Common Purpose is 30


What will your generation's legacy be?

In 2030, Boston will be 400 years old and looking into its 401st year – how can your generation ensure that we make Boston a city for all?


Boston401 is part of Legacy; a global campaign by Common Purpose, which invests in young people across the world so they can become a connected generation of leaders with a clear vision for what their legacy will be.

If you want to;

Connect with other amazing young leaders across Boston to make a difference in your city.

Access to some of Boston’s senior leaders to have your say on some of Boston’s biggest challenges such as racial and social inequality, housing and equitable opportunities for young people.

Gain skills that will increase your employability and add to your resume.

If so, and you’re 18-25 from the Boston area, apply for this free online program here!

Kenn Elmore, Associate Provost and Dean of Students, Boston University

"Boston is a unique blend of a vibrant and historic city that truly lives up to its Hub nickname – we take the lead in science, politics, social change and innovation, among others. Now it’s time for us to make sure our vibrancy doesn’t grow stale, for our young people to feel that they can be full participants in a city, for us to maintain our status as the world’s hub of knowledge and ideas. The Boston401 program is a new way for us to engage around this charge."

Why Boston401?


Why take part?

Boston401 is your opportunity to come together as a generation and think through what your generation’s legacy will be. As part of a highly diverse group of peers, you will tackle real social challenges facing Boston and develop Cultural Intelligence in the process – the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures. 

What happens on Boston401?

Online over four days, you’ll be part of a group of 150 people in Boston tackling a pressing challenge your city faces: This year’s challenge is: "How will we make Boston a city for all as it enters its 401st year?"

You’ll work together with young people and established leaders across Boston to investigate issues, collaborate, hold difficult conversations and work up ideas. You’ll test, refine and present your ideas to leaders in Boston.

Boston401 is intergenerational, giving you the opportunity to work with a diverse range of established leaders from across the city, who act as group advisors and speakers. The established leaders benefit from seeing the world through your eyes - the next generation.


The application process for Boston401 involves answering three questions about your passion for leadership and your city. These questions can be answered by whichever means feels most comfortable to you, be it written, video submission, a piece of artwork, song or photograph – however you best feel you can express your desire to take responsibility for the legacy of Boston.

Boston401 is a partnership between Boston University and Common Purpose.

Boston401 will be Common Purpose’s second US legacy program. In April 2019, Common Purpose ran Chicago200, partnership with the Chicago Community Trust that asked a similar question of young leaders in the city. We convened an extremely diverse cohort of 18–25 year olds from across the city, for a powerful leadership experience that brought together established leaders with young Chicagoans and challenged them to work together to develop their vision for the city as it turns 200 in 2037.The curriculum also drew on perspectives from across different communities, sectors and generations of Chicago’s leaders, including a diverse range of immersions, from Chicago PD to an urban farm to Groupon. Click here for more information on Chicago200. 

Click here to see other legacy programs around the world.

Frank Lawrence Jr, Participant, Chicago200

"The program provided me with insight into Chicago’s young leaders and how those individuals were impacting change. I grow inspired at the thought of the program and am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate. I believe this will impact Chicago's future in significant ways.”


When? Dates to be announced in 2021

Where? 3.5 hours each day online. All sessions are on Zoom.

Who can apply? Young leaders aged 18–25.

How much does it cost? Boston401 is free.

Volunteer for Boston401

We are looking for leaders from all backgrounds to contribute to Boston401 – sharing their insight and, in the process, seeing their city or country through the eyes of the next generation. We need speakers, panellists, mentors and immersion hosts. If you want to be a contributor, sign up below.