Students of St. Paul's Choir School celebrate the receipt of the Cummings Foundation Grant. Pilot photo/courtesy Matthias Ehrhardt
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CAMBRIDGE -- The Boys' Choir of St. Paul's Choir School, Harvard Square has been selected as one of 100 local nonprofits to receive a $100,000 grant from the Boston-based Cummings Foundation. The Cummings Foundation's $20 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. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the 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.
"Receiving a Cummings Foundation grant is a dream come true. The Choir School is a phenomenal education opportunity for boys. We have been looking for support that will enable us to make this opportunity accessible to more students who are challenged by access to this elite music training experience," said Dr. Thomas Haferd, head of school.
"We could not be more pleased that this grant further enables us to provide access for all boys to this incredible school," he added.
The Boys' Choir, formed in the European chorister tradition, is expanding access to its choral music and academic programs to students in underserved and economically challenged communities. The grant funds will support outreach expansion to these communities along the North Shore's 128 corridor and in the metro-Boston communities of Mattapan, Roxbury, South Boston and Dorchester. The plan includes provision for school partnerships, introducing more students to the school's treasured music and tradition while providing financial aid and scholarships for the school's Summer Music Program. Interested families will be provided free access to concerts. The school also plans to provide professional development for music educators in the art and tradition of training youth voices.
"We have been impressed, but not surprised, by the myriad ways in which these 130 grant winners are serving their communities, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19," said Cummings Foundation executive director Joel Swets. "Their ability to adapt and work with their constituents in new and meaningful ways has an enormous impact in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work."
Cummings has now awarded more than $280 million to Greater Boston nonprofits.
Social distancing requirements will prevent foundation and grant winner representatives from convening for a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn, as planned, to celebrate the $20 million infusion into Greater Boston's nonprofit sector. Instead, Cummings Foundation expects hundreds of individuals to gather virtually for a modified celebration in mid-June.
The Cummings $20 Million Grant Program resulted from a merger of the foundation's two flagship grant programs, $100k for 100 and Sustaining Grants.
The Foundation and its volunteers first identified 130 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners are first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that have previously received Cummings Foundation grants. A limited number of this latter group of repeat recipients will be invited to make in-person presentations in the fall, when public health related circumstances allow, proposing that their grants be elevated to long-term awards. Thirty such requests will be granted in the form of 10-year awards ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 each.
This year's diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 40 different cities and towns, and most will receive their grants over two to five years.
The complete list of 130 grant winners is available at CummingsFoundation.org.