UMass Amherst Awarded $100,000 Cummings Foundation Grant To Support Scholarships for First-Generation, Underrepresented Students

Cummings Foundation


The University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of 140 nonprofits to receive grants through the Cummings Foundation $25 million Grant Program. UMass was chosen from among 590 applicants and will receive $100,000 over three years.

The grant will support scholarships for first-generation and traditionally underrepresented first-year and transfer students from Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties in Massachusetts – the region served by the Cummings Foundation, which is based in Woburn. Recipients will be chosen based on a combination of demonstrated financial need and academic merit. 

“We are deeply grateful for this gift that will free more of our students to concentrate fully on their course work and graduate on time due to this generous financial support,” said Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “Building on our long record of success in identifying and cultivating talent from every community, UMass Amherst is redoubling its commitment to equip the Commonwealth with the human resources it needs to thrive today and into the future. Thanks to partners like the Cummings Foundation, UMass will continue to power our state’s knowledge economy.”

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the region 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 The Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $300 million to greater Boston nonprofits.