ESAC Awarded $100,000 Cummings Grant

Ecumenical Social Action Committee is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants through Cummings Foundation›s $25 Million Grant program. The Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over 4 years.

 Since 1965, Ecumenical Social Action Committee has addressed the unmet needs of elders, homeowners, and youth throughout Boston. Through programs in sustainable homeownership, homelessness prevention, education, and public benefits enrollment, Ecumenical Social Action Committee equips hundreds of low-income residents each year with the tools, knowledge, and supports they need to overcome their barriers to stability and growth.

Ecumenical Social Action Committee Executive Director, Dr. Peg Drisko, and Associate Business Manager, Kim Gibson, celebrating the news of their recent award from Cummings Foundation.

Cummings Foundation’s investment will allow Ecumenical Social Action Committee to expand the Senior Tenancy Stabilization program team to better serve older tenants at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. “This funding will play a critical role in offering our most vulnerable, disabled, and homeless clients support to obtain and maintain housing,” said Ecumenical Social Action Committee executive director Dr. Peg Drisko. “We are incredibly grateful to Cummings Foundation for their generous support of our work.”

 The Cummings $25 Million Grant program supports Massachusetts nonprofits based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.

Cummings Foundation aims to give back to the area where it owns commercial buildings through this place-based initiative, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

 “We aim to help meet the needs of people in all segments of our local community,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joel Swets. “It is the incredible organizations we fund, however, that do the actual daily work to empower our neighbors, educate our children, fight for equity, and so much more.”

With the help of about 80 volunteers, the Foundation first identified 140 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners were first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings Foundation grants. Forty of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 each.

“We adopted a democratic approach to philanthropy, which empowers an impressive roster of dedicated volunteers to decide more than half of all our grant winners each year,” said Swets. “We benefit from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives; they benefit from a meaningful and fulfilling experience, and the nonprofits often benefit from increased exposure and new advocates.”

 This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including social justice, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 43 different cities and towns.

The complete list of 140 grant winners and more than 800 previous recipients is available at

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $300 million to Greater Boston nonprofits.

Boston-based Ecumenical Social Action Committee was established in 1965 when a group of community and church leaders came together to affect positive social change. By focusing their efforts on housing and education, Ecumenical Social Action Committee strives to improve the quality of life of Boston residents and serve as a catalyst for strengthening neighbors and building communities.

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings and has grown to be one of the three largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn, and Veterinary School at Tufts, LLC in North Grafton. Additional information is available at

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