New headquarters for Arlington EATS, 2022Arlington EATS, at 117 Broadway, E. Arlington.

Arlington EATS is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. It is to receive $90,000 over three years to support its growing work with the Arlington Farmers’ Market (AFM), which opens June 14.

Arlington EATS’ mission is to engage the community in eliminating food insecurity and hunger in Arlington. Arlington EATS operates a number of programs to provide access to food, including:

  • EATS Market, a food pantry and home delivery service designed to foster dignity;
  • School-based programs, including vacation and summer groceries and snacks during the school day;
  • Fresh Bucks, a voucher program at the AFM; and
  • Partnerships with social service agencies and nonprofits that make resources more accessible to food-insecure residents.

The Arlington-based organization was selected from a total of 630 applicants during a competitive review process. 

EATS to partner with Farmers' Market

This month, EATS will assume management of the AFM, which began in 1996 to allow the community to support local farms and enjoy local foods. It is also an important tool for reducing food insecurity because it provides food access through state and local programs like HIP (the Healthy Incentive Program). The Cummings grant will allow EATS to work with the current market manager to sustain the operation of the AFM and ensure that it remains an access point to local fresh foods for all residents, regardless of income. The grant will fund staffing, the creation of new educational materials, and Fresh Bucks vouchers for shoppers who receive SNAP benefits.

“We are so grateful for a Cummings Foundation grant! This three-year grant will allow EATS staff to support the operations of Arlington Farmers’ Market and continue to find ways to make it a place where all neighbors can shop together,” said Andi Doane, executive director of Arlington EATS, in a June 1 news release.

Foundation supports local nonprofits

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and 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.

“The way the local nonprofit sector perseveres, steps up and pivots to meet the shifting needs of the community is most impressive,” said Cummings Foundation Executive Director Joyce Vyriotes in the release. “We are incredibly grateful for these tireless efforts to support people in the community and to increase equity and access to opportunities.”

Volunteers determine grants

The majority of the grant decisions were made by about 90 volunteers. They worked across a variety of committees to review and discuss the proposals and then, together, determine which requests would be funded. Among these community volunteers were business and nonprofit leaders, mayors, college presidents and experts in areas such as finance and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion).

“It would not be possible for the foundation to hire the diversity and depth of expertise and insights that our volunteers bring to the process,” said Vyriotes. “We so appreciate the substantial time and thought they dedicated toward ensuring that our democratized version of philanthropy results in equitable outcomes that will really move the needle on important issues in local communities.”

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including housing and food insecurity, workforce development, immigrant services, social justice, education and mental health services. The nonprofits are spread across 46 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $480 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 1,500 previous recipients, is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.


May 4, 2023: Ribbon-cutting for EATS headquarters held

This news announcement was published Friday, June 2, 2023. based on a news release from Andi Doane of Arlington EATS.