NAASR Awarded $150,000 Cummings Foundation Grant

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BELMONT, Mass. — The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Belmont-based organization was selected from a total of 630 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $150,000 over three years.

Board Chairperson Judith Saryan said, “We are extremely grateful to the Cummings Foundation for their generous support that will allow NAASR to work with teachers and librarians to promote active engagement and newfound understanding to help prevent future genocides. NAASR is a prime institution of research and education in Massachusetts with a vast collection of valuable and trustworthy primary sources of the Armenian genocide as well as the Holocaust and other genocides.”

The funding from the Cummings Foundation aims to provide librarians and teachers with trustworthy genocide education materials leading to a more accurate and enriched understanding of genocide for educational purposes in schools and in their communities. The funds will be used to create an online curated genocide resource center featuring leading documentary resources suitable for users at a high school level education and to promote the new online genocide resource center to librarians and schoolteachers within the communities of Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties.

The Cummings Foundation’s $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.”

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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.

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 www.CummingsFoundation.org.

 

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