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Cummings Foundation sponsors place-based philanthropy focused on eastern Middlesex, southern Essex, and Suffolk counties, in Massachusetts. Through the $100K for 100 program, it makes grants in roughly the same geographic areas from which CFI and its founders derived their funds in the first place and where most Cummings staff and clients live. Annual awards in the local area will increase to a total of $20 million in 2014.


$20 million in local grants during 2014

Cummings Foundation awarded a total of more than $16 million to suburban Boston nonprofits in 2012 and 2013 combined, through its $100K for 100 grants program. While many of these grants were made as single-year awards, many others had payments spread over multiple years.

The Foundation is delighted to announce that, in 2014 alone, it will award a total of $20 million directly to organizations based in and serving Boston and its northern suburbs. This funding will be made available through two programs. $100K for 100 will again award grants of $100,000 each to 100 local area charities, while an additional $10 million will help to support 10 larger, mostly local, charities with awards averaging $1 million each.

The $100K for 100 grants will be awarded around late May. Then, around October 1 a new program will fund 10 major projects of mostly local charities with grants averaging $1 million each. Proposals for this new program will be accepted by invitation only, as many of these awards will likely build on funding previously provided by the Foundation through the $100K for 100 program.

The Foundation’s largest single commitment to date was $50 million to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additionally, it has recently made very substantial commitments in Rwanda, to work with Partners in Health, Tufts University, and other organizations doing charitable work there. Foundation founders Joyce and Bill Cummings returned to Rwanda in August 2013 for the dedication of the country's first outpatient cancer infusion center, which is located in Butaro, near Rwanda’s northern borders with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


2014 Grant Application Information
$100K for 100

The timeline for the $100K for 100 program begins with the acceptance of Letters of Inquiry in September and runs through the announcement of grant recipients in June, as outlined below. Online Letters of Inquiry will be reviewed as they are received up until the deadline. Organizations with requests that appear to match the Foundation's priorities will be invited to the next stage of the process, which involves completion of a full grant application. The announcement of grantees and the payment of awards conclude the cycle.

January 15, 2014

Letters of Inquiry due

March 7, 2014

Final applications due from invited organizations*

June 2, 2014

Grantee Reception at TradeCenter 128, Woburn.

Although requests are no longer being accepted for the 2014 grant cycle, the 2015 cycle will begin in fall 2014. Please check this web page at that time for updated information and application procedures.

*Nonprofits are encouraged, but not required, to complete a profile on the Giving Common as a complement to their applications. Learn more about this valuable online tool from The Boston Foundation through this online video. Applicants who already have current Giving Common profiles will be given abbreviated applications that do not ask for redundant information.

Priority Funding Area

As a place-based philanthropic initiative, the $100K for 100 annual grants program seeks to support nonprofits in the greater Boston area.  In 2013, approximately 50 percent of grants were awarded in Middlesex County, 30 percent in Suffolk County, and 20 percent in Essex County.  Note: Applicants should not only be based in but also provide the majority of their services in this tri-county area.  For example, a charity that is based in Boston, but has programs in other states or countries will not generally be considered for funding.

In addition, the Foundation may sometimes give special consideration to organizations based in Woburn, MA and the other cities and towns where Cummings Foundation owns its commercial properties. Organizations based elsewhere in greater Boston that propose introducing programming or services in these communities or in their schools may also receive special consideration.

The $100K for 100 program will fund a variety of local causes, including underserved populations, healthcare, social justice, and education.  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.

In addition to the $100K for 100 program, a new initiative will distribute an additional $10 million among 10 mostly local organizations on or about October 1, 2014. Applications for these grants will be accepted by invitation only.


Grant recipients may be eligible to receive additional grants as frequently as one time every three years.  Annual grants to the same (or substantially the same) entity, however, generally will not be considered.

$100K for 100 will not generally consider requests for grants to:

  • Endowments
  • Medical research
  • Scholarship funds
  • Religious endeavors
  • Relatively new entities or initiatives
  • Political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
  • Individuals or debt reduction, no matter how worthy
  • 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 are not financially independent from the larger entity.
  • Organizations that discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, etc.

Meeting Requests

To avoid bias in evaluating grant applications, Cummings Foundation does not conduct site visits or hold informational, relationship-building meetings with organizations. This policy is applied uniformly, so organizations will not be disadvantaged by it. The Foundation's grants committee relies on information provided through the online grant application and its own independent research in determining grant recipients.

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Joel B. Swets, Executive Director

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, and with or without notice.

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