FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Public Schools is proud to share that Framingham Adult ESL Plus (FAESL Plus) is one of 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cumming’s Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program.
The Framingham-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. Awarded to the MetroWest ESL Fund, they will receive $25,000 annually, over 10 years.
This fund was created in 1999 by area business leaders to raise money for English classes at Framingham Adult ESL Plus.
FAESL Plus provides English language instruction, life skills training, Citizenship classes, and preparation courses for the High School Equivalency Exam. Their students have come from 38 countries to live or work in MetroWest.
“The grant will help thousands of adult students across the next ten years as they learn to communicate with doctors, their children’s teachers, and find better jobs. It will also fund books, materials, and the technology necessary to continue our online education platform,” notes program Director, Dr. Kevin O’Connor.
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 properties. 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 exculsivley 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 towards a more equitable society.”
With the help of about 90 volunteers, the Cummings 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.
Established in 1984, FAESL Plus provides education and support to those who want to make a successful transition into American society and develop the academic skills necessary to meet their goals. In addition to English classes, they offer a wide range of opportunities for every student, including classes in citizenship, computer technology, family literacy, adult basic education, and High School Equivalency. Their philosophy is to provide each student with the language skills necessary to achieve personal success at home, at work, and in the community. The majority of funding is from State and Federal grants. However, the program is still dependent on community and private donations, as well as fund raising to maintain services. The FAESL Plus program operates as a department of Framingham Public Schools, which provides space and support for the classes.