The Boys’ Choir of Saint Paul’s | Harvard Square Receives $100K Cummings Foundation Grant

Students of St. Paul’s Choir School celebrate the receipt of a Cummings Foundation Grant, image by Matthias Ehrhardt

Funds to support choral, music and academic programs for students from underserved, economically challenged communities – The Boys’ Choir of Saint Paul’s Choir School | Harvard Square has been selected as one of 100 local nonprofits to receive a $100K grant from the Boston-based Cummings Foundation. The Cummings Foundation’s $20 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. 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, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of debt-free space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“Receiving a Cummings Foundation grant is a dream come true. The Choir School is a phenomenal education opportunity for boys.  We have been looking for support that will enable us to make this opportunity accessible to more students who are challenged by access to this elite music training experience,” explained Dr. Thomas Haferd, Head of School. “We could not be more pleased that this grant further enables us to provide access for all boys to this incredible school.”

The Boys’ Choir of St. Paul’s | Harvard Square singing during a Christmas Service at St. Paul’s Parish | Harvard Square, image by George Martell

The Boys’ Choir, formed in the true European chorister tradition, is expanding access to its unparalleled choral music and academic programs to students in underserved and economically challenged communities. The grant funds will support outreach expansion to these communities along the north shore’s 128 corridor and in the metro-Boston communities of Mattapan, Roxbury, South Boston and Dorchester. The plan includes provision for school partnerships, introducing more students to the school’s treasured music and tradition while providing financial aid and scholarships for the school’s Summer Music Program. Interested families will be provided free access to concerts.  The school also plans to provide professional development for music educators in the art and tradition of training youth voices.

“We have been impressed, but not surprised, by the myriad ways in which these 130 grant winners are serving their communities, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundations’ executive director. “Their ability to adapt and work with their constituents in new and meaningful ways has an enormous impact in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work.”

Cummings has now awarded more than $280 million to greater Boston nonprofits.

Social distancing requirements will prevent Foundation and grant winner representatives from convening for a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn, as planned, to celebrate the $20 million infusion into greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. Instead, Cummings Foundation expects hundreds of individuals to gather virtually for a modified celebration in mid-June.

The Boys’ Choir of St. Paul’s | Harvard Square singing with Director of Music James Kennerley image by Brian Crowley

The Cummings $20 Million Grant Program resulted from a merger of the Foundation’s two flagship grant programs, $100k for 100 and Sustaining Grants.

The Foundation and its volunteers first identified 130 organizations to receive grants of at least $100,000 each. Among the winners are first-time recipients as well as nonprofits that have previously received Cummings Foundation grants. A limited number of this latter group of repeat recipients will be invited to make in-person presentations in the fall, when public health related circumstances allow, proposing that their grants be elevated to long-term awards. Thirty such requests will be granted in the form of 10-year awards ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 each.

This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. The nonprofits are spread across 40 different cities and towns, and most will receive their grants over two to five years.

The complete list of 130 grant winners is available at

More information about The Cummings Foundation is detailed in Bill Cummings’ self-written business book, “Starting Small and Making It Big: Hands-On Lessons in Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy.” The brand-new, and significantly updated 6th edition is available on Amazon or

To learn more about Saint Paul’s Choir School enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit, call 617-868-8658, or email, or follow St. Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Saint Paul’s Choir School | Harvard Square

Saint Paul’s Choir School (SPCS) is a private all-boys Catholic Choir School, serving students in grades 3 through 8.  Founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier, SPCS is a vital facet of Saint Paul’s Parish in Harvard Square, Cambridge, led by Father William Kelly, Pastor, an alumnus of the school himself.  

Dedicated to providing vigorous academic training and an extensive and unique education in music and liturgy, SPCS accepts musically talented and academically qualified boys ages nine through fourteen for full-time study. Students commute locally from communities in the Metro-Boston region.  Together with committed parents and inspirational teachers, SPCS endeavors to form the faith, character, and intellectual and musical abilities of young men, preparing them for the strongest secondary schools, and equipping them to become virtuous adult leaders.

​Uniquely integrated with music study, the school’s stellar academic offerings give each student a solid foundation in grammar and logic for arts and sciences and provide diverse opportunities for enrichment. The positive influence derived from the study of music on other academics is clearly evident. Classes are small and motivation is high among both students and teachers, making for a lively, energetic and creative classroom environment.​

To learn more about enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit, call 617-868-8658, or email, or follow St. Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.