Ipswich River Watershed Association Awarded $90,000 Cummings Grant

Tuesday June 11, 2024

Ipswich River Watershed Association Awarded $90,000 Cummings Grant
Ipswich nonprofit receives 3 years of funding from Cummings Foundation
Ipswich, June 4, 2024 – Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) is one of 150 local nonprofit that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Ipswich-based organization was selected from a total of 715 applicants during a competitive review
process. It will receive $90,000 over three years.
The Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) is the voice of the Ipswich River. Our approach is to educate people young and old about the river and to engage and empower our full community to enjoy, restore, and protect it. Our mission is to ensure that there is enough clean drinking water for all people and ecosystems that depend on the Ipswich River, now and for generations to come.
“The expansion of our education program is a key component of IRWA’s mission to teach young people about the environment and their role in it. We are thrilled to receive a multi-year grant from the Cummings Foundation to support this work and to ensure that these programs continue into the future. We know that environmental education helps young people develop a sense of belonging to their environment and community; and that by loving their place, they feel responsible for its care, and we look forward to fostering the next generation of environmentally-minded community members” says Emma Hughen, IRWA’s Environmental Educator.
These grant funds will support IRWA programming aimed at building a STEM workforce pipeline through leadership development and outdoor education to 3,500 youth annually in Essex County – including at minimum 50% BIPOC youth. Climate change adaptation, including water resource adaptation, is a growing career field that needs informed and motivated workers. This field also needs leadership that is widely representative of all people to ensure that the solutions we develop now and in the decades ahead are equitable. At the same time, youth need to grow up in conditions that help them become resilient, emotionally regulated, and confident so that they can succeed in school, pursue a fulfilling career path, and lift up their own communities.
The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, plus six communities in Norfolk County: Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley.
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.
“Greater Boston is fortunate to have a robust, dedicated, and highly capable nonprofit sector that supports and enhances the community in myriad ways,” said Cummings Foundation executive director and trustee Joyce Vyriotes. “The entire Cummings organization is thankful for their daily work to help all our neighbors thrive.”
The majority of the grant decisions were made by nearly 100 community 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).
“We believe strongly that grant decisions will be more equitable when made by a diverse group of community members,” said Vyriotes. “We’re incredibly grateful to the dozens of individuals who participated in our democratized philanthropic process.”
The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $300,000 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 panel of community volunteers 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 49 different cities and towns.
Cummings Foundation has now awarded $500 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 2,000 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.
About Ipswich River Watershed Association
The Ipswich River Watershed Association is a community-based organization with a big job to do: to protect and restore the Ipswich River to health. Our experienced professional staff works with partner organizations and many dedicated volunteers. We develop solutions to the problems we find and work with state and local officials, businesses and community members to protect the River, forever.
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 www.CummingsFoundation.org.

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