Our History

TSNE MissionWorks

60 years of partnership

Over the last six decades, TSNE MissionWorks has seen a few name changes, but our commitment to being a trusted partner with the people and organizations in the nonprofit sector has remained a constant from day one. Our new name aligns our well-known programs and services with the goal of building the leadership and effectiveness of the mission-driven organizations we serve—in New England and across the country. We are partners in social change, dedicated to helping organizations thrive.

Where We Started

Massachusetts Health Research Institute (MHRI, 1959)

Founded by leaders from government and academia nearly 60 years ago, MHRI began as a fiscal sponsor for public and community health research and demonstration projects in Massachusetts. Through this work, we recognized the need that many organizations had to create a solid financial and administrative foundation so they could focus on achieving their mission.

Today, fiscal sponsorship continues to be the most recognized service we offer. We now partner with 88 nonprofit groups across the country, stewarding $36 million in financial resources, and managing compensation and benefits for 470 employees in 27 states—with those numbers continuing to grow.

Where We’ve Been

Third Sector New England

In the late 1990s, we reinvented ourselves by expanding our mission beyond public health projects to encompass more of the nonprofit sector—and that’s when we became Third Sector New England. During that time, we:

  • Developed more capacity building services for nonprofits, expanded our fiscal sponsorship practice, launched one of the region’s longest standing training programs for nonprofit professionals and, in 2007, began offering executive transition consulting services, becoming the largest provider of executive transitions in New England.
  • Entered into grantmaking to further our capacity building efforts through the Diversity Initiative in 2001 which focused on building diversity in staff and boards; and in 2004, we began the Capacity Building Fund which supported networks of nonprofits committed to social change.
  • Acquired the New England Nonprofit Quarterly, which soon became the Nonprofit Quarterly, a mainstay of the national nonprofit infrastructure that spun off from Third Sector New England in 2006.

What’s Next

The NonProfit Center, TSNE MissionWorks and Beyond

Our experience launching new programs and projects led to the creation of new collaborative spaces, networks, resources, and the ongoing growth and development of programs that continue to support innovation in the nonprofit sector.

Innovating through collaboration

In 2004, TSNE MissionWorks opened the NonProfit Center in Boston, a 110,000 s.f. building designed to provide rentable office and meeting space for nonprofits. In addition to being a home base to nearly 50 organizations, the NonProfit Center encourages collaboration among its tenants. The building is a mainstay in Boston that features a new, state-of-the-art conference center for nonprofit and community gatherings.

We are also a co-founder and active member of several professional networks aimed at advancing the work of the nonprofit sector, including the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, The Nonprofit Centers Network, and the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors.

Innovating through research

At TSNE MissionWorks, we keep our pulse on trends in the field to discover new ways to strengthen the nonprofits, communities, foundations, and people we serve. Our original research projects have been widely reviewed and shared with the sector including: Valuing Our Nonprofit Workforce compensation studies (2017, 2014 and 2010), Opportunity in Change (2017, with The Boston Foundation), Leadership New England study (2015), Funding Learning Networks for Community Impact (2013), Inclusion Initiative report (2013), Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Diversity in the Workplace (2010), Creative Disruption a sabbatical study (2009), and the Executive Directors Guide (2002, 2010, new edition coming in 2018).

Innovating through programs and partnerships

Today, TSNE MissionWorks offers our programs and resources for an ever-increasing network of nonprofits, helping organizations strengthen their operations, live out their values, discover new opportunities, collaborate, learn and thrive.

We continue to evolve our services in fiscal sponsorship, human resources consulting, executive search and transitions, and leadership and management training for nonprofit professionals. Our commitment to community-based organizations through grants and other impact investments continues. Since we began grant-making nearly two decades ago, we have distributed over $6.3 million in funds supporting collaborations, networks, organizations and individuals working toward racial and economic equity.

Our ongoing partnerships with foundations, service providers, community groups, nonprofits and thought leaders in the sector provide opportunities for constant reflection and learning – strengthening our programs and services.

As we look to the future, our goals are to continue to deepen our partnerships, expand our programs and resources, evolve to meet the needs of a rapidly changing nonprofit landscape, and achieve excellence in the services we offer to hundreds of mission-driven organizations every year, so together we can create a more just and democratic society.