Housing Families Inc. awarded 10-Year Cummings Foundation grant

Housing Families, Inc is one of 30 local nonprofits to share in $10 million in funding from Cummings Foundation. The Malden-based organization will receive $250,000 over 10 years.

Housing Families Inc. (HFI) works to end family homelessness by providing safe, temporary shelter and quality affordable housing to homeless and at-risk families. HFI also offers individualized supportive services to enrich children’s lives, nurture the potential of each family member, and help families maintain permanent housing.

“We’ve known for a long time that stable housing is critical to a family’s good health. The medical field has identified housing as a social determinant of health, recognizing that an individual’s housing situation has a direct correlation to their physical health. Now we are seeing the impact of housing on public health, at a societal level, during this pandemic – families’ access to housing is essential for individual families, and for society as a whole,” says Housing Families’ CEO, Laura Rosi. “This grant from Cummings Foundation will enable Housing Families to address families’ health via housing stability for the next decade to come!”

This grant will fund Housing Families’ Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP), which provides pro bono legal services, eviction prevention, and case management to over 500 at-risk families per year. Housing Families operates with the understanding that preventing homelessness from happening altogether is the least traumatic and most cost-effective way to combat homelessness. Despite on-site program closure, HFI continues to provide homelessness prevention services remotely. 

“Greater Boston is so fortunate to have nonprofits like Housing Families Inc. that are listening to the community and working to meet its needs,” said Cummings Foundation grants manager Christina Berthelsen. “By providing a full decade of support, we hope to alleviate some of the constant fundraising burden, enabling nonprofit staff to spend more time actually providing services.”

This long-term funding is part of the Cummings $20 Million Grant Program, which supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.

In the first phase of this philanthropic initiative, 130 nonprofits were awarded $100,000 each in June. In the second phase, just completed, repeat grant winners were considered to have their $100,000 grants elevated to 10-years awards of $200,000 – $500,000 each.

Nonprofits contending for the extended funding made presentations via Zoom to a panel of Cummings Foundation volunteers. These community volunteers selected 19 of the 30 grant winners. The other 11 recipients had been determined in June by Foundation team members.

“As a way to share the economic power of the Foundation, we have created a system through which volunteers decide more than half of all our grant winners,” said Berthelsen. “We benefit from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives; they benefit from an enlightening learning opportunity; and the nonprofits often benefit from increased exposure and new advocates.”

Through the Cummings $20 Million Grant Program, Cummings Foundation gives back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the 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. 

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $280 million to greater Boston nonprofits alone. It increased its annual grant program from $20 million to $25 million during the current 2021 cycle. The process is already underway.

The complete list of Cummings Foundation grant winners is publicly available at www.CummingsFoundation.org. 

Housing Families, Inc. (HFI) is a provider of emergency shelter and permanent housing, with a holistic model that supplements traditional case management with additional support services. HFI operates 100 units of apartment-style emergency shelter and 71 units of permanent affordable housing.  HFI provides comprehensive case management for all families, Pro Bono Legal Services, and the GREAT Youth & Families Program (GYFP), a therapeutic and academic after-school program for children that also offers adult resource groups. GYFP offers families access to academic tutoring, art and play therapy, individual counseling, enrichment activities, and free meals and groceries. Housing Families serves over 1,000 families per year in the Greater Boston area, namely the Gateway Cities of Malden, Medford, Everett, Revere, and Chelsea.

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn, and Veterinary School at Tufts, LLC in North Grafton. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

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