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BIG NEWS! RAR-MA awarded Cummings Grant

BOSTON, MA, JUNE 13, 2022 – RAISING A READER MASSACHUSETTS (RAR-MA) 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 Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $300,000 over 10 years.

Raising A Reader Massachusetts is an early literacy family engagement organization working to close the literacy opportunity gap by helping families develop high impact home reading routines. RAR-MA provides a simple-solution, evidence-based model, supported by more than 30 years of research and 39 independent evaluations, showing that being regularly read to by a parent or caregiver before kindergarten is the most significant factor impacting a child’s academic success.

“We are so honored to be a recipient of the Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program,” says RAR-MA Executive Director, Christine Ward. “Elevating this contribution to a 10-year grant will allow us to build capacity and add new partners, and enables our Program Managers and Community Partners to better respond to community problems and opportunities, improve planning, and improve literacy-program access in the Merrimack Valley. Our organization likes to say we ‘open doors by opening books,’ and we are so pleased that the Cummings Foundation will be partnering with us to help open many doors for so many young learners.”

In addition to contributing to the sustainability of the program, Cummings Foundation grant funds will allow RAR-MA to provide vital Social-Emotional Learning and STEM resources, making even more of an impact in the Merrimack Valley, where programs participants and partner organizations are still recovering from underfunding during the COVID-era.

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

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to greater Boston nonprofits.