Working Together to Weather the COVID-19 Crisis

During a time of considerable upheaval, it has been inspiring to see the nonprofit community not only continue its important work but also step up to address the many new needs created by the novel coronavirus. The Cummings organization is most grateful for those efforts and is pleased to support them in a variety of ways, described below. We are in this together, taking things day by day, and hope to come out stronger, more resilient, and with a more powerful sense of community.

Emergency Funding

Cummings Foundation has pledged $1 million in aid to local and statewide COVID-19 emergency funds. Its COVID-19 relief grants focus on local aid, support of frontline workers, assistance to vulnerable populations, and support of Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses.

The Foundation will contribute $500,000 to the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund to help support at-risk community members across the state. The Fund is partnering with nonprofits throughout Massachusetts to determine where needs are most pronounced and provide critical services. This donation was revealed to Foundation trustees and volunteers during a Zoom call attended by Lauren Baker, the first lady of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts before it was announced publicly. “Your support at such a significant level says that you believe in our model and have confidence in us to deploy these funds effectively and quickly where they are needed most,” noted Baker.

Cummings Properties Providing Assistance during COVID-19
Joyce and Bill Cummings ZOOM meeting

Additionally, each of the funds below has been granted $100,000 to distribute to those whose livelihoods have been significantly impacted by the pandemic:

  • Business Equity COVID-19 Response Fund will work with coalition partners to provide no-interest bridge loans and crisis response support teams to aid local small and micro-businesses under distress, especially Black- and Latinx-owned businesses, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of this unprecedented global crisis.
  • Essex County Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund will provide financial resources to nonprofit organizations working with communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak. Included are those needing social service and public health infrastructure, residents with limited access to reliable food sources, and communities with a significant percentage of economically vulnerable residents.
  • Greater Lowell Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will work with public health departments to strategically grant resources to nonprofit organizations that are supporting the vulnerable demographics most critically affected by COVID-19, including the elderly, low-income, and homeless populations.
  • United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley’s COVID-19 Family Support Fund will mobilize its broad network of nonprofit agencies throughout the region. They will provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families meet their basic food, childcare, or housing needs during the COVID-19 crisis. The selected agencies have a long track record of working with United Way to administer flexible emergency assistance for families impacted by income disruption.
  • Winchester Hospital’s President’s Emergency Fund will provide immediate resources to nurses, physicians, and hospital leaders to fight the pandemic and support the community. The fund will help the hospital to reconfigure spaces to accommodate more patients, expand ICU capacity, and procure additional equipment and supplies.

Grant Flexibility

The rapidly evolving public health crisis is significantly affecting the operations of many nonprofits. Social distancing and other safety measures have delayed important fundraising events and suspended programs for which available funds had been earmarked. In recognition of this state of flux, the Foundation invited grantees to redeploy funds from their most recent Cummings grant installments to address their most urgent needs.

Early Disbursements

While a great number of nonprofits have found that they need to reallocate available funds to areas of emergent needs, many have also simply come up short. Cummings Foundation has offered early payments—in April rather than June—to previous recipients of active multi-year grants. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of Foundation volunteers, it was able to expedite the review and approval of Impact Reports as well as the processing of these installments, which many organizations need now more than ever.

Shared Resources

Times of crisis teach us to rely on each other for support. Cummings Properties is home to a number of client firms that have shown themselves to be more than willing to lend their expertise to struggling neighbors. Visit Cummings Properties’ website to review and access the resources being offered to small businesses by Cummings client firms LGA, MassPay, and McLane Middleton.