In 2018, ONT declared Amesbury a Food-Secure City. Through years of building awareness of need, normalizing asking for help, and establishing a flexible, community-based network of food resources, ONT has been able to create and sustain universal access to nutritious food for all Amesbury residents. This 10-year partnership with Cummings will enable ONT to replicate this model across the other 11 towns we serve, reaching over 6,000 individuals each year throughout the second half of the grant term and ensuring food security in our region.
“To be able to project a vision for 10 years out was kind of cool,” said Lyndsey Haight, Executive Director. “When we thought out that far, we realized that by 2029, every one of our communities could be food secure. This grant will allow us to have the resources upfront so we can respond quickly and address needs as they are given to us by the community.”
Lori Townsend, Program Director, and Alice Tonry, Development Associate, represented the nonprofit at a May 2 awards night at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn with the other sustaining grant awardees. There the Foundation shared the following feedback from the Sustaining Grants Selection Committee about ONT.
“The staff and volunteers at Our Neighbors’ Table are knowledgeable and passionate about food insecurity and have an innovative approach to help families and individuals. Its strategic approach is impressive, and its model is replicable. It’s at the forefront of reducing stigma that prevents people from seeking and accepting food assistance. The staff is passionate about their mission, results driven, and willing to think outside the box to reach the people who need them the most. We left the site visit sufficiently wowed.”
The Sustaining Grants initiative builds on Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 program. First offered in 2012, $100K for 100 annually awards $10 million through multi-year grants of $100,000 each to 100 nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties. Grant recipients that received their final grant disbursements in 2018 were automatically considered for $15 million in Sustaining Grants.
“We introduced Sustaining Grants to help alleviate the constant burden of fundraising so nonprofit professionals can spend more of their limited time and resources on actually providing services,” said Christina Berthelsen, grants manager at Cummings Foundation.
Cummings Foundation has awarded nearly $250 million to date in Greater Boston alone. Funds are generated through commercial properties that are owned by, and operated for the sole benefit of, Cummings Foundation. All of its buildings are managed pro bono by Woburn commercial real estate firm Cummings Properties.
Sustaining Grants winners were selected primarily by a 33-member volunteer committee, which included former state legislators, CEOs of local companies, and a retired justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, among many others. Committee members met with each nonprofit twice to learn how the $100K for 100 funds helped to advance its mission, and how it might put a 10-year grant to use.
“We are grateful to the Sustaining Grants Selection Committee, Bill & Joyce Cummings and the Cummings Foundation for this investment in service with dignity and food security,” Haight said.
About Our Neighbors’ Table
Hunger comes in many forms. Our Neighbors' Table's innovative approach to food assistance is aimed at providing flexible, personalized programs to individuals and families living in northeastern Essex County. Guests of Our Neighbors' Table have access to fresh, wholesome food and dignified experiences when and where they need it. ONT’s services include a weekly meal, a weekly market, four community-based mobile markets, a home delivery program, 24/7 emergency food assistance, a summer lunch program for children and their families, and three holiday grocery programs. The ONT grocery programs provided groceries, fresh foods, and toiletries to more than 4,100 individuals in 2018. Every summer, we provide breakfast, lunch and snacks to 1,000 children; each holiday season, we distribute special groceries and turkeys to more than 900 families.
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. Its largest single commitment to date has been to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.