PRIMARY SOURCE awarded $350,000 Cummings grant

Watertown nonprofit receives 10 years of funding from the Cummings Foundation

Watertown, MA, June 3, 2022 – PRIMARY SOURCE 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 Watertown-based organization was chosen from a total of 580 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $350,000 over 10 years.

Primary Source is an education nonprofit based in Watertown that for 33 years has worked with teachers to foster students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions for thoughtful and engaged citizenship. Our value proposition has always been that we can have the greatest societal impact by working directly with teachers. Since our founding in 1989, we have grown in both scale and depth, now working with more than 2,500 educators each year. 

Hear from Primary Source Executive Director, Jennifer Boyle Nigro: 

We are beyond thrilled that the Cummings Foundation has selected Primary Source to receive this game-changing 10-year grant. Our small but mighty team will be strengthened in its ability to continue creating transformational programs and curricula for teachers in the Cummings communities. This will have an exponential impact on students, whose lives will be transformed by the teachers we serve, and these communities will benefit from a more culturally responsive, tolerant, informed citizenry. Thank you, Cummings Foundation!   

Our society is increasingly polarized as it confronts a national reckoning over issues of racial inequality and social injustice in America. K-12 education and schools have the potential to play a key role in addressing these issues, but many of them have neither the preparation nor resources to fulfill it. We are a trusted resource, with both content area and pedagogical expertise. As a result, we are well-positioned to meet the needs of the moment, and school districts and teachers consistently and increasingly rely on us to write curricula, offer professional learning opportunities, and provide expert consultation. 

This 10-year grant from the Cummings Foundation will allow Primary Source to respond rapidly to the expressed needs of school districts, fulfilling a growing list of requested supports that districts throughout Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties believe we are best equipped to provide. 


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

Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $375 million to greater Boston nonprofits.


Primary Source is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1989 that works to advance cultural responsiveness, global competency, and civic-mindedness in schools. To meet the needs of today’s students, Primary Source collaborates with teachers, schools, and educational organizations to create curricular materials and offer professional learning and consultation that help make global and cultural learning an integral and intentional part of every student’s classroom experience. For more information, visit the Primary Source website at


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


(From the left) Dominique Herard, educator at John D. Pierce School in Brookline, MA, co-leader of her school’s Equity Team, and Associate Director of the Boston Writing Project; Jennifer Boyle Nigro, Executive Director at Primary Source; and Lauren McCormack, Executive Director at Marblehead Museum attending the outdoor event HistoryThon Together, in Marblehead, MA. (2021)
K-12 teachers participating in place-based learning during a Primary Source Summer Institute. (2018)