Cummings Foundation Inc./One World Boston Inc.

OVERVIEW: One World Boston Inc. is the grantmaking entity of the Cummings Foundation that awards grants to Boston and northern suburban nonprofits in the areas of community development, education, healthcare, homelessness, and the elderly.

FUNDING AREAS: Community development, education, healthcare, homelessness, the elderly

IP TAKE: This is a great foundation to apply for a grant to if your organization benefits the Boston suburban area. Although Cummings supports plenty of Boston-based nonprofits, the northern suburbs are heavily favored as well.

PROFILE: Established in 1986, the Cummings Foundation is a private operating foundation based in the Boston suburb of Woburn. It is one of the largest charitable foundations in New England. Joyce and Bill Cummings established the Cummings Properties Foundation as a Massachusetts Trust, changing its name to Cummings Foundation Inc. and becoming an operating foundation in 2002. The couple has donated much of its commercial real estate fortune to the foundation, and the largest grant to date was $50 million to Tufts University veterinary school. Cummings Foundation Inc. established a separate grantmaking entity called One World Boston, Inc. This is a local area grant program that provides funding to community groups, underserved populations, healthcare, and education causes. Major grantmaking interests include community development, education, healthcare, homelessness, and the elderly.

Cummings’ grantmaking program is called “$100K for 100,” in which the foundation awards $100,000 grants to 100 local charities. The foundation gives $100,00 grants to 100 local nonprofits each year. Most current Cummings grantmaking revolves around human services, education, healthcare, and social justice. The funder does not consider art, culture, or athletic programs for grants. It also does not support medical research, religious endeavors, major capital campaigns, or primary and secondary schools outside the 11 communities where the Cummings organization operates.

Cummings’ Boston grants tend to be $100,000 each. View a list of grant recipients here. The city of Boston is a primary area of focus for this foundation. Meanwhile, suburban towns that include Roxbury, Salem, Medford, Lexington, Newton, Winchester, and Woburn also receive this funder’s attention.

This foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits. To apply for a grant, groups will need to submit a Letter of Inquiry between July 1 and October 1. The Cummings staff does not typically conduct site visits, but there is always a grantee reception scheduled in Woburn in early June. Nonprofits can apply for another grant after three years of receiving one from Cummings. Direct general questions to the foundation’s executive director, Joel B. Swets, at 781-982-7004 or by email at


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