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DEAFinitely, Inc. Awarded $60,000 Cummings Grant

Updated: May 29

Boston nonprofit receives 3 years of funding from

BOSTON, MA, MAY 29, 2024 – DEAFinitely, Inc. is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Boston-based organization was selected from a total of 715 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $60,000 over three years.

DEAFinitely, Inc. is a Boston-based non-profit that provides access and opportunity to Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, hard of hearing (D/DB/DD/HH) and hearing youth through the performing arts, mentoring and American Sign Language (ASL). Through its Performance Crew, Deaf Youth Council mentoring program, and mental health initiatives, DEAFinitely is  putting ASL and Deaf culture in the forefront of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. 

“Receiving this multi-year grant from the Cummings Foundation will enable DEAFinitely to have a more secure financial base and long term planning for its performing arts and mentoring programs. It will also help our organization to develop a multi-cultural ASL-accessible youth mentor training program as an integral part of DEAFinitely's vision.”
- Jamie Robinson, Founder and Artistic Director of DEAFinitely, Inc.

15 Kids in black t-shirts that say DEAFinitely pose at end of the performance.
DEAFinitely Crew performs at Museum of Fine Arts Boston - May 2024

With funding from Cummings Foundation, DEAFinitely youth will have continued ASL-rich opportunities and access to learn about themselves, the community and ultimately, the world through the medium of dance and mentoring. DEAFinitely will also expand its reach to more families and diverse audiences across Boston. In addition, the organization will develop more meaningful communication equity through awareness training offered to its expanding diverse partners, including schools, universities, museums, foundations, and organizations. 

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program primarily supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, plus six communities in Norfolk County: Brookline, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Quincy, and Wellesley. 

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.

“Greater Boston is fortunate to have a robust, dedicated, and highly capable nonprofit sector that supports and enhances the community in myriad ways,” said Cummings Foundation executive director and trustee Joyce Vyriotes. “The entire Cummings organization is thankful for their daily work to help all our neighbors thrive.”

The majority of the grant decisions were made by nearly 100 community 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).

18 Dance Crew kids posing at the end of their dance in black t-shirts that say "DEAFinitely".
DEAFinitely Crew performance at Museum of Fine Art Boston - May 2024

“We believe strongly that grant decisions will be more equitable when made by a diverse group of community members,” said Vyriotes. “We’re incredibly grateful to the dozens of individuals who participated in our democratized philanthropic process.”

The Foundation and volunteers first identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants of up to $300,000 each. The winners included first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of this latter group of repeat recipients were then selected by a panel of community volunteers to have their grants elevated to 10-year awards ranging from $300,000 to $1 million each.

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 49 different cities and towns.

Cummings Foundation has now awarded $500 million to greater Boston nonprofits. The complete list of this year’s 150 grant winners, plus nearly 2,000 previous recipients, is available at

About DEAFinitely, Inc. 

DEAFinitely, Inc. is a non-profit organization that empowers Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled and hearing youth from a wide diversity of communication, cultural, racial and socio-economic backgrounds to spark social change through mentoring, performing arts and American Sign Language (ASL). Through its programs, DEAFinitely provides opportunities for youth to adopt critical thinking skills; boost communication access to world issues through peer mentoring through the shared language of ASL; and help build self-esteem and a deep sense of belonging which can lead to positive choices and dreams about contributions to the world.

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA 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

Contact: Jamie Robinson, DEAFinitely, Inc., 508-450-9228,

Contact: Alison Harding, Cummings Foundation, 781-932-7093,

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