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ThinkGive Awarded $100,000 Cummings Grant

ThinkGive 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 Concord-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over five years.

ThinkGive offers social emotional learning (SEL) programs centered around students taking action to impact others. Students explore questions around identity, social courage, and inclusion, empathize with other people and perspectives, and discover their capacity to effect positive change. Students report strong increases in connection, belonging, and empowerment—protective factors against anxiety and depression.

“We are honored and thrilled to be a recipient of the Cummings $25 Million Grant Program,” said Penny Austen, Executive Director of ThinkGive. “Only 39% of historically marginalized youth have access to social emotional learning (SEL) programming. This grant allows us to offer our Every Child Scholarship to forty-eight schools/organizations that have little or no access to social emotional learning, which is proven to enhance emotional well-being and help students thrive. We are grateful to the Cummings Foundation for their support of our vital mission.”

Schools or organizations can be nominated for an Every Child Scholarship at thinkgiveproject.org/scholarship. Each scholarship will provide ThinkGive at no cost to the school/organization.

“We’re a proud recipient of a scholarship from ThinkGive that allows us to provide ThinkGive to our students at no cost to us,” said Kierstin Giunco, Director of Professional Development & Curriculum at Mission Grammar School in Roxbury, MA. “I have taught ThinkGive in various upper elementary classrooms and was amazed at my students’ universal engagement and growth. They were excited to learn from the interactive curriculum while also having opportunities to apply what they learned in their lives and share it on the online platform. My favorite part was hearing scholars use the lessons’ language in their casual conversations with friends—and the long-lasting impact the lessons had on our classroom community!”

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 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.

“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 represent 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 ThinkGive

ThinkGive’s mission is to inspire young people to use kindness and empathy to engage with their world. Our research-based and standards-aligned social emotional learning (SEL) program empowers youth in grades 4-8 to develop self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills. They consider other perspectives, build meaningful connections with a wide range of people, and cultivate the belief that they can positively impact their own lives and the lives of others. www.thinkgiveproject.org.

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 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.