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Cummings $25 Million Grant Program

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits in Eligible
Counties to Benefit Local Communities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Cummings Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

12/22/21 5:00 PM


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Grants to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations in eligible counties to benefit local communities. A Letter of Inquiry must be submitted prior to applying. Programs may align with one of the following areas: social justice, education, healthcare, or human services. The Foundation has a very local focus, supporting organizations that not only serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties but also are headquartered in one of these counties throughout the term of their grants. In addition, all funding requests should focus exclusively on operations within the tri-county area.

Recognizing that most nonprofits incur general operating costs, the Foundation will consider funding necessary "overhead" expenses (e.g., rent, phone service, administrative salaries, etc.). 

Capital projects are reviewed closely to ensure that plans are appropriate (and not extravagant) and that quotes are fair and reasonable. If approved, these awards will be treated as pledges to be paid when construction is ready to commence. In addition, large capital projects are not typically funded unless very near completion.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 138242

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

100 winners will receive $100,000 (first time and returning recipients)
40 winners will receive $200,000 - $500,000 (returning recipients)

Term of Contract:

Except for the 10-year grants, most awards are disbursed over two to five years, depending on the size and needs of the organization.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Cummings $25 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.

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, local office/affiliates of national organizations will not be considered, even if they meet the 50 percent threshold, unless they have their own EIN.

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.

The Cummings $25 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
- 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 (including public schools, police departments, etc.), except for the 11 communities in which the Cummings organization operates commercial properties
- Primary and secondary schools, except for those located in the 11 communities in which the Cummings organization operates, and except for vocational schools that 1.) have programs for the construction trades and 2.) have member communities that overlap meaningfully with Cummings Properties' 11 communities. Schools in these priority communities will typically not be considered, however, if they charge significant tuition.
- 501(c)(3) grant-making organizations will be considered for the Cummings $25 Million Grant Program, but grant-makers will be expected to demonstrate expertise and due diligence in their processes to select and follow up with grantees.

501(c)(3) grant-making organizations will be considered for the Cummings $25 Million Grant Program, but grant-makers will be expected to demonstrate expertise and due diligence in their processes to select and follow up with grantees.

Prior grant recipients are eligible to apply for an additional grant.

Pre-Application Information:

2021-2022 Application Timeline
July 1: Letter of Inquiry opens
September 10, 5 PM: Letter of Inquiry closes
November 1: Application invitations and decline notices sent via email
December 22, 5 PM: Full applications due from those invited to apply
Week of May 2: Presentation Days
Week of May 23: Grant approval and decline letters sent via postal mail
June 9: Grant Winner Celebration

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 and hospitals, are urged to coordinate among departments before submitting any requests.

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.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit LOI:

Joel B. Swets
Executive Director

Joyce Vyriotes
Deputy Director

Heidi Heinlein
Grants Manager

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk Counties

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