Cummings $30 Million Grant Program

Local Grant Program

Enjoy this inspiring highlight reel from Cummings Foundation’s 2023 Grant Winner Celebration, held at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn.

Cummings Foundation has awarded $500 million to date in greater Boston. In 2024, it will grant an additional $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 2024 grant cycle. Applicants are also encouraged to read the comprehensive FAQ page.

Merrimack Valley Dream Center
Emmanuel College

How to Apply

The process begins with a simple letter of inquiry, accepted via an online portal only.

Please check back July 2024 for a link to the letter of inquiry.

Q&A Sessions

Is your nonprofit planning a proposal submission? Do you have questions, or might you benefit from hearing the questions of others? Recordings of recent Q&A sessions with Executive Director Joyce Vyriotes and Deputy Director Andrew Bishop are linked below.

• Tuesday, July 18, 10:00 AM. View the recording.

• Wednesday, August 9, 10:00 AM. View the recording.

• Thursday, November 9, 10:00 AM. View the recording.

• Wednesday, December 6, 10:00 AM. View the recording.

2023-2024 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. Visit our FAQs page to learn about who reviews proposals and how decisions are made.

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.

Small nonprofits requesting three-year grants with installments of $25,000 or less may be eligible for assistance in developing their LOI through a pilot program offering coaching. Learn more.

September 8, 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 this 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).

Visit our FAQs page to learn about who reviews proposals and how decisions are made.

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.

Small nonprofits requesting three-year grants with installments of $25,000 or less may be eligible for assistance in developing their application through a pilot program offering coaching. Please see the application invitation email for additional details

December 20, 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 April 29
Presentation Days

Some applicants being considered for 10-year awards will be contacted during the week of April 8 and invited to schedule a 45-minute time slot during the week of April 29 to meet with and make a presentation to Foundation volunteers.

May 20
Grant approval and decline letters sent via email

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

June 13
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 or an 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 a diverse group of about 90 community 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. Learn more about our grant selection process.

Step 2: Select eligible long-term funding candidates

Of the 150 grant winners, those that have received previous Cummings Foundation awards will be automatically 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, Suffolk counties, plus six communities in Norfolk County: Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley. Applicants should be truly local organizations that are not only headquartered in but also provide at least 50 percent of their services in this area. In addition, all funding requests should focus exclusively on operations within this priority geographic 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 priority geographic 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, social justice, education, and healthcare. 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. Nonprofits working in animal welfare may, however, apply for funding through the Felicia Rose Grant Program if they meet that initiative’s eligibility requirements.

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).


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

  • Endowments
  • Medical research
  • Private foundations
  • Religious endeavors
  • Relatively new entities
  • Political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
  • Individuals or debt reduction, no matter how worthy
  • 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 seek to infringe on civil liberties or personal freedoms
  • Organizations that are not classified as public charities 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

Prior grant recipients are eligible to submit an LOI for an additional grant if:

  • The organization meets the current eligibility requirements
  • All previous Cummings Foundation (or Cummings Properties or Felicia Rose Grant Program) 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 2024 Grant Cycle

Most of the changes below, plus other smaller changes, were a direct result of nonprofit input via a spring 2023 survey of Cummings grant applicants. We have made our response to the survey and the raw survey data publicly available.

  • grant-writing mentorship program is being piloted for small nonprofits
  • The geographic parameters have expanded to include Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley.
  • The budget template will be the same as this one used by Philanthropy Massachusetts for its Common Proposal.
  • A short-form full application (with no budget required) was introduced for applicants seeking three-year grants with annual installments of $25,000 or less. Learn more.

Meeting Requests

Given the very small size of Cummings Foundation's staff and the very large number of applicants, 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 who 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


Andrew Bishop
Deputy 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, 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.