The Philanthropy Power Players Behind One Fund Boston

Crowd-sourcing and business leaders are driving an epic fundraising campaign.

Photo via the City of Boston

Photo via the City of Boston

Last Tuesday, just a day after the Boston Marathon bombings, Deval Patrick and Tom Menino announced the creation of The One Fund Boston. The goal: Raise money for the families affected behind behind the attacks. Yesterday, just a week later, the campaign hit a stunning $20 million.

How’d they raise so much money so quickly? As of now, more than $6.3 million has been donated by the public, tapping the widespread desire of individuals both locally and nationally to give. And an impressive $14.8 million has come from corporate donations, including $1 million donations from John Hancock, AT&T, Bain Capital, Partners Healthcare, New Balance, and Liberty Mutual.

Corporations like to give to campaigns like One Fund, but the donations still often require someone important making a phone call. Thanks to a press release from Patrick and Menino last week, we can see who’s likely making those calls: Jack Connors, John Fish (Suffolk Construction), Brian Moynihan (Bank of America), Paul Grogan (Boston Foundation), Steve Pagliuca (Bain Capital/Celtics), Larry Lucchino (Red Sox), and Mike Sheehan and Karen Kaplan (both of Hill Holliday).

All are important players. But the very first two speak volumes about the muscle behind the campaign: Connors and Fish are two of the very first people the mayor goes to when he wants to get a philanthropic project done.

For example: When Menino decided he wanted to start a summer camp for disadvantaged youth in 2007, he reached out to Hill Holliday founder Connors, a longtime proponent of education, to lead the campaign. To date, Connors has overseen $45 million in fundraising, building a camp in the Harbor that now serves 800 kids between 11 and 14 years old on Long Island. ( Connors was also a longtime board chair at Partners HealthCare, which is one of those $1 million corporate donors.)

Camp Harbor View, naturally, is run in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston—a nonprofit that Fish happens to be on the board of—and was built by Fish’s Suffolk Construction. (To add to the intersection of power: the Boys & Girls Club is run by Josh Kraft, son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft). Beyond Fish’s work with the Boys & Girls Club and Camp Harbor View, he was also the guy that Menino tapped in 2009 to oversee the Boston Scholar Athletes program, another of the mayor’s pet projects that offers tutoring and support to high school athletes.

This is why Connors (#2) and Fish (#6) ranked so high on our list of the 25 most influential people in Boston philanthropy and why Menino tapped them to help lead the campaign—they’re both wired in the business community and know how to raise money, quickly.