Thompson Island Receives Major Cummings Foundation Grant

Boston, June 10, 2016 – Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. The Boston-based organization was chosen from a total of 479 applicants, during a competitive review process.


For almost two hundred years, Thompson Island’s core mission has been experiential education and character building for underserved youth. Today, thousands of Boston middle-school students board a Thompson Island ferry in the Boston Harbor to participate in a series of outdoor programs called Connections.  The vast majority of the 2,500 students who will benefit from Connections are from Boston’s most underserved neighborhoods, including Dorchester, Roxbury and Matapan; 75% qualify for free or reduced lunches.  These programs are provided at no cost to the students, their families or schools.


Representing Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, Arthur Pearson, President and CEO and Trustee Cheryl Pinarchick joined approximately 300 other guests at a June 9 reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $140 million to local nonprofits alone.


“To help kids achieve academically, they need opportunities for continued learning outside the classroom. This grant from Cummings Foundation will help us bring students from Boston’s most underserved neighborhoods to Thompson Island for science and social-emotional learning that ignites curiosity and helps them become life-long learners,” said Arthur Pearson, President and CEO


This transformative program is not your average field trip. These children will hike and climb together – activities that develop their confidence and leadership skills. They will study erosion and salinity, examine creatures in the salt marshes, and dissect owl pellets – activities that help them master basic science practices.


And what happens on Thompson Island doesn’t stay on the Island. The curriculum has been created in partnership with Boston Public School teachers to ensure that Island learning can be integrated into the classroom.


The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are not only based in but also primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. This year, the program is benefiting 41 different cities and towns within the Commonwealth.


Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.


“We admire and very much appreciate the important work that nonprofit organizations like Thompson Island are doing in the local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are delighted to support their efforts.”


This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including education, homelessness prevention, elder services, healthcare, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.


The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at


About Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center

Each year, Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center serves thousands of youth from greater Boston with adventurous, rigorous learning experiences that accelerate both academic and social-emotional growth. From a multi-year STEM curriculum to sailing expeditions to summer jobs, time spent on Thompson Island is expanded learning that works, laying the groundwork for children’s success in the classroom, workplace and community.


Founded to serve youth in 1833, and now working with students, teachers and school systems, the 204-acre Thompson Island is a local and national treasure located just one mile from downtown Boston. To augment the impact of philanthropic investments, Thompson Island manages a conference center and unique event facilities that allow the community to enjoy the Island while supporting its youth programming.


About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester. With assets exceeding $1 billion, it is one of the largest foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including two New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date was $50 million to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional information is available at