Cummings Foundation is now accepting letters of inquiry for its annual $30 Million Grant Program. This place-based initiative will deliver substantial multi-year funding to 150 eastern Massachusetts nonprofits.
Cummings noted several changes to the grant program, now in its 13th cycle. One of the most significant modifications is a geographic expansion.
The program has historically supported organizations based in and primarily serving Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex counties only. Updated parameters have now opened the application to nonprofits in Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley, all in Norfolk County.
Also new this year are resources designed to help small nonprofits navigate the grant application process. The Foundation has introduced a short-form application for organizations seeking annual installments of $25,000 or less. In addition, volunteers will provide coaching to a limited number of smaller organizations as they develop their letters of inquiry.
Many of the program modifications are the result of feedback and suggestions provided by past applicants, according to Executive Director Joyce Vyriotes, who has been heavily involved since the grant program’s genesis, in 2012.
“We believe that our funding will have a much greater impact if we involve the community—especially including nonprofits—in the process,” said Vyriotes. “We recently asked applicants to share feedback on how we could make our process more equitable, accessible, and user-friendly, and we were delighted to implement many of their recommendations, both big and small.”
Calling its model “democratized philanthropy,” Cummings Foundation also invites about 175 dedicated volunteers to make the majority of its funding decisions.
The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program will award 125 nonprofits three-year grants of up to $300,000 each. Twenty-five additional organizations, all of which are prior Cummings grantees, will be awarded 10-year funding of up to $1 million each.
Letters of inquiry for the 2024 grant cycle will be accepted until September 8. During the most recent cycle, the Foundation received 630 proposals for the 150 awards.
The winners will be announced in May of 2024 following a comprehensive vetting process featuring multiple review stages carried out by community volunteers.
The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program eligibility requirements, timeline, and FAQs, as well as a link to begin the letter of inquiry, are all available here.
Vyriotes noted that, through this initiative and other grants, the Foundation has now awarded $500 million to greater Boston nonprofits.
One of the largest private foundations in New England, Cummings Foundation was founded in 1986 by Bill and Joyce Cummings of Winchester. Bill also founded the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties, which leases and manages 11 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation. Additional information is available at CummingsFoundation.org.