St. Francis House awarded $225,000 Cummings grant

St. Francis House 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 $225,000 over three years.

St. Francis House is a nonsectarian non-profit organization providing basic and rehabilitative services designed to meet the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty in Greater Boston. They are the largest daytime homeless services center in Massachusetts and are open 365 days of the year, offering holistic services for 7,000 guests annually, including meals, showers, clothing, case management, recovery supports, employment services, and housing services.

St. Francis House President & CEO Karen LaFrazia states, “Receiving a grant from Cummings Foundation is an incredible honor and a true testament to the transformative work we do at St. Francis House. This generous support allows us to expand our impact and reach even more individuals in need. With the Cummings Foundation’s partnership, we can continue to provide critical services and empower those facing homelessness and poverty to rebuild their lives. Together, we are creating lasting change and building a stronger, more compassionate community.”

Grant funding will provide adults experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity with meals, clean clothing, showers, a mailroom, and access to medical care while supporting them on a pathway to recovery. Each year, around 5,000 guests participate in St. Francis House’s Refuge Services as a first step in a successful transition from homelessness to a permanent and stable home. With their basic needs fulfilled, guests are more ready to participate in meaningful skill-building activities to regain control of their lives. By addressing three key focus areas: income, behavioral health, and housing, guests are supported in achieving stability that will help ensure their success.

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


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