Gaining Ground Awarded $350,000 Cummings Grant

Gaining Ground staff celebrate the Cummings Grant

Gaining Ground recently received a $350,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation to support the farm’s operations and volunteer program that grows, harvests, and distributes its fresh, organic produce to emergency food programs.

Gaining Ground 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 Concord-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $350,000 over 10 years.

“Words cannot adequately express our gratitude to the Cummings Foundation for their investment in our work,” said Jennifer Johnson, Gaining Ground’s executive director. “Far too many in our region are experiencing food insecurity. This generous 10-year gift helps build our capacity to increase equitable access to healthy food for all people.”

Gaining Ground will use the funding from the Cummings Foundation to strengthen and expand its efforts to grow high-quality produce, serve the needs of its recipient partners, and provide meaningful experiences for the many volunteers who contribute to the farm’s work.

The grant will support the work of Gaining Ground’s innovative farmers who manage the farm’s no-till system with top-quality organic seeds, soil amendments, and other items necessary to grow and harvest over 125,000 pounds of food. It will support partnerships with the farm’s recipient organizations, including Open Table in Concord, GreenRoots in Chelsea, and Rosie’s Place in Boston. The funding will also contribute to continued improvements the farm is making to its infrastructure and planning, which will improve efficiency, extend the growing season, and lead to additional harvests of food for hunger relief.

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 area where it owns commercial buildings, 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.

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, plus more than 800 previous recipients, is available at Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $300 million to greater Boston nonprofits.