CEOC Awarded $750,000 Cummings Grant

CAMBRIDGE, MAY 21, 2024 – Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC) is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Cambridge-based anti-poverty organization was selected from a total of 715 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $750,000 over ten years.

CEOC is Cambridge’s anti-poverty nonprofit Community Action Agency that has been serving the community for 59 years. Its mission is to empower people and mobilize resources to fight poverty’s causes and impacts through education and organizing. Our long-term goals are to reduce income inequality, help people maintain stable housing and meet their basic needs, and, ultimately, to eliminate poverty in our community, which it accomplishes through wrap-around social services and advocacy.

“Cummings Foundation has supported us for the past three years, but this ten-year investment is truly transformative. This long-term commitment allows us not only to sustain our vital services and advocacy, but also to think bigger and expand our programming to better serve our community. With this generous support, we can enhance our efforts to create lasting change and improve the lives of those we serve,” says Tina Alu, CEOC’s Executive Director. The Cummings Foundation grant will support general operating funds, allowing CEOC to be creative and flexible in how it serves its participants.

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, plus six communities in Norfolk County: Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley.

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the areas where it owns commercial property. Its buildings are all managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“Greater Boston is fortunate to have a robust, dedicated, and highly capable nonprofit sector that supports and enhances the community in myriad ways,” said Cummings Foundation executive director and trustee Joyce Vyriotes. “The entire Cummings organization is thankful for their daily work to help all our neighbors thrive.”

The majority of the grant decisions were made by nearly 100 community volunteers. They worked across a variety of committees to review and discuss the proposals and then, together, determine which requests would be funded. Among these community volunteers were business and nonprofit leaders, mayors, college presidents, and experts in areas such as finance and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

“We believe strongly that grant decisions will be more equitable when made by a diverse group of community members,” said Vyriotes. “We’re incredibly grateful to the dozens of individuals who participated in our democratized philanthropic process.”

The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $300,000 each. The winners included first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected by a panel of community volunteers to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $300,000 to $1 million each.

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including housing and food insecurity, workforce development, immigrant services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 49 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $500 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 2,000 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

About CEOC

CEOC, established in 1965 as part of the Ware on Poverty, is Cambridge’s designated anti-poverty nonprofit Community Action Agency. CEOC provides a comprehensive “bundled services” approach to help people in need access the resources and benefits for which they are eligible. We work one-on-one with participants to address their needs—from housing stability to food security to financial education—in order to support them towards greater economic stability, while also engaging in public policy advocacy around affordable housing, poverty, food security, and other related issues. To learn more, visit www.ceoccambridge.org.

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA and has grown to be one of the largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities, in Marlborough and Woburn, and Cummings Health Sciences, LLC. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.