$100K for 100 Grant Program
Cummings Foundation awards $10 million each year through its $100K for 100 grant program. This place-based philanthropic initiative primarily supports nonprofits in the Massachusetts counties where the Foundation and its founders originally derived their funds and where staff and clients of the Cummings organization live – eastern Middlesex, southern Essex, and Suffolk County.
Begun in 2012 as a pilot program with 60 grants, $100K for 100 has since announced 100 grants of $100,000 each, annually. Most grants are disbursed over two to five years, depending on the size and needs of the organization. Through $100K for 100 and its other grant programs, the Foundation has made recent contributions and commitments well exceeding $100 million.
How to Apply
Each year, as outlined below, the timeline for the $100K
for 100 program begins with the review of Letters of
Inquiry in September and runs through the announcement of grant recipients
in June. Organizations with Letters of Inquiry that appear to match the
Foundation's priorities will be invited to complete full grant applications.
Organizations should submit no more than one Letter of Inquiry per grant
cycle. Accordingly, larger institutions, such as colleges and hospitals,
are urged to coordinate among departments before submitting any requests.
Rolling reviews of Letters of Inquiry begin
Deadline for submitting Letters of Inquiry*
Deadline for invited nonprofits to submit final applications
Mailing of grant approval and decline letters
Grantee Reception at TradeCenter 128, Woburn
*Important notices about Letters of Inquiry and applications are sent via email. To decrease the likelihood of missing such an email, applicants are encouraged to check their spam folders regularly.
Priority Funding Area
The $100K for 100 program seeks to support nonprofits in eastern Middlesex, southern Essex, and Suffolk counties in Massachusetts. Applicants should not only be based in but also provide at least 80 percent of their services in this tri-county area. A charity that is based in Boston, but has programs in other states or countries will not generally be considered for funding.
Priority is given to cities and towns where the Cummings organization operates commercial real estate, and where many of its staff members and clients live. The Foundation may sometimes give special consideration to organizations based elsewhere in the tri-county area that propose introducing programming or services in these communities.
With Woburn as its home since its establishment, the Cummings organization has many strong ties to eastern Middlesex County. Given the large number of cities and towns within this county, the Foundation has further prioritized the area, as shown on the map below. The highest priority areas are home to commercial buildings owned by Cummings Foundation, with all rental profits benefiting charitable causes.
The Cummings organization entered Essex County in 1996 with its purchase of Beverly's former United Shoe Machinery Corporation site, which is now the thriving Cummings Center office and technology park. The Foundation is pleased to support charitable causes in Beverly and the surrounding area, especially in the nearby cities and towns where many of its employees and clients live, as well as to several organizations helping underserved people in Lynn and Lawrence.
Although priority is given to suburban organizations, Cummings Foundation recognizes that there are great needs, as well as very effective nonprofits, in nearby Suffolk County. Precedence is typically given to charities that assist underserved populations.
Priority Funding Areas — Causes
The $100K for 100 program will fund a variety of local causes, especially including human services, education, healthcare, and social justice. While not in any way minimizing the value or importance of arts, cultural, and athletic organizations, these areas are not among this program's priorities.
To ensure that funds benefit a wide variety of causes, the Foundation limits the number of grants awarded each year to independent organizations affiliated with the same national organization (e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA).
Grant recipients may be eligible to receive additional grants as frequently as one time every three years, provided all previously awarded grants have been fulfilled. Annual grants to the same (or substantially the same) entity generally will not be considered.
$100K for 100 will not generally consider requests for:
- Medical research
- Scholarship funds
- Relatively new entities or initiatives
- Political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
- Primary and secondary schools that charge tuition
- Individuals or debt reduction, no matter how worthy
- Religious endeavors, including faith-based schools
- Organizations that do not regularly file IRS Form 990
- Major capital campaigns, unless very near completion
- Very large organizations already supported by robust endowments
- Organizations with the primary purpose of raising funds to distribute to other organizations
- Organizations that do not have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code
- National or regional organizations, or local branches thereof that do not have an EIN separate from that of the larger entity
- Organizations that discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, etc.
To avoid bias in evaluating grant applications, Cummings Foundation does not typically conduct site visits or hold informational, relationship-building meetings. This policy is applied uniformly, so organizations will not be disadvantaged by it. Notwithstanding this policy, some members of the volunteer selection committees who make the final decisions concerning the majority of grant awards may independently request more information from specific applicants, or in some cases, conduct site visits. When site visits are conducted, they are most often made without prior announcement.
Joel B. Swets, Executive Director
Joyce Vyriotes, Communications Director
Julie DeSilva, Communications Specialist
Cummings Foundation reserves the right to modify, add to, amend, or eliminate any of its eligibility requirements, priority funding areas, or policies at any time, with or without notice.