Community-based Grant-maker Partnerships

Community-based Grant-maker Partnerships

Amid ongoing national discourse about great wealth being concentrated among a relative few—and debates about whether philanthropy has an outsized influence—Cummings Foundation continues its focus on democratizing philanthropy. Eschewing the traditional model of a large staff of program officers making recommendations to a small group of decision makers, Joyce and Bill Cummings have empowered more than 150 volunteers to determine the majority of the recipients of the grants awarded through the Cummings $30 Million Grant Program.

In addition to delegating decision-making authority to hundreds of community volunteers, Cummings Foundation equally recognizes the value of community-based grant-making organizations that hold deep knowledge, connections, networks, and expertise in local communities or specific issue areas. These entities raise and redistribute resources for small, grassroots organizations or provide assistance even when it goes directly to individuals and families.

The Foundation is delighted to support such intermediary groups to extend the reach and impact of its funds. With knowledge and relationships beyond those of Cummings Foundation, these community-based grant-makers are uniquely capable of deploying funds where they are most needed. This approach furthers the Foundation’s goal to democratize philanthropy.

There is no separate grants program for these types of partnerships, however, public charities that have 501(c)3 status and raise funds to then disburse to other nonprofits or individuals are eligible for consideration through the Cummings $30 Million Grant Program. Such grant-makers will be expected to demonstrate expertise and due diligence in their processes to select and maintain relationships with sub-grantees.

Below are Cummings Foundation’s past and current funding partnerships with community-based grant-makers.

(Note: The amounts below may represent multiple grants.)

Beverly Education Foundation ($415,000)

To support teachers with grants and on-going professional development and to increase parental connection and involvement in children’s education.

The Boston Foundation ($1,102,000)

To provide funding and coordination support to local nonprofits participating in sponsored initiatives and programs.

Cancer Resource Foundation ($100,000)

To provide co-pay assistance cards for non-pharmaceutical medical out of pocket expenses for those in cancer care.

Catholic School Foundation ($100,000)

To provide financial assistance to Boston area students of all faiths attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools, helping to ensure the accessibility of a quality education.

Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism ($100,000)

To provide direct financial assistance for families to access innovative and responsive programming for people with autism.

En Ka Society ($548,000)

To raise funds and support projects in the town of Winchester that address the needs of students and youth, the elderly, those living with developmental and physical disabilities, and nonprofit organizations devoted to providing community enrichment, health improvement, and social services.

Essex County Community Foundation ($550,000)

To provide funding and coordination support to local nonprofits participating in sponsored initiatives and programs.

Greater Grove Hall Main Streets ($121,000)

To provide critical support to Grove Hall neighborhood organizations enabling projects that promote community engagement, stimulate economic development, and help to leverage other sources of funding.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation ($100,000)

To support local organizations with grants via the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Massachusetts Wonderfund ($600,000)

To provide enrichment opportunities and basic essentials to children involved with the MA Department of Children & Families.

Peter Frates Family Foundation ($100,000)

To assist progressed ALS patients and their families with the overwhelming cost of home health care.

The Lenny Zakim Fund ($100,000)

To support the growth and sustainability of local grassroots organizations through coaching/counselling, technical training, networking, publicity, pro-bono legal assistance, and financial resources.

Middlesex County Foundation ($100,000)

To support community grants targeted at COVID-19 recovery assistance and outreach expansion.

Mill Cities Community Investments ($1,100,000)

To provide Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses with access to the intensive strategic advisory support and capital needed to navigate the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and to ultimately thrive and grow.

One Can Help ($282,000)

To provide DCF and/or juvenile court involved youth and families with the resources and basic need items required to alleviate court concerns and build stronger futures.

Stoneham Business & Community Educational Foundation ($30,000)

To provide community grants to Stoneham Public Schools and other local nonprofit organizations.

Tufts Community Grants Program (101,466)

To support nonprofits in Tufts host communities of Boston, Grafton, Medford and Somerville, funded mostly by donations from Tufts University faculty and staff through the internal Tufts Community Appeal.

United Way of MA Bay and Merrimack Valley ($210,000)

To provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help meet the basic needs of working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Wakefield Educational Foundation ($205,000)

To expand existing mental health support initiatives to create a comprehensive, multi-tiered program to address the rise in behavioral health issues for K-12 students by providing awards to schools in the Wakefield Public Schools district.

Women’s Fund of Essex County ($210,000)

To raise funds and award grants to nonprofit organizations focused on gender-specific programs and services for at-risk women and girls, or those who identify as women and girls, of Essex County.