Tufts Awards 35 Grants to Local Initiatives Across Host Communities

A two-to-one Cummings Foundation matching gift enabled the awarding of the largest grants by dollar amount ever provided by the program

Thirty-five local organizations in Tufts’ four host communities have been awarded $105,000 in grants from the Tufts Community Grants (TCG) program. The grants, which are funded by donations from Tufts University faculty and staff through the Tufts Community Appeal (TCA), are awarded each year to local nonprofits in Boston, Grafton, Medford, and Somerville. This year, eight organizations are first-time TCG recipients.

“We had over 100 applicants submit proposals this year—the highest number of applications we have ever received,” said Leah Boudreau, community programs specialist in the university’s office of Government and Community Relations. “Our board members valued the chance to learn more through these proposals about the critical work being done by Tufts’ nonprofit partners in all four of our host communities. It was also inspiring to see how many organizations are working closely with Tufts student, faculty, and staff volunteers, as that is one of the grant-eligibility requirements.

One hundred percent of the donations that university employees make to the TCG program during the Tufts Community Appeal (the university’s annual faculty and staff fundraising initiative) directly support local community partners and the work that those organizations are doing to better the lives of people in Tufts’ host communities.

This year’s recipients will address a variety of needs and service areas, including hunger relief, educational and arts programming, homelessness resources, mental health initiatives, and other causes.

This past fall during the Tufts Community Appeal, Cummings Foundation donated two dollars for every dollar given by university employees, which allowed the TCG board to award 35 $3,000 grants this year—the largest grants ever awarded by the program.

“Through the Tufts Community Grants program, we make an important investment in our local neighborhood organizations,” said Bill Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P, founder of Cummings Properties and co-founder of Cummings Foundation. “Strengthening the organizations doing the work to help those most in need results in a profound impact to our surrounding communities. Cummings Foundation is so delighted to support this program and many local nonprofits in the Greater Boston Area.”

Once a year, a volunteer board of Tufts faculty and staff members reviews proposals and selects grant recipients. Board members represent all of Tufts’ campuses and a variety of different disciplines and roles from across the university. Members of the TCG board look for applicants that offer important services and programming for residents of Tufts’ host communities, and that are also engaged with Tufts student, faculty, and staff volunteers.

A photo of the attendees at the 2022 Tufts Community Grants reception

President Anthony P. Monaco and Bill Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P, founder of Cummings Properties and co-founder of Cummings Foundation, with grant recipients at the 2022 awards reception. Photo: Mike Ritter

Somerville Bike Kitchen (SBK), a volunteer-run bicycle repair cooperative, is one of the first-time TCG grant recipients this year.

“We are a very small organization and new to grant writing. This is actually the first grant we have ever won. This grant award will really enable us to increase our impact,” said SBK Treasurer Luis Fernandez, upon receiving news of the award. “We also really appreciate the Tufts-affiliated volunteers and users who supported our grant application and who help make Somerville Bike Kitchen a vibrant community resource.”

More than 100 area nonprofits applied for grants, a record number of applicants for the TCG program. This year’s recipients will address a variety of needs and service areas, including hunger relief, educational and arts programming, homelessness resources, mental health initiatives, and other causes.

Funding from the 2023 Tufts Community Grant program supports:


Action for Boston Community Development, Inc.: Program materials for 100 low-income Boston residents participating in ABCD’s citizenship and civics classes.

Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence: Purchase of furniture for an outside dining option and space for families to spend time outdoors at an emergency shelter.

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center: Materials to enhance Red Oak visual arts and music programs and professional development trainings to increase staff capacity to better serve school-age children from low-income, immigrant, and English Language Learner households.

Food Link, Inc.: Funding for a food rescue program in Boston that aims to distribute 82,000 lbs. of fresh food to 10 social service agencies serving food-insecure residents.

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center: Purchase of three iPads to loan to low-income elderly clients receiving depression self-management intervention programming.

Haley House: Purchase of two new refrigerators for common areas in the single room occupancy affordable housing buildings that serve residents who have experienced homelessness.

Josiah Quincy Elementary School: Funding to revitalize and upgrade three staff spaces at Boston’s largest public elementary school. The school serves over 700 students with 82 percent classified as high needs and 60 percent as low-income.

Level Ground Mixed Martial Arts: Tools and equipment to enhance and expand the carpentry youth workforce development program, a hands-on, workforce development initiative that provides students in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan with valuable experience in a skilled trade.

Partners for Youth with Disabilities: Funding to support PYD’s Mentor Match program, helping to improve participant accessibility at program events.

Sociedad Latina: Electronic and robotics materials and building tools to support STEM programming for middle- and high-school Latinx youth.


Apple Tree Arts: Summer youth theater program expenses to support high quality performing arts education.

Community Harvest Project: Fertilizer and greenhouse supplies to support an extended growing season, yielding fresh, free, local produce for food-insecure households.

Grafton Food Bank: Adult incontinence products to assist 55+ aged families who do not receive any state or federal aid for these products.

St. James Outreach at Our Lady of Hope Parish: Funding to purchase perishable food, support children’s recreation, and buy school supplies for low-income families in Grafton.

Touchstone Community School: Funding for garden, livestock, and stewardship programs, and for the purchase of greenhouse, composting, and gardening supplies to extend programming to local children.


Chapters Coffee Carts: Purchase of café equipment to upgrade Chapters Coffee Cart at the Medford Public Library, which employs individuals with disabilities, providing critical job and professional skills.

Community Cupboard Food Pantry: Funding for the purchase of food pantry items to meet the needs for food-insecure Medford residents.

McGlynn Middle School PTO: Purchase of items such as microphones, lighting, costumes, and a portable stage platform to enhance the school’s drama club’s spring musical production.

Medford Family Network: Funding for comprehensive programming in the languages of origin to best serve participating Arabic, Brazilian, and Haitian families.

Medford Farmers Market: Funding for SNAP/EBT eligible customers to purchase fresh, healthy, and local food at a weekly farmer's market and for senior citizens to receive weekly deliveries of fresh produce.

Medford Senior Center: Funding to supplement the nutritional needs of older adults in the Medford community.

Missituk Elementary School PTO: Purchase of furniture, equipment, and materials for our sensory and break room and school building to support the social and emotional well-being of the school’s elementary-aged students.

Mystic Valley YMCA: Purchase of supplies and materials to enhance STEAM programming at the YMCA's Medford Youth Center.

Sanctuary UCC: Funding to train staff to implement the teen mental health first aid program aimed at youth ages 15-18 high school students throughout the school year.

West Medford Community Center: Purchase of a speaker system to enhance sound quality of outdoor musical performances and workshops, and drum rentals for hands on experience focused on music, history, and specifics of a series of rhythms from West Africa.


Breakthrough Greater Boston: Purchase of literature books and a community novel for seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade students in Somerville and Boston during the 2023 Summer Program, which serves predominantly students of color, low-income students, and first-generation college students.

Hearty Meals for All: Funding for expanded outreach efforts to help ensure that food-insecure residents in the greater Somerville community have access to delicious, healthy, and sustainable food.

RESPOND, Inc.: Purchase of child-safe, age-appropriate furniture and other household necessities to outfit rental units housing young survivors of domestic violence who are pregnant or parenting and facing homelessness.

Second Chances, Inc.: Purchase of supplies, and materials to create a more efficient and effective clothing assembly area.

Somerville Bike Kitchen: Funding to provide expanded access to signature programming including cycling repair education and events for underrepresented FTW/LGBTQIA+ groups within the local cycling community.

Somerville Center for Adult Education: Purchase of essential laptop computers for English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education classrooms.

Somerville Community Land Trust: Funding for Community Land Trust’s 2023 Translation and Interpretation Fund, which performs outreach to Somerville residents concerned about eviction or displacement.

Somerville Family Learning Collaborative: Funding for the purchase of multilingual children's books, winter hats, and gloves to welcome new families to Somerville who are seeking in person support to register their children with Somerville Public Schools.

Somerville Homeless Coalition: Funding to purchase gift cards to local East Somerville grocery stores for SHC's clients that cannot qualify for SNAP benefits due to their immigration status.

The Elizabeth Peabody House: Funding to strengthen the emergency food program, which serves food-insecure households in Somerville.

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