Tufts Awards 35 Grants to Support Local Initiatives

Nine organizations receiving funding this year are first-time Tufts Community Grant recipients

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, are awarded each year to local nonprofits in Boston, Grafton, Medford, and Somerville. 

“Nonprofit partners in our neighborhoods do so much to enrich our surroundings, support our neighbors, and provide valuable volunteer service opportunities to Tufts students,” said Leah Boudreau, community programs specialist in the university’s office of government and community relations. “Tufts Community Grants are one way that the university can return support to organizations doing impactful work.” 

TCG is a giving option during the Tufts Community Appeal (TCA), the annual faculty and staff fundraising appeal. One hundred percent of the donations university employees make to the TCG program support local community partners and the work they are doing to improve the lives of residents of Tufts’ host communities. 

During the TCA in fall 2023, 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. Nine of the organizations receiving grants this year are first-time TCG recipients.

Tyrone Reese from TUSDM’s Green Gardening Club with a young community member

Tyrone Reese, D25, from TUSDM’s Green Gardening Club at work with a young community member as part of Chinatown Backyard. Photo: Rebecca Leu

“Local nonprofits are doing incredibly important work supporting those most in need, and in doing so, they strengthen our surrounding communities,” said Bill Cummings, A58, H06, J97P, M97P, founder of Cummings Properties and co-founder of Cummings Foundation. “That is why we are so delighted to continue to support the Tufts Community Grant program as it makes a critical investment in these organizations. We congratulate the grantees and look forward to seeing the impact they will make this year.”

EVkids, a Boston based nonprofit focusing on education, was awarded a TCG grant for the first time this year. The nonprofit uses a near-peer, one-on-one, and multi-year academic tutoring model to match university student mentors with Boston-area mentees ranging from third to 12th grade.

“The Tufts Community Grant will allow EVkids to offer our 130 tutoring pairs a robust fall semester,” said Scotty Pysik, associate director for tutor engagement at EVkids. “That includes all the necessary food and transportation costs for our Fall Mentoring Day, when pairs across our five different locations celebrate their accomplishments and make lasting memories to cement their connections.”

The 2024 recipients will address a variety of areas of need including food insecurity, educational and arts programming, immigration services, homelessness resources, mental health initiatives, and other causes.

The initiatives supported by the 2024 Tufts Community Grants, listed by organization, are as follows: 


Asian American Civic Association: The purchase of books and instructional materials for 100 students in AACA’s beginner English as a Second Language program, which teaches essential English communication skills for immigrants

Asian Community Development Corporation: ACDC’s Chinatown Backyard, a program through which Chinatown residents can access gardening and green space; engage with climate resiliency efforts; and build relationships with neighbors and Tufts students, faculty, and staff

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center: Workshops for Chinese immigrant youth, which aim to provide participants with necessary skills to foster mental health awareness and encourage proactive self-care and well-being practices, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by Chinese immigrant students

Chinese Historical Society of New England: The Tunney E. Lee lecture series, which features speakers on topics related to the history of Chinese Americans locally and nationally. Funding will revive CHSNE’s signature in-person events series.

EVkids: Training, peer relationship building, transportation, and food for volunteer tutors to support them in their mentoring matches with underserved Boston youth

Friday Night Supper Program, Inc.: Purchase of 83 pairs of high-quality water-proof winter boots for individuals experiencing homelessness in Boston

Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center: Funding for the Caregiver Support Program, including purchasing healthy food for workshops and support groups, as well as iPads for caregivers to access services

Josiah Quincy Upper School: An on-site CPR certification course during the school day for 58 special education high school students, which will help them learn essential job skills

Level Ground Mixed Martial Arts: A Brazilian jiu-jitsu program for underserved children in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan

Sociedad Latina: An irrigation system to extend the growing season of their outdoor community garden space. The greenhouse and irrigation system will be installed by the organization’s Environmental Justice League’s Youth Leaders who are Boston Public School students and Boston residents ages 15-18.


Apple Tree Arts: Financial aid for students participating in summer music programs, including improvisation, voice, and guitar workshops

Claflin Hill Music Performance Foundation: Compensation for musicians to perform in three in-town concerts (two chamber concerts and one outdoor park concert)

Community Harvest Project: Purchase of greenhouse supplies and an irrigation system to support 15 acres in cultivation, including piloting the use of a high tunnel for growing season extension that will yield 250,000 pounds of fresh, free, local produce for thousands of food-insecure individuals

St. James Outreach at Our Lady of Hope Parish: Payment of the balance of a family heating system, the expansion of perishable food distribution, summer health and recreation activities, and the cost of hosting an educational service event

Touchstone Community School: A sustainability and stewardship program for youth that will provide opportunities to engage with farm animals and the gardens


Chapters Coffee Carts: Purchase of equipment to upgrade their shop in the Medford Public Library, which employs individuals with disabilities and provides them with critical job and professional skills

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

Food Link, Inc.: A food rescue program aiming to distribute 200,000 lbs. of fresh food to three local community organizations serving food-insecure Medford residents

Friends of the Middlesex Fells: Tools and materials to create a service-learning program that connects local youth with the Middlesex Fells and their local environment

Medford Band Parent Organization: Purchase of musical instruments and color guard equipment for the Jumpstart Music Camp for Medford elementary and middle school students

Medford Council on Aging: Purchase of supplies to create a program called “Reminiscing with Photographs” to assist older Medford adults who may be experiencing loneliness, depression, health problems, or isolation

Medford Family Network: The expansion of MFN’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program with the purchase of educational supplies, the coverage of instructor and space costs as well as the cost of child care for participating students

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

Sanctuary UCC: Training stipends for six youth leaders from underrepresented populations who serve as peer mentors in the Am2Pm Program, a summer initiative for high school students designed to cultivate leadership, civic engagement, and life skills

St. Raphael Conference Food Pantry (St. Vincent de Paul Society): Purchase of food supplies to stock a food pantry for Medford residents experiencing food insecurity


Breakthrough Greater Boston: Purchase of a “Community Novel” and literature texts for seventh- to ninth-grade students attending the 2024 Summer Program in Somerville and Boston, which serves predominantly students of color, low-income students, and first-generation college students

Gentle Giant Rowing Club: Funding for the necessary public permits, insurance coverage, and safety measures to ensure the Mystic River Pride Flotilla is viable, safe, and a joyful communal experience for all participants and spectators

Groundwork Somerville: Purchase of a new garden shed for an urban farm to increase storage space and staff capacity for educational and community programs

Mystic Learning Center: Purchase of “Summer Success Starter Backpacks,” a backpack that will include summer necessities such bathing suits, towels, socks, water botles and lunch bags so all student can participate in weekly outdoor excursions

The Elizabeth Peabody House: Funding to purchase food to distribute weekly to Somerville residents facing facing food insecurity

Project Citizenship: Funding for the costs of outreach, advertising, printing supplies, space rental, and transportation for a fall 2024 community-based citizenship workshop for immigrants in Somerville

Somerville Community Access Television: Purchase of a state-of-the-art Pursa MK4 3D printer for youth members to create film props, and accessibility for adult members

Somerville Homeless Coalition: Purchase of a standard refrigerator to store pre-made bags of perishable, nutrient-rich groceries that will be delivered to food insecure elderly, disabled, immunocompromised and veteran clients

Somerville Public Schools (East Somervile Community School): Funding for a school field trip to Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts, for 90 fourth-grade students to participate in an inquiry-based coastal erosion education program that will provide hands-on learning

Somerville Public Schools (Winter Hill Community Innovation School): Purchase of climate change materials in robotics and science as well as literacy to help multilingual students understand the science behind climate change

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