MissionSAFE works with young people primarily in Mission Hill, Roxbury and Dorchester fwho face multiple obstacles to success, to foster their innate talents and dreams and work with them gain the skills, joy and confidence to thrive, not just survive, and to help make their world a better place.
MissionSAFE offers a safe, nurturing yet challenging environment, a trauma-responsive approach, and growth fostering adult/youth relationships to help youth move away from intergenerational poverty, violence and hopelessness.
“We are beyond thrilled to receive this grant,” said Nikki Flionis, Executive Director. “It is a mark of the Cummings Foundation’s faith in the work we do and the future of the youth with whom we work.”
“This grant,” said Jumaane Kendrick, Director of Program & Partnerships, “come at an important time for us as we are meeting increased need for the work we do and as we are planning for our growth to meet that need.”
According to both Flionis and Kendrick, the grant arrives at a perfect time as MissionSAFE merges the programming and former staff of Dorchester Youth Collaborative, which ceased operations in March 2021, into the MissionSAFE family.
MissionSAFE’s combination of trauma-informed violence prevention, personal growth, and job readiness support has received funding from the Boston Police Department, Boston Department of Public Health, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office as well as numerous foundations, and Flionis and Kendrick hopes the Cummings Grant will further elevate MissionSAFE’s profile and funding support.
The Cummings $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based primarily and serve Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties.
“We aim to meet the needs of people in all segments of our local community.” said Cummings Foundation Executive Director, Joel Swets. “It is the incredible organizations we fund, however, that do the actual daily work to empower our neighbors, educate our children, fight for equity, and so much more.”
With the help of roughly 80 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.
“We have adopted a democratic approach to philanthropy which empowers an impressive roster of dedicated volunteers to decide more than half of all our grant winners each year,” said Swets. “We benefit from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives; they benefit from a meaningful and fulfilling experience; and the nonprofits often benefit from increased exposure and new advocates.
This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including social justice, homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The non-profits are spread across 43 different cities and towns.