Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) awarded $100,000 Cummings grant

Source: ABCD

Greater Boston-based nonprofit receives 3 years of funding
from Cummings Foundation


May 26, 2021


Lee Phenner, ABCD

Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation

BOSTON, MA, May 26, 2021- Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program. The Greater Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over three years.

ABCD is Greater Boston’s anti-poverty agency, providing programs and services that each year create opportunities for more than 100,000 of the region’s most vulnerable children, adults, elders, and families. With a focus on access and empowerment, the organization helps people to transition from poverty to stability to economic security.

This three-year $100,000 grant will enable ABCD to expand its Adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program by establishing a six-week Summer Academy. With classes during the summer, the ESOL program will be able to offer year-round learning. 

“This generous grant is an investment in ABCD, which means it’s an investment in newcomers to Greater Boston, people in search of a better life in America” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew. Establishing the ABCD Adult ESOL Summer Academy addresses an extreme need for a highly motivated community.

“More than 25% of the residents in the neighborhoods where we offer adult ESOL classes—Mattapan, Roxbury, and Roslindale—were born outside the United States, and many with limited English skills lost their jobs during the pandemic.”

Drew went on to say that English proficiency enables people to communicate with their children’s teachers, medical providers, landlords, utility companies, and more. In other words, proficiency translates to the speaker’s clear and confident engagement in vitally important day-to-day activities as well as building skills for their future.

The Cummings $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“We aim to help meet the needs of people in all segments of our local community,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joel Swets. “It is the incredible organizations we fund, however, that do the actual daily work to empower our neighbors, educate our children, fight for equity, and so much more.”

With the help of about 80 volunteers, the Foundation first identified 140 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners were first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings Foundation grants. Forty of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 each.

“We have adopted a democratic approach to philanthropy, which empowers an impressive roster of dedicated volunteers to decide more than half of all our grant winners each year,” said Swets. “We benefit from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives; they benefit from a meaningful and fulfilling experience; and the nonprofits often benefit from increased exposure and new advocates.”

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including social justice, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 43 different cities and towns.

The complete list of 140 grant winners, plus more than 800 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $300 million to greater Boston nonprofits.

About ABCD

ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) is a nonprofit community action agency that provides low income residents in the Boston and Mystic Valley areas with the tools, support, and resources they need to transition from poverty to stability and from stability to success. Each year, the organization serves more than 100,000 individuals, elders and families through a broad range of innovative initiatives as well as long-established, proven programs and services. For more than 50 years, ABCD has been deeply rooted in the neighborhoods it serves, empowering individuals and families and supporting them in their quest to live with dignity and achieve their highest potential. For more, please visit bostonabcd.org.

About Cummings Foundation

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