Cambridge School Volunteers Awarded Cummings Foundation Grant

Cambridge School Volunteers Awarded Cummings Foundation Grant
Posted on 05/29/2023
grant photosCambridge School Volunteers (CSV) is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Cambridge-based organization was selected from a total of 630 applicants during a competitive review process. CSV will receive $25,000 annually for the next three years.

CSV has channeled volunteerism toward support of students since its founding in 1966. The organization offers public school students an array of individual and small-group tutoring and mentoring services before, during, and after the school day. Additional volunteers are placed as classroom volunteers to enable teachers to better individualize instruction.

CSV’s programs served 1,400 students through screening, training, matching, and coaching volunteer mentors, tutors and other academic volunteers in the 2022-23 school year.

The Cambridge Public School District serves 6,630 students, of whom 36 percent are from low-income households and 52 percent are designated as high needs.

Executive Director Meg Ramsdell said the Cummings Grant will allow the organization to continue CSV’s cornerstone mission of adaptability to changing student needs. “Weathering frequent or radical changes in programming can take a toll on an organization,” she said, “but that’s our job when the needs of students change, because they are the priority. We make shifts when their success demands it.” Ramsdell noted that this year CSV launched a pilot tutoring program at the Cambridge Public Library Teen Room during evening hours and narrowed the focus of an after-school Learning Center, at Amigos School/Escuela Amigos, to math, and only for fifth-graders, in response to the school’s request.

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

About Cambridge School Volunteers
Cambridge School Volunteers, Inc. (CSV) is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 1966 with a mission to support the academic and personal success of Cambridge Public School students. CSV seeks out and identifies volunteers, then screens, trains, and carefully matches them with the right classrooms, students, and programs. CSV’s longtime partnership with the Cambridge Public Schools ensures that volunteers work where they are needed the most and that programs are modified as the needs of schools and students shift. Volunteers receive ongoing coaching from CSV staff for the duration of their work. Additional information is available at

About Cummings Foundation
Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA 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

PHOTO #1 Cambridge School Volunteers staff members (L–R) Lovleen Judson, Analía Ivanier, Megan Andres, and Meg Ramsdell in front of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the city’s public high school.

PHOTO #2 CSV’s Reading Buddies program in schools with the largest proportion of low-income students harnesses the power of human connection to instill a love of books and facilitate literacy development for children in Grades 1–3.

PHOTO #3 Volunteers in CSV’s College and Career Mentoring Program not only help primarily first generation high school seniors apply to college, but more recently provides free SAT test prep sessions and also serves juniors in high school every spring to jumpstart their post-secondary planning.

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