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Cambridge Health Alliance Awarded $500,000 Cummings Grant

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Health system receives 10 years of funding from Cummings Foundation to develop Career Pathways Program for immigrant youth and youth of color

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities, 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 Cambridge-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process and will receive $500,000 over 10 years.


The grant will create employment opportunities and career pathways for diverse youth and young adults by developing a workforce development curriculum that includes internships and mentoring by health professionals. Under the leadership of the Community Health Youth Initiatives program, the funding will increase CHA’s capacity to develop a targeted curriculum, improve hiring and onboarding processes to be more accessible for this population, and significantly impact communities where immigrants, first-generation youth, and young adults need a structured program that truly leads to increased employment opportunities.


“The need now is to build on our successful community and afterschool youth programming, and expand career pipeline opportunities for young people growing up in communities such as Everett, Chelsea, Revere and Malden to address the difficulties many of these young people face in finding gainful, career-oriented employment,” said Susie Posner-Jones, CHA’s chief development officer.


“This training project will help close gaps in equitable access to the field of healthcare and result in helping to create an even more diverse CHA workforce that is representative of our communities and able to offer more culturally and linguistically supportive care for our populations,” said Jaime Lederer, CHA’s director of community health youth initiatives.


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.”


Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to greater Boston nonprofits. 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 cummingsfoundation.org.

n the Revere Career Pathways Program this year, ten Revere High School students learned about the many career opportunities in the field of health, received mentorship, and provided input into the program for future youth leaders. The Cummings grant will help CHA implement additional training opportunities through its Community Health Youth Initiatives program.

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