Improbable Players Receive $200,000 Grant from Cummings Foundation


Cummings Properties

Improbable Players representatives Christina Everett, (Co-Director) and Shahjehan Khan (Development Coordinator) pose with Joyce and Bill Cummings of the Cummings Foundation after receiving a $200,000 grant for the Watertown-based theater troupe.

The following information was provided by Improbably Players:

Improbable Players Inc. is one of 33 local nonprofits awarded a total of $10 million from Cummings Foundation through its new Sustaining Grants program, which provides funding for up to 10 years. Christina Everett, Co-Director (Program Management) and Shahjehan Khan, Development Co-ordinator, represented the nonprofit at a May 3 awards night at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn.

Watertown-based Improbable Players use theater performances & workshops based on true stories and performed by people in recovery to address addiction, alcoholism, and the opioid epidemic. Performances are 25-45 minutes long followed by a talkback/Q&A. Drama workshops give students the space and tools to combat social pressures and find coping strategies that work for them.

“We are thrilled and humbled to further solidify an already enormously successful 3-year working relationship with the Cummings Foundation. This award has been the perfect close to a year of transition, growth, and long-term planning for the Players,” noted co-director Andy Short.

Improbable Players will be using the $200,000 in Sustaining Grant Funds to continue to provide sponsored programs to middle and high school students across the Greater Boston area. Their last Cummings Foundation sponsored program in Watertown was on November 30, 2016 at Watertown High School.

The Sustaining Grants program builds on Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 program. First offered in 2012, $100K for 100 annually awards $10 million through multi-year grants of $100,000 each to 100 nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties. Grant recipients that received their final grant disbursements in 2017 were automatically considered for the Sustaining Grants initiative in 2018.

“Long-term financial support is rare for nonprofits, making fundraising a constant and time-consuming task for organizations like Improbable Players,” said Joyce Vyriotes, deputy director of Cummings Foundation. “The Sustaining Grants are intended to provide some relief, allowing them to focus more of their time and energy on delivering and enhancing their important services.”

Sustaining Grants winners were selected primarily by a 40-member volunteer committee, which included former state legislators, CEOs of companies and organizations in Greater Boston, and a retired justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, among many others. Committee members conducted two site visits with each nonprofit to learn how the $100K for 100 funds helped to advance its mission, and how it might put a 10-year grant to use.

The complete list of 33 grant winners is available at

Cummings Foundation has already awarded more than $200 million to date in Greater Boston alone, and it will award an additional $200 million over the next 10 years through the $100K for 100 and the Sustaining Grants programs.


Since their inception in 1984, Improbable Players have set the stage for prevention by educating more than 1 million people about addiction and recovery through artistically excellent and engaging theater pieces that help audience members recognize situations in their own lives and seek the help they need. The works are presented by a diverse cast of actors and peer educators, themselves in long-term recovery, who can provide both first hand expertise and the empathy required to inspire meaningful discussion and provide a message of truth and hope

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date has been to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional information is available at

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