He is Me Institute Receives $90,000 Cummings Foundation Grant

Boston, May 29, 2023 – He is Me Institute (HIM), a Boston-based nonprofit whose mission is to bring more Black males into the teaching profession, is one of 150 nonprofits in 46 Greater Boston towns and cities to receive a 2023 Cummings Foundation grant. HIM will receive $30,000 annually for three years to support its work to bring the “Black male teacher effect” into area classrooms.

Partnering with school districts and colleges, HIM offers programs for Black males to become teachers. Its programs build pipelines for Black male K-12 students to become He is Me Fellows in college then join the teaching profession. After the teacher development fellowship, HIM supports schools to recruit and retain their Fellows while offering professional development to the Black men up until retirement. HIM’s career-long commitment model is unique among organizations working to diversify the teaching force.

“He is Me is excited to be among this year’s recipients of a Cummings Foundation grant, and sincerely grateful to Cummings,” said HIM Founder and CEO Robert J. Hendricks III, a former high school special needs teacher and assistant principal who founded He is Me in 2018.

Hendricks said grant funds will be used to expand HIM programs to additional school districts and colleges over the next three years. “It will support our He is Me Fellows as they prepare for and are placed in teacher training programs, and its impact will reach boys of color throughout our partner schools in Boston and other nearby communities who are mentored by Fellows in our after-school mentoring program,” Hendricks added.

The He is Me Fellowship consists of a yearlong course designed by Black males for Black males who are exploring a teaching career; plus monthly affinity-based seminars facilitated by Black male instructors through HIM’s partnership with the Shady Hill Teacher Training Center. Fellows may implement HIM’s 24-week afterschool mentoring program with males of color in grades K-12. The program model is based on recent research that shows that all students, but especially boys of color, have greater success in school when they have even one Black male teacher. When students do well in school, they are likely to have more prosperous careers, higher incomes, and opportunities to achieve wealth.

The 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. “We are incredibly grateful for these tireless efforts to support people in the community and to increase equity and access to opportunities.”

“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.”

The Foundation and its volunteers identified 150 organizations to receive three-year grants. Winners included first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that had previously received Cummings grants. Twenty-five of the latter group were then selected by a volunteer panel 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 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. 

He is Me Institute’s mission is to ensure that Black male teachers have lifelong access to resources, experiences, and opportunities that support them as they are recruited, retained, and retire as teachers. www.heisme.org

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA. It is now 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. Learn more at www.CummingsFoundation.org.


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