The Boston Globe | Rappaport Foundation Makes $400,000 Matching Challenge Grant for Equalizer Institute

Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Joins Equalizer Institute Project as Advisor

Just in time for the third movie in the Equalizer series, featuring Denzel Washington as a Boston-based crusader for justice, comes good news for our city’s “other” Equalizer: New England Legal Foundation president Dan Winslow.

Winslow just landed a big matching grant from the Rappaport Foundation that all but assures he will be able to achieve his dream in 2024 of opening what he calls the Equalizer Institute, a legal clinic for underrepresented entrepreneurs to help them get their startups up and running. Meanwhile, former governor Deval Patrick, a lawyer with considerable business experience, has volunteered to be an adviser for the project.

Earlier this year, the Cummings Foundation awarded $225,000 over three years to Winslow’s nonprofit. Now, the Rappaport Foundation has kicked in $400,000 over two years, so long as Winslow can match the money. Assuming he does, Winslow will be just shy of the $600,000 he needs to fund the legal clinic for its first year. The money will go toward four lawyers who separately specialize in finance and transactions, real estate, intellectual property, and employment, plus a paralegal. They’ll be based at NELF’s office in downtown Boston. Winslow says “we’re absolutely going to get this done in 2024 based on the current interest and funding.”

The name, of course, has nothing to do with the movie series, or the TV show that preceded it. Instead, Winslow said the clinic’s mission is to “level the playing field, or equalize opportunity, for underserved entrepreneurs to get their new businesses started.” But the “Leveler Institute” didn’t have quite the same ring to it.

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