Jan 20, 2024

East Boston Social Centers Awarded $90,000 in Cummings Grant

East Boston Social Centers has been selected as one of 150 recipients to share in $30 million of funding from Cummings Foundation's annual grants program. This award will fund expansion of our Welcome Baby program, which provides year-long education and support to families with newborns in East Boston teaching practices to foster their child's development. We also help parents find resources and welcome their child with a bag of baby supplies including blankets crocheted by seniors in our Active Adults programs. With this support from the Cummings Foundation, we will more than triple the number of families we can serve each year. Services provided through the Welcome Baby program are the first stage in our vision to ensure all Eastie children enter kindergarten be joyful, thriving, and ready to learn.

"My role is to help families lives better" says Lisa Melara the Welcome Baby & ASQ Coordinator of the Welcome Baby Program. "With this award we will be able to reach more families and provide additional resources to new parents, ultimately helping them feel more prepared and making a joyful impact on the East Boston community. We are incredibly grateful for this grant and the essential support provided by the Cummings Foundation."

Gloria DeVine, the Director of the East Boston Family Engagement Network which runs Welcome Baby, agrees, stating: "Becoming a new parent can be both a wonderful and challenging experience. These funds will enable us to provide families with high-touch concentrated support and strengthen their connections to social services agencies, the Welcome Baby program and other resources."

The East Boston Social Centers, a multi-service agency and community center that cultivates community, belonging, and joy, has been in the business of changing lives for 104 years, providing East Boston (and Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere) residents with critical high-quality services that support community health and well-being and joy, especially during the pandemic. The programs offered by the Social Centers are designed to meet people's educational, social, and recreational needs and to build community and strengthen families. As reflected in its motto, "When all give, all gain," the Social Centers seek to create a welcoming and supportive environment, characterized by a spirit of goodwill and caring, in which members of the community are empowered to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Learn more about us at

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and 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.

"The way the local nonprofit sector perseveres, steps up, and pivots to meet the shifting needs of the community is most impressive," said Cummings Foundation executive director Joyce Vyriotes. "We are incredibly grateful for these tireless efforts to support people in the community and to increase equity and access to opportunities."

The majority of the grant decisions were made by about 90 volunteers. They worked across a variety of committees to review and discuss the proposals and then, together, determine which requests would be funded. Among these community volunteers were business and nonprofit leaders, mayors, college presidents, and experts in areas such as finance and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

"It would not be possible for the Foundation to hire the diversity and depth of expertise and insights that our volunteers bring to the process," said Vyriotes. "We so appreciate the substantial time and thought they dedicated toward ensuring that our democratized version of philanthropy results in equitable outcomes that will really move the needle on important issues in local communities."

The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $225,000 each. The winners included first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected by a volunteer panel to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $300,000 to $1 million each.

This year's grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including housing and food insecurity, workforce development, immigrant services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 46 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $480 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year's 150 grant winners, plus nearly 1,500 previous recipients, is available at