Saturday, July 20, 2024

Cambridge Camping runs programs for kids with social, emotional and behavioral challenges associated with trauma and disability. (Photo: Cambridge Camping)

The nonprofit Cambridge Camping Association has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation, making it one of 140 local nonprofits surviving a competitive review process that began with 590 applicants, Cambridge Camping announced Tuesday.

The money will arrive over 10 years to sustain the Daybreak Day Camp, a summer camp for children with special needs, the organization said, identifying needs such as meeting the escalating costs of transportation, food, staffing and supplies. The money will also add a week to the summer camp’s schedule and expand programming during the school year to more children; go into a staff training fund; and help refine collection of outcome measures, which can improve programming in the future.

Executive director Sharon Zimmerman said she was grateful that the Cummings grant would allow more resources for kids showing social, emotional and behavioral challenges associated with trauma and disability – part of its mission for 127 years.

“We aim to help meet the needs of people in all segments of our local community,” said Cummings Foundation executive director Joel Swets in a press release. “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.”

Cambridge Camping’s selection for a grant is a dual honor: The foundation first identified 140 organizations for grants of at least $100,000 each, then looked among the winners for previous recipients – 40 of which were chosen to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards from $200,000 to $500,000 each.

The 140 winners, spread across 43 cities and towns, were identified with the help of about 80 volunteers.

“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,” Swets said. “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 causes from social justice and homelessness prevention to affordable housing, education, violence prevention and food insecurity. A complete list is at

Since its establishment in 1986, Cummings has awarded more than $300 million to nonprofits in and primarily serving Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties, where it owns 10 million square feet of commercial buildings managed by its affiliate Cummings Properties to feed revenue back into the foundation. It is based in Woburn.

This post was written from a press release.