The Welcome Project (TWP) is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program

The Somerville-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over three years.
The Welcome Project builds the collective power of immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions through programming that strengthens the capacity of immigrant youth, adults, and families to advocate for themselves and influence schools, government, and other institutions.

“In Somerville and neighboring communities, the businesses hit hardest by Covid 19 were disproportionately owned and run by immigrants” said Francisca Sepúlveda, Coordinator of the Somerville Worker Center. “It’s the same story you see throughout the United States, where more than one in three immigrant business owners have limited English language proficiency. Language barriers, xenophobia, and racism prevent many independently owned immigrant businesses from accessing broader markets and the information they need to succeed. Similarly, immigrant communities in Somerville and Metro North Boston face disproportionate barriers to financial stability and employment.”
Receiving a three-year Cummings grant of this size will help The Welcome Project deepen its economic mobility work with immigrant community members in Somerville and provide greater staffing support to local immigrants in the areas of entrepreneurship and economic stability. Technical assistance, worker rights education, and accessing new business opportunities are critical for the job security of working class immigrant communities, especially as their businesses and livelihoods were hit hardest by Covid-19. TWP is focused on continuing and building its services for immigrants in its host communities who run or work at local, immigrant-owned businesses in order to support their ability to survive and thrive economically.
“The Cummings Foundation support is crucial to helping TWP and its partners launch a wide reaching needs assessment with local immigrant entrepreneurs and better understand their needs in order to develop the programming, services, and organizational capacity to effectively respond to these needs,” said Andrea Duarte, Development Associate at TWP.
The Welcome Project will use this funding to build an economic development program that will help local immigrant-owned businesses succeed by developing a business plan and providing mentorship and technical assistance. TWP will ultimately partner with the City of Somerville’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and Office of Racial and Social Justice to provide language accessible workshops and drop-in clinic hours to immigrant
530 Mystic Ave, Suite 111 ∙ Somerville, MA, 02145 ∙ (617) 623-6633 ∙ http://www.welcomeproject.org

business owners to help them navigate processes such as licensing, loan applications, business plans, compliance with regulatory requirements, and other challenges they may be facing. The first step will be to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment that engages and listens to the broad array of Somerville’s immigrant small business owners, which will inform the curriculum of the small business technical assistance program and ensure that programming prioritizes community identified needs.
The Cummings $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties.
Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the areas where it owns commercial property. Its buildings are all managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate, Cummings Properties. This Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of debt- free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.
“We are so fortunate in greater Boston to have such effective nonprofits, plus a wealth of talented, dedicated professionals and volunteers to run them,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joyce Vyriotes. “We are indebted to them for the work they do each day to provide for basic needs, break down barriers to education and health resources, and work toward a more equitable society.”
With the help of about 90 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.
With the help of about 90 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. “Our volunteers bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which is so critical to our grant selection process,” said Vyriotes. “Through this democratized approach to philanthropy, they decide more than half the grants every year.”
This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including food insecurity, immigrant and refugee services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 45 different cities and towns.
The complete list of 140 grant winners, plus more than 900 previous recipients, is available at http://www.CummingsFoundation.org.
Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to greater Boston nonprofits.
530 Mystic Ave, Suite 111 ∙ Somerville, MA, 02145 ∙ (617) 623-6633 ∙ http://www.welcomeproject.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.