UMass Boston’s Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development Awarded $100K Cummings Grant
UMass Boston’s Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy receives 2 years of funding from Cummings Foundation for the Youth Wellness Corps
“ We are delighted to be able to launch this health equity internship program for our students. ”
UMass Boston’s Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program. The Gastón Institute was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $100,000 over two years.
The Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy is recognized as the region’s leading Latinx research and public policy institute. Through collaboration, the Gastón conducts applied research projects aimed at evaluating the impact of policies, programs, and practices on Latinx education, health, economic, and community outcomes. Recent research has focused on how social determinants of health have shaped COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality.
“We are delighted to be able to launch this health equity internship program for our students”, said Professor of Biology Adán Colón-Carmona, who is leading the project. “We also look forward to directly connecting their educational experiences with community-based organizations doing valuable frontline health equity work that is having a positive impact in neighborhoods many of our students call home.”
Funds will help to establish the Youth Wellness Corps Fellows (YWCF) program, which will provide underrepresented UMass Boston undergraduates interested in health careers with internships in community organizations and health centers focused on health equity in communities of color ravaged by COVID-19. As Boston neighborhoods have been devastated by impacts from the pandemic, this health careers training program will place students in their communities, allowing them to address issues of health equity while gaining skills to contribute to Greater Boston’s STEM-related workforce 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.
“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 www.CummingsFoundation.org. Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to greater Boston nonprofits.
About Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at UMass Boston
In 1989, the state legislature established the Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy in response to calls from Latinx community leaders and scholars for an improved understanding of the Latinx experience in the state. Recognized as the region’s leading Latinx research and public policy institute, Gastón collaborates with government agencies, community organizations, foundations, and businesses in applied research projects aimed at evaluating the impact of policies, programs, and practices on Latinx education, health, economic, and community outcomes. Advisory boards made up of faculty and community leaders, guide the Institute’s research agenda. The Gastón also provides educational programming for undergraduates and Boston Public School students. The Gastón is located at UMass Boston, the city’s only public research university and the most diverse institution of higher education in New England. UMass Boston is a federally recognized Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), and is one of only two universities in the country with free-standing research institutes dedicated to four major communities of color in the U.S.—African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American—through its Collaborative of Asian American, Native American, Latino and African American Institutes (CANALA).
About Cummings Foundation
Woburn‐based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings 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.