Cummings Foundation expands annual grant program to $30M

Freedom House in Dorchester was one of 140 nonprofits that received a Cummings Foundation grant in May. With its new grant cycle, the Cummings Foundation is expanding its grant allocation from $25 million to $30 million and support 150 organizations. Pictured from left are Halyne Daveiga, Telma Correia, Walter De Pina, and Neidy Gomes.

June 29, 2022 ­— Cummings Foundation’s annual $30 Million Grant Program will begin accepting letters of inquiry from local nonprofits on July 1. The initiative will support 150 organizations — 10 more than in prior years — based in and primarily serving Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties in Massachusetts.

The total amount to be awarded exceeds the most recent grant cycle by $5 million. Previously, first-time grantees could receive up to $100,000 each and prior grant winners up to $500,000. Those maximums have grown to $300,000 and $1 million, respectively.

“The foundation recognizes the new challenges that face local nonprofits,” Dennis Clarke, Cummings Properties’ chairman and CEO, said. “Between the costs of inflation and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they are being asked to do more with less. We increased our giving to help bridge that gap.”

Another change is that K-12 schools from throughout the tri-county area, minus those that charge significant tuition, will now be considered for funding. Given the vast number of schools in Greater Boston, each district will be limited to one submission.

Through the new grant cycle, 125 organizations will receive three-year grants and 25 applicants will be awarded a full decade of funding.

Letters of inquiry open on July 1. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Sept. 9. A limited number of applicants will then be invited in November to submit a full application.

Following a comprehensive 10-month screening process involving roughly 80 volunteers and four different review stages, the winners will be announced in May 2023. During its last cycle, the foundation received nearly 600 requests for 140 awards.

“Rather than using the traditional approach of having a small number of staff or trustees determine grant winners, we empower dozens of volunteers to make the majority of these decisions,” said Joyce Vyriotes, executive director of Cummings Foundation. “This ensures a much more equitable selection process. Our foundation deeply appreciates the diversity and expertise within the Greater Boston region.”

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program eligibility requirements, timeline, and FAQs, as well as a link to submit a letter of inquiry, can be found at CummingsFoundation.org/grants.

Cummings Foundation has awarded more than $375 million overall to Greater Boston nonprofits.

One of New England’s largest private foundations, Cummings Foundation endeavors to recognize and aid organizations in the communities where it owns commercial buildings. The buildings are managed on a pro bono basis by affiliate Cummings Properties.

Cummings Properties was founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester. The Woburn-based commercial real estate business leases and manages 11 million square feet of space without any debt. Most of the property exclusively benefits the Foundation, with 100 percent of rental income going to charitable causes.