Woburn-based Cummings Foundation received a record 738 Letters of Inquiry for its expanded 2020 grant cycle, compared with 574 last year.
Four submissions came from Sudbury organizations.
The foundation’s website states that special consideration is given to charities based in the 11 cities and towns where the Cummings organization operates commercial real estate. Sudbury is one such community, as it is home to the Cummings Properties’ buildings at 142 and 144 North Road.
Because of changes in the eligibility requirements for the newly named Cummings $20 Million Grant Program, more greater Boston nonprofits than before submitted proposals for grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 each.
Guidelines state that applicants must be based in Middlesex, Essex or Suffolk counties. In prior years, charities had to provide at least 80 percent of their overall services in this tri-county area to be considered. New for the 2020 grant cycle, that percentage was lowered to 50 percent.
“We expanded this parameter to make room for organizations that are doing important work in our priority communities while also having an impact throughout the state, or in the case of some Merrimack Valley nonprofits, in Southern New Hampshire,” said Joyce Vyriotes, deputy director of Cummings Foundation.
Also new this year, the foundation accepted requests from grant-makers, nonprofits that do not provide direct services, instead raising funds to distribute to individuals or other entities.
“There are lots of genuine needs that simply don’t fit within our $100,000 model,” said Vyriotes. “By supporting grant-makers that have in-depth knowledge of the populations they serve, our intention is for more funds to reach the people for whom a few hundred or a few thousand dollars could make a world of difference.”
With the grant cycle now closed, Cummings Foundation’s volunteer team will begin its work to whittle the 738 applicants to a list of about 325 charities that will receive invitations to the next step: the full application. More than 70 community leaders volunteer their time to review proposals and confer with other volunteers to select at least half of the eventual 125 grant winners. The remaining recipients are determined in-house by the Foundation’s staff and trustees.
The program was created by merging the Foundation’s previous initiatives: “$100K for 100” and Sustaining Grants. One hundred grant winners will be awarded $100,000 each, mostly payable over three to five years, and 25 grant winners will receive $200,000 to $500,000 each, to be disbursed over 10 years.
Six Sudbury organizations, including MetroWest Free Medical Program, Bridges Together, and Corwin-Russell School, have shared in $900,000 in Cummings Foundation grants in recent years.
For more information, visit www.cummingsfoundation.org.