SALEM — A pair of Salem nonprofits are the beneficiaries of grants from the Cummings Foundation's $25 Million Grant Program.

Chosen from a total of 590 applicants, The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association and Root a culinary training school for youths, are among 140 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000. 

Root, which will receive $350,000 over 10 years, was launched with the mission of helping young adults facing barriers to employment to create a pathway to independence and success in the culinary workplace through food service training. So far, it has graduated 11 classes, with more than 240 hours of culinary and workforce readiness training and one year of follow-up support services.

Executive Director M. Scott Knox acknowledges the Cummings Foundation as "one of Root’s most important champions" and said the award "will help provide 3,500 meals annually for those in need, create jobs for youth left out of the workforce, and support local farmers...” It will also, said Root alumni Eboni Williams, now a culinary professional, make sure  "that Root has funding for the next 10 years to hire other alumni to be a part of our work feeding community.” 

This year, a $100,000 grant will also make it possible for The House of the Seven Gables to continue its immigrant settlement work despite steep revenue losses caused by the pandemic.  

Since its start in 1910, The Gables has executed a dual mission — preserve the historic structures on site and create programs that help immigrants establish themselves on the North Shore. Operations depend on the revenue from the house tours and programming, all of which came to a halt last spring.

“The Cummings Foundation saw that the work we normally do with the immigrant community was impossible to continue because our revenue had disappeared,” said Kara McLaughlin, executive director at The Gables. The $100,000 will be paid in two $50,000 installments over two years and be used primarily to fund a new community liaison and programming manager position. "This summer," said McLaughlin, "with the help of the new manager, (we can) work to reinstate or strengthen the settlement’s signature programs — Community Conversations, programs for children, and ESL and citizenship classes — will begin." 

A philanthropic arm of the Cummings real estate business, the Cummings Foundation was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings, and to date has awarded more than $300 million to Greater Boston nonprofits.


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