Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts awarded Cummings Foundation grant
Boston nonprofit receives funding from Cummings Foundation in Support of Women’s Incarceration & Reentry Project
BOSTON – June 1, 2022 – Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts (PLS) 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 Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process.
PLS is an organization committed to being anti-racist and whose mission is to challenge the carceral system through litigation, advocacy, client counseling, partnership with impacted individuals and communities, and outreach to policymakers and the public in order to promote the human rights of incarcerated persons and end harmful confinement. The office prioritizes work involving health and mental health care, assaults by staff, extreme conditions of confinement (including COVID, overcrowding, exorbitant prison phone rates), misuse of segregation and isolation, and racial equity.
“Generous funding from organizations like the Cummings Foundation enable us to not only fulfill our core mission, but also to expand the purview of our work and assist people impacted by the carceral system in new ways,” said PLS executive director Lizz Matos.
The funding from the Cummings Foundation will help to support the recently developed Women’s Incarceration Conditions and Reentry Project at PLS, currently headed by attorney and fellow, Sarah Nawab. The project seeks to (i) deepen and expand PLS’s direct services to be more gender-responsive and improve conditions for incarcerated women; (ii) uplift currently and formerly incarcerated women’s voices and experiences; and (iii) reduce reliance on incarceration by improving access to release mechanisms and enhancing reentry success for women.
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 Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts
Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts is an organization committed to being anti-racist and whose mission is to challenge the carceral system through litigation, advocacy, client counseling, partnership with impacted individuals and communities, and outreach to policymakers and the public in order to promote the human rights of incarcerated persons and end harmful confinement. The office prioritizes work involving health and mental health care, assaults by staff, extreme conditions of confinement (including COVID, overcrowding, exorbitant prison phone rates), misuse of segregation and isolation, and racial equity.
Contact: Aaron Steinberg, Prisoners’ Legal Services, 423-314-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093, email@example.com