Special to Sun
The Boston Arts Academy Foundation is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Boston-based organization was selected from a total of 630 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $150,000 over three years, according to a press release.
The Boston Arts Academy Foundation is an independent non-profit philanthropic organization that helps raise essential funds for the Boston Arts Academy (BAA). BAA is the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts, serving students who reflect the diversity of Boston’s neighborhoods.
“On behalf of the Boston Arts Academy Foundation, I want to thank the Cummings Foundation for their support and for awarding us with such a generous gift,” Boston Arts Academy Foundation President and CEO Denella Clark said in a press release. “We are honored to be one of the 150 non-profits chosen. This grant will help us continue our mission of creating opportunities and shaping a brighter future for the talented students of Boston Arts Academy.”
Boston Arts Academy Foundation will use this general operating funding to support nearly 500 students each year who attend Boston Arts Academy, who might not otherwise have access to a transformative arts-intensive and college-preparatory education. This gift will help to ensure that our young artists, scholars, and global citizens have the resources they need to reach their full potential.
The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.
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.
“The way the local nonprofit sector perseveres, steps up, and pivots to meet the shifting needs of the community is most impressive,” Cummings Foundation executive director Joyce Vyriotes said in a press release. “We are incredibly grateful for these tireless efforts to support people in the community and to increase equity and access to opportunities.”
The majority of the grant decisions were made by about 90 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).
“It would not be possible for the Foundation to hire the diversity and depth of expertise and insights that our volunteers bring to the process,” added Vyriotes. “We so appreciate the substantial time and thought they dedicated toward ensuring that our democratized version of philanthropy results in equitable outcomes that will really move the needle on important issues in local communities.”
The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $225,000 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 volunteer panel 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 46 different cities and towns.
Cummings Foundation has now awarded $480 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 1,500 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.