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Logo for the Waltham Community Foundation
Community Foundation

P.O. Box 52, Waltham, MA 02454


The old expression says that “Charity Begins at Home.” Waltham has been home to hundreds of thousands of people since its founding and has a wonderful history of taking care of its own. The Waltham Community Foundation has played a huge part.

The Waltham Community Foundation exists to encourage philanthropy in order to provide a source of funding for opportunities to improve quality of life, strengthen the sense of community and benefit future generations in Waltham. We are a volunteer based organization with a common affection for the City of Waltham. The Waltham Community Foundation is particularity interested in funding homelessness, youth development, family services, and the visually impaired.

Waltham seal

1912 report


The WCF is more than a hundred years old, celebrating its Centennial in 2012. In the Spring of 1912, around the time the Titanic sunk and Fenway Park, opened the first meeting was held of the Waltham Social Service Committee, which is the predecessor of the Waltham Community Foundation.

In accord with the progressive spirit of the time, to assist the working man, Mrs. A. Lyman, the wealthiest landowner at the time, assembled a small committee in the interest of the movement for the establishment of some sort of ‘social service’ work in Waltham. The group voted to be known as the Waltham Social Service Committee. Supporters of the organization included prominent local families such as the Lymans who provide support during times of depression and strife. The first meeting of the Waltham Social Service Committee (now Waltham Community Foundation) was held and embraced the progressive spirt of the time to assist the working man.

The Waltham Community Foundation was started to help families in need. Waltham is a nurturing community with a history of taking care of its people. Today this continues as we provide support to local charitable organizations with the primary benefit of the community of Waltham.

The Foundation was started at first to “rehabilitate families who are liable to become dependent” and to try and remove any preventable cause of “misery and dependency” to families. Mrs. Arthur Lyman, certainly the wealthiest landowner in Waltham was a driving force behind the genesis of the organization. Mrs. Lyman’s family actually owned more than one-quarter of all the land in Waltham.

At 1932, in the height of the Great Depression, the Lyman family made 20 acres of land available for struggling families to grow food. The Board of Directors of the Foundation has always been comprised of a cross section of unpaid volunteers from the fields of education, medicine, law, the ministry, banking and business.

The organization has undergone significant changes at various times, including a new constitution in 1955. In 1971 the new entity was formed. Since that time the Foundation has dealt more with charitable organizations, focusing almost exclusively on making grants to such groups located in Waltham. The group continues to encourage donations, particularly by bequest in estate plans.

Some of the organizations that the Foundation still supports are The Waltham Boys and Girl Clubs, The Salvation Army, Waltham Youth Basketball, The Charles River Museum and the Waltham Museum, the Hillel Foundation at Brandeis, GWARC and many similar organizations.

Board of Directors

Officers for 2017:
Position Name
President Michele Daly
Vice President Bill VanderClock
Treasurer Fred Wilder III
Secretary Valerie Randall


2020 Grant Application
In 2016 the WCF gave 24 Waltham organizations a total of over $10,000 to do good things for Waltham.

Organizations like;
  1. The Waltham Historical Society
  2. Healthy Waltham
  3. Chesterbrook Community Foundation
  4. Gore Place
  5. REACH