Home » Children's Programs, Community, Living Well, Maud Morgan Arts

Maria L. Baldwin Community Center Awarded $75,000 Cummings Grant

Submitted by on May 31, 2024 – 3:32 pmNo Comment


MLBCC Contact: Taylor Mortell, Maria L. Baldwin Community Center, 617-349-6287, tmortell@agassiz.org
Cummings Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093, aeh@cummings.com

Maria L. Baldwin Community Center Awarded $75,000 Cummings Grant
Cambridge nonprofit receives 3 years of funding from Cummings Foundation

CAMBRIDGE, May 29, 2024 – We are thrilled to announce that the Maria L. Baldwin Community Center (MLBCC) is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The community center was selected from a total of 715 applicants in a highly competitive review process. It will receive $75,000 over three years.

“On behalf of the MLBCC Board, we deeply appreciate this recognition and support.  The Cummings grant enables our organization to fulfill its mission more fully, as an afterschool, arts education and summer camp program, to address the complex needs of children and families by providing social work services, as well as educational and recreational activities,” said Andrea Walsh, Board Chair.

“The grant funding will help us lessen the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable children and families we serve through the support of a permanent, full time social worker on staff – Silvia Cote,” said Maria LapPage, Co-Executive Director.

“Inclusive, holistic and empowering service provision is at the heart of our community center,” said Silvia Cote, Manager of Family Partnerships and Advocacy. “We will be able to help even more families navigate complex, intersecting challenges such as mental health crises, access to healthcare, housing, employment, childcare, financial security and basic needs, while supporting our teaching staff to ensure that a consistent, high-quality standard of care is met across all of our programs.”

“Formalizing this part of our organization is the culmination of many years of doing this work on an ad hoc basis,” added LaPage. “We have always strived to build long-term, trusting, and supportive relationships and meet the individual needs of children and families in our community. We have also encouraged our teaching team to focus on their relationships with children and support their social-emotional development and well-being. We are now taking this work to the next level with the addition of space, staff, expertise, and structure, and know that it will have a transformative organizational and community-wide impact.” 

Reacting to the news, Khari Milner, Co-Director of the Cambridge Agenda for Children, congratulated the center. 

“The Maria L. Baldwin Community Center has been a consistently strong partner of the Cambridge Public Schools, supporting our students and families for generations of kiddos,” Milner said. “They are well known as a community-based nonprofit organization that is committed to providing child-centered and accessible afterschool and summer programs; and their commitment to serving high priority families is aligned with their values and efforts to disrupt prevalent inequities across our city.” 

Many of our participants share our excitement: 

“This program helped connect me to resources that secured me new housing, got my daughter into camp, got me financial aid for child care, and is now looking into therapy for me. You help me with a lot of other things too and I know I can come to you when I need it for any situation.”

“You have been a superhero to this family. For many years we struggled and now you have helped us back onto our feet. You came at a time when we needed help the most.”

“Silvia makes everything a whole lot easier and in times where I feel myself getting to a certain point I know I can pick up the phone and call you. What I like is you give me hope, you really do, even when I’m feeling like giving up.”

From all of us at MLBCC, THANK YOU to the Cummings Foundation for this generous  investment in our community!  It truly marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our organization, and we look forward to the transformational change that will take place over the course of three years. 

“The recognition and support from this substantial three-year grant will enable the Maria L. Baldwin Community Center to do what it does best – provide a safe and welcoming environment for all community members,” said Ellen Harkavy, Board Member and program parent. “I am struck by the deep commitment the MLBCC team has to delivering on its mission of being a place that nurtures individual growth and creativity, builds connections, and serves as a forum for community advocacy. In particular, the Cummings Foundation’s support of our dedicated social worker will have a powerful positive impact not only on families and individuals receiving direct support and services, but across the entire MLBCC community.” 


The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, plus six communities in Norfolk County: Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley.

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.

“Greater Boston is fortunate to have a robust, dedicated, and highly capable nonprofit sector that supports and enhances the community in myriad ways,” said Cummings Foundation executive director and trustee Joyce Vyriotes. “The entire Cummings organization is thankful for their daily work to help all our neighbors thrive.”

The majority of the grant decisions were made by nearly 100 community volunteers. They worked across a variety of committees to review and discuss the proposals and then, together, determine which requests would be funded. Among these community volunteers were business and nonprofit leaders, mayors, college presidents, and experts in areas such as finance and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

“We believe strongly that grant decisions will be more equitable when made by a diverse group of community members,” said Vyriotes. “We’re incredibly grateful to the dozens of individuals who participated in our democratized philanthropic process.”

The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $300,000 each. The winners included first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected by a panel of community volunteers to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $300,000 to $1 million each.

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including housing and food insecurity, workforce development, immigrant services, social justice, education, and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 49 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $500 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 2,000 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.


About Maria L. Baldwin Community Center

The Maria L. Baldwin Community Center (formerly named Agassiz Baldwin Community) is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the Cambridge community for over fifty years with a full range of high quality programs for local families and individuals of all ages.  

Our mission is to be a place that nurtures individual growth and creativity, builds connections, and serves as a forum for community advocacy. We believe in: welcoming and including everyone, lifelong learning, and fostering a culture of creativity and cooperation. 

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA and has grown to be one of the largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities, in Marlborough and Woburn, and Cummings Health Sciences, LLC. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email