WOBURN, February 21, 2013 – Burlington’s Heartbeat Ministries is among the first 10 local organizations selected for grants of $100,000 each from Cummings Foundation. The Woburn-based foundation will announce an additional 90 awards of the same amount in June.
These “early decision” grant recipients were determined by the staff of the Foundation’s for-profit affiliate, real estate firm Cummings Properties. The company manages 10 million square feet of commercial space in suburban Boston, including the office building at 101 Cambridge Street in Burlington.
All employees were invited to nominate a locally based charity and then take part in an online vote to determine the winners. The nomination process resulted in 35 eligible organizations.
Joel Swets, executive director of Cummings Foundation, said, “The Foundation recognizes that its philanthropy is made possible, in large part, through the hard work of Cummings Properties’ staff. We are delighted to support local nonprofits that are meaningful to these dedicated colleagues.”
Laurie Glasser, Cummings Properties’ leasing coordinator and a Burlington resident, nominated Heartbeat Ministries. The all-volunteer organization assists low-income pregnant women, as well as families with young children, by providing clothing, diapers, toys, and other equipment. It also offers counseling, referrals to social service agencies, and occasionally, assistance with food, rent, utility bills, and transportation.
Glasser said, “I have known Heartbeat since it began, and have always been impressed that, although it is a small, local organization, it does big things to help mothers and families in need.”
Heartbeat Ministries will use its $100,000 award, payable over 10 years, to meet the growing demand for support. According to Muriel Ostrowski, president, the organization was at a breaking point.
Ostrowski, who spends four days per week volunteering for the nonprofit, said, “We do this on a shoestring budget and without salaries. It’s a real blessing to have the grant, so we can continue providing more of the things that these families cannot provide for themselves.”
Dennis Clarke, president and CEO of Cummings Properties, noted that there was significant good-natured “lobbying” by colleagues seeking votes for their chosen charities. Several employees arrived at the firm’s recent Annual Party prepared with pins, brochures, and even tote bags promoting their nominated nonprofit.
Clarke said, “Philanthropy has long been part of the Cummings organization’s culture, but this is the first time the entire staff has been invited to participate in distributing such a significant amount of funding. We were so pleased to see the dedication and enthusiasm our colleagues have for some very worthwhile local nonprofits.”
In addition to Heartbeat Ministries, the diverse group of recipient organizations includes: Alternative House, Asperger’s Association of New England, Beverly Bootstraps, Birthday Wishes, Boston Medical Center Cancer Care Center, Christopher's Haven, Merrimack Valley Hospice House, NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans, and Wediko Children’s Services.
Through its OneWorld Boston grants program, the Foundation will award a total of $10 million this year. The remaining 90 grants of $100,000 each will be decided by the Foundation’s grant evaluators and announced in June.