Cummings $30 Million Grant Program

Local Grant Program

Cummings Foundation has awarded more than $375 million to date in greater Boston. In 2023, it will increase the funding awarded through its annual grant program from $25 million to $30 million. These funds will be shared by 150 local-area nonprofits and will be awarded as multi-year grants, to be paid over either three or 10 years.

$30 million equation

Before beginning a proposal, please carefully review the information below. It may be helpful to pay particular attention to the changes for the 2023 grant cycle.

Merrimack Valley Dream Center
Emmanuel College

How to Apply

All applications begin with a simple letter of inquiry, accepted via an online portal only. The current grant cycle LOI window is closed.

Please check back July 1 for a link to the letter of inquiry.

2022-2023 Application Process and Timeline

July 1
Letter of inquiry opens

Preview this year's LOI

LOIs are accepted via the online portal only. Organizations should submit no more than one LOI per grant cycle. Accordingly, larger institutions, such as colleges, school districts, and hospitals, are urged to coordinate among departments before submitting any requests.

All LOIs should be written with a three-year grant in mind. Prior Cummings grant winners will automatically be considered for 10-year awards after the 150 winners have been determined.


September 9, 5 PM
Letter of inquiry closes

Foundation staff will be available to answer questions up until the deadline. Nonprofits are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and submit well before the deadline, as extensions will not be granted.


November 1
Application invitations and decline notices sent via email*

Preview last year's application

Nonprofits that submit an LOI should mark this date on their calendar and, if they do not receive an email notification, contact the Foundation (after first checking their spam folder).

Aside from the one question related to a 10-year grant, all applications should be written with a three-year grant in mind. Prior Cummings grant winners will automatically be considered for 10-year awards after the 150 winners have been determined.


December 22, 5 PM
Full applications due from those invited to apply

Foundation staff will be available to answer questions up until the deadline. Nonprofits are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and submit well before the deadline, as extensions will not be granted.


Week of May 1
Presentation Days

Some applicants being considered for 10-year awards will be contacted during the week of April 10 and invited to schedule a 45-minute time slot during the week of May 1 to meet with and make a presentation to Foundation volunteers.


May 22
Grant approval and decline letters sent via email

Nonprofits that submit an application should mark this date on their calendar, watch their email/postal mailboxes, and if they do not receive a notification, contact the Foundation.


June 15
Grant Winner Celebration

Grant winners will be invited to send up to two representatives to this festive not-to-be-missed event. Due to space limitations, attendance is by invitation only.


*Important notices about letters of inquiry and applications are sent via email. To decrease the likelihood of missing such emails, applicants are encouraged to check their spam folders regularly for emails from an @cummings.com address.

Charlie Baker at $100K for 100
Joyce Vyriotes and Bill Cummings

Cummings Foundation’s Grant Selection Process

Step 1: Determine 150 grant winners

Through evaluating letters of inquiry and a limited number of full applications, Cummings Foundation and 80 of its insightful volunteers will identify 150 grant winners. At least half of the awards will be determined completely by volunteers. The other awards will be Early Decision grants, determined by Cummings Foundation through an internal process.

Although final installments will be determined by the Foundation, applicants may request annual installments ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

Step 2: Select eligible long-term funding candidates

Of the 150 grant winners, those that have received previous Cummings Foundation awards will be considered to have their new grants elevated from three-year awards to larger 10-year awards. Past impact reports (from the nonprofit) and site visit reports (from Foundation volunteers) will be reviewed as part of this process. The most promising of these candidates for long-term funding will be invited to meet with a committee of volunteers for further discussion.

Step 3: Award 25 long-term grants to returning recipients

Following in-person meetings, a volunteer committee will select 25 repeat recipients to have their three-year grants upgraded to 10-year grants, providing sustained funding over a full decade without the need for submitting further applications.

Join the Cummings Team

Please check out (and share) Cummings Properties’ Careers page, as everyone who works for the real estate side of our organization is ultimately supporting Cummings Foundation’s philanthropic mission.

Priority Funding Areas

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program is a place-based initiative that primarily supports nonprofits in the Massachusetts counties where Cummings Foundation operates commercial properties and where most staff and clients of Cummings Foundation and Cummings Properties live—Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Applicants should be local organizations that are not only headquartered in but also provide at least 50 percent of their services in this tri-county area. In addition, all funding requests should focus exclusively on operations within the tri-county area.

Special consideration is given to nonprofits based in the 11 cities and towns where the Cummings organization operates commercial real estate. The Foundation may also give such consideration to organizations that are based elsewhere in the tri-county area and propose introducing programming or services in one or more of these 11 communities, especially Woburn.

Nonprofits that meet these criteria and provide some services statewide, or even in adjacent states, are eligible for consideration. Given the strong local nature of this funding program, however, organizations that are truly regional, national, or international (or have staff or offices in other states) will typically not be considered even if they meet the 50 percent threshold for services. In addition, local office/affiliates of national organizations will not be considered, even if they meet the 50 percent threshold, unless they have their own EIN.

Priority Funding Causes

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program funds a wide variety of local causes, especially those related to human services, education, healthcare, and social justice. While not in any way minimizing the value or importance of organizations focused on the arts (including dance, music, and theater), culture, environment, athletics, or the preservation of land or historic buildings, 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 more than $80 million commitment to 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).

Eligibility

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program will not generally consider requests for:**

  • Endowments
  • Medical research
  • Religious endeavors
  • Relatively new entities
  • Political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
  • Individuals or debt reduction, no matter how worthy
  • Organizations that do not regularly file IRS Form 990
  • Major capital campaigns, unless very near completion
  • Primary and secondary schools that charge significant tuition.
  • Very large organizations already supported by robust endowments
  • 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.
  • Municipalities (with the exception of public schools), except for the 11 communities in which the Cummings organization operates commercial properties

501(c)(3) organizations that request funds to then disburse to individuals or other entities will be considered for the Cummings $30 Million Grant Program, but such grant-makers will be expected to demonstrate expertise and due diligence in their processes to select and follow up with their own grantees.

Prior grant recipients are eligible to apply for an additional grant if:

  • The organization meets the current eligibility requirements
  • All previous Cummings Foundation (or Cummings Properties) grants to that organization have been fully disbursed
  • In the case of recipients of 10-year grants, at least one year has passed since the disbursement of the final grant installment
  • All requirements stipulated in the prior grant agreement (including the completion of annual impact reports* and the ongoing presence of an active reciprocal link to Cummings Foundation's website) have been fulfilled by the recipient organization

*Organizations that have received a prior Cummings grant may re-apply during their final year of funding in advance of submitting the final impact report. Such an organization will be removed from consideration, however, if the report is not completed by the February 28 deadline.

**In any grant cycle, the list of award recipients may include one or more organizations that do not strictly adhere to all of these priorities and eligibility guidelines. Such exceptions may be made in recognition of a particular relationship to or with the Foundation.

Changes for the 2023 Grant Cycle

  • Total recipients increased from 140 to 150
  • Total 10-year grants decreased from 40 to 25
  • Total awards increased from $25 million to $30 million
  • Annual installment maximum increased from $50,000 to $100,000
  • $100,000 awards changed to three-year grants of varying amounts
  • All schools (except those that charge significant tuition) within the tri-county funding area may be considered for grants. For schools that are part of a district or consortium, the request must come from the district level.

Meeting Requests

To avoid bias in evaluating grant applications, Cummings Foundation staff members do not typically conduct site visits or hold informational or relationship-building meetings with grant applicants. This policy is applied uniformly, so organizations will not be disadvantaged by it. Members of the volunteer selection committees that evaluate applications and select the majority of grant winners, however, may independently and at their own discretion request more information from specific applicants or, in some cases, conduct site visits.

Joyce Vyriotes
Executive Director

781-932-7072
jkv@cummings.com

Laura Hiller
Deputy Director & Foundation Counsel

781-932-7065
lmh@cummings.com

Andrew Bishop
Grants Manager

781-569-2337
aeb@cummings.com

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.

Cummings Foundation, Inc. (CFI) has a separate grant-making entity, OneWorld Boston, Inc. Approved by the Internal Revenue Service effective February 1, 2011 and August 24, 2012, it is primarily funded by CFI. These entities share some common directors, as well as office space at 200 West Cummings Park, Woburn, MA 01801.