Freshman Fresh Start has been awarded a grant from the Cummings Foundation! Check out News and Updates for the full story.


Contact: Ruth Weinstein, Freshman Fresh Start, 617-320-1200,

Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093,

Freshman Fresh Start awarded $100,000 Cummings grant

Wellesley, MA nonprofit receives 6 years of funding from Cummings Foundation

Wellesley, May 25, 2021 – Freshman Fresh Start 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 Wellesley-based organization was chosen from a total of 590 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $16,666 over 6 years.

Freshman Fresh Start provides low-income, high-achieving, college-bound high school seniors with the dorm room essentials and school supplies needed to live on campus.  These are among the biggest hidden costs of living at college.  These supplies allow students to begin school with dignity and a little less stress.  Receiving the Cummings Foundation grant will allow Freshman Fresh Start to provide goods to an additional 28 students per year.

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.

“We have adopted a democratic approach to philanthropy, which empowers an impressive roster of dedicated volunteers to decide more than half of all our grant winners each year,” said Swets. “We benefit from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives; they benefit from a meaningful and fulfilling experience; and the nonprofits often benefit from increased exposure and new advocates.”

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.

About Freshman Fresh Start 

Wellesley-based Freshman Fresh Start provides essential dorm and school supplies to low-income, high-achieving, college-bound college freshmen, helping to lessen family financial burdens and ease the transition to campus life.  Over the past 10 years, Freshman Fresh Start has supported over 600 students.  For more information, please visit

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 three largest private foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn, and Veterinary School at Tufts, LLC in North Grafton. Additional information is available at