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MassBay Awarded $100,000 Cummings Grant to Create Advanced ESL Program with Focus on Preparing Students for Careers in Health Sciences

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Framingham Campus FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (June 4, 2020) — MassBay Community College is one of 130 local nonprofit organizations to receive a grant of between $100,000 and $500,000, each, through Cummings Foundation’s $20 Million Grant Program. MassBay, which has three campuses in Ashland, MA, Framingham, MA, and Wellesley Hills, MA, was chosen to receive the grant out of 738 applicants during a competitive review process. MassBay will receive $100,000 over three years to fund an advanced English as a Second Language (ESL) program, with a focus on preparing students for careers in the healthcare industry.

Since 1961, MassBay has provided students with educational and technical skills to enter the workforce or transfer to four-year universities to continue their education. For more than 20 years, MassBay has been teaching health sciences courses at our Framingham campus. These classes have been a vital resource in creating a solid pipeline of skilled healthcare workers. MassBay recognizes and responds to employment trends by educating the workforce to ensure students are skilled and ready to compete in the local economy.

“Thank you to Cummings Foundation for awarding us this grant, which will deeply impact the lives of many by allowing students to transition to gainful employment in health care professions,” said MassBay President, Dr. David Podell. “It has long been the mission of MassBay to serve our community by offering high-quality and affordable education, while also leveling the playing field for all students in college attainment and success. Our ESL population faces difficult challenges as they must overcome language, as well as cultural, barriers before they can begin to focus on specific programs of study. This grant will ensure we can build a program that will help students develop both comprehension and speaking aptitudes, in collaboration with a marketable skillset, to enhance their ability to fill employment gaps. We know this program will provide not only increased language skills, but the education required for their future successes.”

MassBay will use this grant to expand our current ESL program, with an emphasis on developing student skills in reading, writing, research, and critical thinking in health sciences subjects. Once students acquire these new proficiencies, we can educate and train these students to fill a much-needed skills gap. The Advanced ESL Bridges to College program will expand access and improve education attainment for underrepresented students, providing them with individually-created frameworks and support to assist their transition into college courses focusing on a health sciences career path. The instruction will be designed to meet the needs of each student. After completing the program, advanced ESL speakers can start on a health sciences career path in nursing, surgical technology, radiology, computer tomography, emergency medicine, medical coding, medical office administration, paramedicine, practical nursing, central processing, or phlebotomy.

The Cummings $20 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. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the 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 have been impressed, but not surprised, by the myriad ways in which these 130 grant winners are serving their communities, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “Their ability to adapt and work with their constituents in new and meaningful ways has an enormous impact in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work.”

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $280 million to greater Boston nonprofits.

Social distancing requirements will prevent Foundation and grant winner representatives from convening for a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn, as planned, to celebrate the $20 million infusion into greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. Instead, Cummings Foundation expects hundreds of individuals to gather virtually for a modified celebration in mid-June.

The Cummings $20 Million Grant Program resulted from a merger of the Foundation’s two flagship grant programs, $100K for 100 and Sustaining Grants.

The Foundation and its volunteers first identified 130 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners are first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that have previously received Cummings Foundation grants. A limited number of this latter group of repeat recipients will be invited to make in-person presentations in the fall, when public health related circumstances allow, proposing that their grants be elevated to long-term awards. Thirty such requests will be granted in the form of 10-year awards ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 each.

This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 40 different cities and towns, and most will receive their grants over two to five years.

The complete list of 130 grant winners is available at

A great deal more information about Cummings Foundation is detailed in Bill Cummings’ self-written business book, “Starting Small and Making It Big: Hands-On Lessons in Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.” The brand-new, and significantly updated, 6th edition is available on Amazon or


About Cummings Foundation
Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. 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

To learn more about MassBay visit

MassBay Community College is ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for two-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England, and #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham, and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded lifelong learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.

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