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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, The Foundation's affiliate, OneWorld Boston, makes grants in roughly the same geographic areas as those from which CFI and its founders originally derived their funds. Annual awards in the local area will total at least $20 million in each of 2014 and 2015. The Foundation's recent grants and commitments well exceed $100 million.


$38 million in total grants during 2014 alone

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 some of these grants were made as single-year awards of $100,000, most had payments spread over two to 10 years, depending on the size and needs of the organization.

The Foundation is delighted to announce that, in 2014 alone, it will award a total of $38 million to organizations based in and serving Boston and its northern suburbs $20 million of this will be local funding made available through two programs. In late May,$100K for 100 again awarded grants of $100,000 each to 100 local area charities, while an additional $10 million will be divided in October among eight or nine mostly local nonprofits, to assist with larger projects or needs.

Proposals for these larger grants 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. In its largest single 2014 grant it committed $15 million to Dr. Paul Farmer through Partners in Health for the first phase of a major new health sciences university in Rwanda.

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 to work with Tufts University, and other organizations doing charitable work in Rwanda. 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. Their third trip there is excpected in early 2016.


Application Information for $100K for 100 Grants

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, as outlined below. 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.

Organizations with requests that appear to match the Foundation's priorities will be invited to complete a full grant application. The announcement of grantees and the payment of awards conclude the cycle.

September 10

Rolling reviews of Letters of Inquiry begin

January 10

Deadline for submitting Letters of Inquiry*
(earlier submissions are strongly encouraged)

March 10

Deadline for invited nonprofits to submit final applications**

May 10

Mailing of grant approval and decline letters

Early June

Grantee Reception at TradeCenter 128, Woburn

Cummings Foundation will begin accepting Letters of Inquiry in June 2015 for the 2016 grant cycle.

*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 add cpcom@cummings.com to their address books, and to check their spam folders regularly.

**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. (Cummings Foundation, Inc. is pleased to support this innovative tool, but Cummings Foundation is in no way affiliated with The Boston Foundation.)

Priority Funding Area

The $100K for 100 program seeks to support nonprofits in eastern Middlesex, southern Essex, and Suffolk counties in Massachusetts. Note: 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.

Middlesex County

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.

Essex County

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.

Suffolk County

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. Additionally, animal welfare organizations are not typically considered for these grants, as the Foundation already supports animals in a significant way through the ongoing fulfillment of a $50 million commitment to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

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:

  • Endowments
  • 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.

Meeting Requests

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 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.

Contact Us

Joel B. Swets, Executive Director

Joyce Vyriotes, Communications 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.


Summary of
Grant Programs
Grant Information
Selection Committee Guidelines
Contact Us
Foundation News