Watertown-Based Family First Receives Grant from Cummings Foundation

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The following announcement was provided by Families First:

Families First is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The organization was selected from a total of 630 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $150,000 over three years.

Families First’s mission is to bring parents of young children together in their communities so they can strengthen their parenting knowledge, skills, and social support systems.

Funding from Cummings Foundation will be used to expand Families First’s highly effective model for parenting education and parent leadership programs in Greater Boston for parents to help their children thrive and drive increased community resiliency.

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,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joyce Vyriotes. “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,” said 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.

To learn more about Families First’s impact and how you can get involved, visit www.families-first.org.

About Families First

Families First is Boston’s leading provider of early childhood parenting education and parent leadership programming. Parents are experts on their children and communities. However, families of color face barriers rooted in structural racism and bias that prevent them from engaging and leading in community- and systems-level planning and decision-making. This gap in power-sharing results in inequitable health and education outcomes for children.

Families First offers two programs: The Power of Parenting and Parent Leadership. The Power of Parenting enables parents to promote their children’s learning and development and set them up for success in school and life. Through the Parent Leadership program, parents bring their lived experiences raising young children in the community to advise the institutions and policies that are most important in children’s lives. Ultimately, the whole family and community thrives.

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.

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