inclusivity, diversity, and the expression and unification of distinct voices and perspectives.
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The passion behind the Foundation Trust stems from the inter-generational determination of the Founder and Trustees’ families to successfully advance the education opportunities, well-being and societal contributions of their family lines.
Our story begins with their immigration to the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and progression from poor but proud and hard-working laborers and tradespeople determined to provide for their families to accomplished and contributing members of society, including military personnel, government officials, doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers and social service providers.
From this vantage point of overcoming life hardship, it is our desire to foster and promote successful individual, familial and communal well-being and advancement for those contending with significant trauma or adversity.
Dante Dieso (1918-2017)
Executive Director: Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D.
Dr. Joseph Spinazzola is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of traumatic stress. A licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Spinazzola is managing director of the Complex Trauma Institute. He received his doctoral degree from Duke University and his bachelor’s degree from Yale University. Dr. Spinazzola is an accomplished clinical researcher and scholar who specializes in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of complex traumatic stress in children and adults, trauma-informed care and systems transformation, and youth violence prevention. He provides training and consultation to multidisciplinary providers and organizations worldwide on these topics. He is the author of over 60 peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles and book chapters, as well as numerous treatment manuals, webinars, expert guidelines and other resources in his areas of expertise. Dr. Spinazzola has over three decades of nonprofit management experience across the social services care continuum, including extensive command of nonprofit grant development, procurement, and administration. He has served as principal investigator, director, or project manager for over two dozen federal, state, and foundation grants. In his prior role as vice president of a large New England-based social service agency, Dr. Spinazzola was responsible for transforming a prestigious but financially vulnerable program into a thriving multi-site, multi-program division with a thirtyfold increase in fiscal reserves. Dr. Spinazzola brings his wealth of expertise to bear on his leadership of the Foundation Trust, where he oversees philanthropic grantmaking, training, resource development, and creation of new programs and initiatives in partnership with local nonprofits.
Director of Development: Janelle Johnson, Ph.D.
Dr. Janelle Johnson is a research scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She received her doctoral degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. Dr. Johnson has over a decade of research experience in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal muscle wasting disease affecting young boys. Her current research is aimed at identifying novel therapeutic strategies to treat the disease, and she has published over a dozen peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, protocols, and book chapters related to muscle biology and muscular dystrophy. Dr. Johnson has procured grant funding from federal, private, and nonprofit organizations towards her research, and has instructed and mentored dozens of future physicians and scientists in the classroom and in the laboratory. As Director of Development, she will extend her humanitarian efforts to advancing the mission of the Foundation Trust.
Manager: Lauren Liecau
Lauren Liecau joined the Foundation Trust in 2019, bringing over a decade of communications and program experience with local, national, and international nonprofit organizations. Lauren received her Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and her undergraduate degree from Colorado College. As Manager at the Foundation Trust, she draws upon her diverse experience as she spreads the word about the Foundation Trust’s work and grant opportunities, and works closely with community partners.