Donors play a crucial role in supporting the School's mission, helping to bridge the gap between tuition income and the cost of running a preeminent learning institution.

Every gift matters, and helps make a difference to our community. As a donor, you help provide students with greater access to financial aid and help enrich their educational experience. More than 50% of students receive some form of financial aid directly from the School, while small-value, secondary grants allow students to participate in exhibitions, conferences, and other off-site experiences. Donors also ensure our facility, from its workspaces to its classrooms, offers an enhanced learning environment for students.

Meet Colleen Walsh Powell, our new Director of Development.

Ways to Give

Annual Fund

The Annual Fund is the cornerstone of philanthropic support at NBSS. It makes a direct, positive impact on our students’ educational experience. The Fund supports the School’s daily operations and allows us to continue meeting our high standards of excellence even as we grow.

Annual Fund gifts go to work immediately:

  • Providing scholarships to students
  • Supplying instructors with tools and materials
  • Supporting efforts to promote public awareness and appreciation of traditional craftsmanship
  • Reducing our reliance on tuition revenue, therefore keeping tuition rates as low as possible

Shaw Society: Donors of $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund are recognized among our most generous donors as a member of the Shaw Society. Click here for benefits and more information.

In addition to financial support, we also welcome objects, real estate, and securities as gifts to our Annual Fund. For more information, please contact our Development Office.


Donating to a scholarship fund is one of the most direct ways you can make a difference at NBSS. These endowed, private funds help close the gap between financial aid and tuition, ensuring that everyone has equal access to education.

Through the generous support of donors, more than $300,000 in scholarship grants have been awarded to students enrolled in the 2014-2015 school year. There are two scholarship funds to which you can contribute:


Gifts to the President’s Scholarship Fund go toward scholarship grants for incoming students in the following year. One hundred percent of the gift is given to students who meet the criteria. Current use gifts can go toward a specific program, or you can leave the decision up to the School.


We established the Walter McDonald Scholarship Fund in 2007. The Fund is named after our long-time Associate Director, Walter McDonald, who over 35 years transformed NBSS from a local trade school into a nationally-recognized institution for craftsmanship and fine trades. Since 2007, we’ve raised more than $700,000, including a significant matching gift from a generous anonymous foundation. Today, the Fund stands at more than $1.2 million.

Legacy Giving

A legacy gift is an investment in craftsmanship and our history. It ensures that our School’s educational programs continue to thrive.

Providing for NBSS in your will is one of the simplest ways to support the School’s future. You’ll have the flexibility to amend or update your plans if your circumstances change. There are several ways to make a bequest:

  • You can bequeath certain assets, a specific dollar amount, or a fraction or percentage of your estate.
  • A bequest may be unrestricted, meaning the property can be used in whole or part for charitable purposes as determined by the Board of Directors.
  • Or, the bequest may be left unrestricted as an endowment gift. This means that the principal will be added and held with the endowment. The School may use any income the endowment generates for charitable purposes.
  • Lastly, a bequest may also be a restricted endowment gift. The principal is held with the endowment, and any income it generates will be used for a specific purpose, such as scholarship assistance. You should describe the purpose of your gift as broadly as possible.

You'll find some recommended language for a variety of bequests here. Please contact our Development Office before making a legacy gift to ensure correct wording.

Lives & Livelihoods Scholarship Campaign

The Lives & Livelihoods Campaign goal was to triple the current budget for financial assistance provided to our students, allowing the School to award over $1 million in scholarships each year.

Click here for more details on how we exceeded our ambitious goal by building an endowment of over $20 million.

In-Kind Donations

We receive many offers of in-kind gifts of tools, books, machinery, raw materials, workbenches, pianos, jewelry, computers, and more. Each potential donation is given careful consideration by our faculty and staff to ensure that any object accepted by the School can be responsibly used to fulfill our educational mission.

If you are interested in making a gift of tangible property to NBSS, please fill out this form.

Please note we rarely accept gifts of furniture or upright pianos, and we cannot accept hazardous materials or wood from downed trees.

We're recognized as an Accredited Charity by the Better Business Bureau, having met all 20 standards of ethical business practices.

We believe in transparency, and that all donors should have access to information about the School, their gift, and any other relevant information. We support the Donor Bill of Rights, and our Annual Report provides a full listing of all NBSS income and expenses.

Contact the Development Department

Colleen Walsh Powell, Director of Development | 617-227-0155 x170

Melissa Gallin, Director of Institutional Support | 617-227-0155 x175

Nicki Downer, Development Coordinator | 617-227-0155 x172