Next Step 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 Cambridge-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over two years.
The Next Step Fund shatters limitations and elevates aspirations of young people with serious life threatening illnesses during their transition to adulthood. Next Step works with young adults with cancer, HIV/Aids, sickle cell disease and other life threatening conditions.
“The Cummings Foundation has provided an incredible opportunity to expand our programming for seriously ill teens and young adults during uncertain times,” said Next Step executive director, William Kubicek. “We couldn’t be more grateful for their partnership.”
Next Step plans to use these funds to expand out “Next Step Net” virtual programming and engage new disease communities. Next Step discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic that young adults with rare diseases felt comfortable participating in online programming and that this type of programming even allowed young people to participate from the comfort of their homes or when they have to be hospitalized for their conditions.
The Cummings $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serves 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, but 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.
“We are so fortunate in greater Boston to have such effective nonprofits, plus a wealth of talented, dedicated professionals and volunteers to run them,” said Cummings Foundation executive director, Joyce Vyriotes. “We are indebted to them for the work they do each day to provide for basic needs, break down barriers to education and health resources, and work toward a more equitable society.”
With the help of about 90 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.
“Our volunteers bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which is so critical to our grant selection process,” said Vyriotes. “Through this democratized approach to philanthropy, they decide more than half the grants every year.”
This year’s grant recipients representa a wide variety of causes, including food insecurity, immigrant and refugee services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 45 different cities and towns.
The complete list of 140 grant winners, plus more than 900 previous recipients, is available at www.cummingsfoundation.org
Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to greater Boston nonprofits.
About The Next Step Fund
Next Step was founded in 2001 and has since provided unique leadership and life skills programs for over 7,300 youth living with cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, HIV/AIDS and other rare genetic disorders. These programs provide a critical lifeline for young people who face isolation, abandonment, stigma, discrimination, systemic racism, and debilitating disease, on top of the everyday challenges of adolescence and young adulthood. Additional information is available at www.nextstepnet.org
About Cummings Foundation
Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummingsa 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