Follow Us on Facebook
Charitable Giving for Underserved New England Non-Profits

About Us: Serving the Underserved

Our Story

The passion behind the Foundation Trust stems from the inter-generational determination of the Founder and Trustees’ families to successfully advance the education opportunities, well-being and societal contributions of their family lines.

Our story begins with their immigration to the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and progression from poor but proud and hard-working laborers and tradespeople determined to provide for their families to accomplished and contributing members of society, including military personnel, government officials, doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers and social service providers.

From this vantage point of overcoming life hardship, it is our desire to foster and promote successful individual, familial and communal well-being and advancement for those contending with significant trauma or adversity as well.

Helping the Underserved

While rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition and heritage, the Foundation Trust is committed to supporting secular as well as faith-based non-profit organizations--organizations serving individuals and communities of all backgrounds.  We have a particular mission to help those who encounter disproportionate risk, or denial of opportunities as a function of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, religious affiliation, physical impairment, or other target of overt or covert social oppression.

Our Founder

Dante Dieso (1918-2017)

The Founder of the Foundation Trust, Dante Dieso, was born to Italian immigrant parents in Revere Massachusetts. As a young man, Dante completed Air Corps Technical School as a member of the Academy of Aeronautics. He served three years in the United States Air Force including two years stationed in the Southwest Pacific.
Upon returning stateside, Dante attended the College of Business Administration at Boston University. Mr. Dieso was subsequently employed with the United States Treasury Department for over 20 years. There he served as a project chief, advisor and supervisor. Dante Dieso received a Special Service Award from the Department of Treasury in 1968, and was a lifelong member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Dante Dieso died on July 23, 2017. He was 99 years old.

Foundation Directors

Executive Director:  Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D.

Dr. Joseph Spinazzola is a nationally recognized expert in the area of traumatic stress. A licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice, Dr. Spinazzola received his doctoral degree from Duke University, and his bachelor’s degree from Yale. Dr. Spinazzola is an accomplished clinical researcher and scholar who specializes in diagnosis, assessment and treatment of complex traumatic stress in children and adults, trauma-informed care, and youth violence prevention. He trains multidisciplinary providers nationally and internationally on these topics. Dr. Spinazzola has led numerous organizational, regional and statewide trauma-informed systems change initiatives. He is the author of over 60 peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles and book chapters, as well as numerous other treatment manuals, webinars, training videos, expert guidelines, fact sheets, and white papers in his areas of expertise.  Dr. Spinazzola has extensive experience with nonprofit grant development, procurement and management, and has served as a principal investigator, co-director or project manager for over two dozen federal, state and foundation grants spanning clinical research, national training and technical assistance, resource development, and social services provision.  As Executive Director of the Trauma Center and Vice President of JRI,  a large New-England based social service agency, Dr. Spinazzola was largely responsible for transforming a prestigious but financially vulnerable program into a thriving multisite division with a thirty-fold increase in fiscal reserves. Dr. Spinazzola brings this wealth of expertise to Foundation Trust. He is responsible for management and oversight of philanthropic grantmaking, training and resource development for the Foundation’s four priority tracks.


Director of Development:  Janelle Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr. Janelle Johnson is a research scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She received her doctoral degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. Dr. Johnson has over a decade of research experience in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal   muscle wasting disease affecting young boys. Her current research is aimed at identifying novel therapeutic strategies to treat the disease, and she has published over a dozen peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, protocols, and book chapters related to muscle biology and muscular dystrophy. Dr. Johnson has procured grant funding from federal, private, and nonprofit organizations towards her research, and has instructed and mentored dozens of future physicians and scientists in the classroom and in the laboratory. As Director of Development, she will extend her humanitarian efforts to advancing the mission of the Foundation Trust.


Our Mission: Turning the Tide for Children, Families & Communities

Leaving behind no children or heirs, Mr. Dieso's passion in establishing a charitable foundation was to help turn the tide for children, families and communities impacted by life adversity, violence, illness, discrimination and other disadvantage. It was his particular wish to direct his legacy toward "filling the gaps" left by larger foundations. In honor of this commitment, it is our mission at the Foundation Trust to direct our philanthropic efforts toward bolstering and augmenting important local and regional work being conducted by meritorious small and medium sized non-profit organizations.
Dante Dieso with fellow Academy of Aeronautics classmates
Nils A. Anderson, Bob Bacon, Thomas D. Bennett, John Bezdek, London H. Billado, Emmett C. Chaffe, Dante Dieso, Buford Durden, George E. Duychak, James E. Ennis, Frank J. Ertolacci, Ralph D. Giovanniello, Jim Goodrich, David L. Goodwin, Ray Hanor, Stanley J. Hardyman, Bob Hefley, Jake S. Hofner, Earl R. Kohler, Marcellus A. Lampe, Herschel McPheron, Bob Schway, Ted Selerski, James A. Speer, Vincent Stalher, Alan Stillings, Gene J. Vinci

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new articles by email.


Dante Dieso Foundation Trust
P. O. Box 760995
Melrose, MA 02176
%d bloggers like this: