Cummings Foundation 2021

Boston Partners in Education awarded $300,000 Cummings grant

Boston mentoring nonprofit receives 10 years of funding from Cummings Foundation

BOSTON, May 28, 2021 – Boston Partners in Education (BPIE) 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 Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $300,000 over 10 years.

Since 1966, Boston Partners in Education has worked to close youth opportunity and achievement gaps by matching students in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) with academic mentors during the school day. BPIE’s trained academic mentors meet students where they are – whether in-person or online – working with them for at least an hour each week for the duration of the school year.

“In 2020-21, BPIE had to transition its mentoring services to an entirely virtual setting,” said BPIE Executive Director Erin McGrath. “We’ll use this opportunity to create a sustainable program that can provide alternative delivery methods of support to BPS students alongside our traditional in-school support. This grant from the Cummings Foundation will be instrumental in funding a permanent online program. It will allow us to continue meeting students wherever and whenever they need support, while expanding our academic mentoring services in schools across the city.”

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

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

About Boston Partners in Education
Founded in 1966, Boston Partners in Education recruits, trains, matches, and supports volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to work with BPS students in grades PreK-12 during the school day. BPIE’s trained academic mentors meet students where they are, working with them during the school day for at least an hour each week. This consistent support helps any student fill academic gaps and build the self-confidence necessary to achieve their goals. In 2019-20, BPIE matched 2,438 students from over 250 teachers’ classrooms in 52 BPS schools with 515 caring volunteers, who spent over 8,500 hours helping students build skills and confidence. Learn more at

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