In June of 2014, Ironstone Farm received a $100,000 grant that helped it open the doors to a new Arts & Education Center that is now providing life skills and social engagement to youth and young adults with special needs. Below is an article that ran when the award was made:
Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm has been selected as one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 program. The Andover-based organization was chosen from more than 430 applicants during a very competitive review process.
Ironstone Farm uses the dynamic power of horseback riding and the environment of a farm to combine several therapies into one highly effective experience, serving children and adults with special needs, and a variety of other groups.
Ironstone Farm launched a multi-year capital campaign in 2013 to further improve the farm’s programs and facilities. One aspect of this plan is to renovate a neighboring house and turn it into an Arts and Education Center where people with special needs can learn life skills that may help them to live on their own or earn a job. The Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 grant will support this effort.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with this opportunity! It gives us a real boost in being able to launch a very special new program at Ironstone – one we have been planning for a long time. This grant will enable us to help people with disability in new and innovative ways, using the attributes of a working farm in a real home environment – thus bringing the gains made through the therapy of the horse full circle to achieving real-life skills,” said Deedee O’Brien, Ironstone’s executive director. “We can’t wait to begin – and to be able to share with the people at Cummings Foundation the successes they will make possible for the people we serve.”
Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm is the only Andover nonprofit to be honored with a Cummings $100K for 100 grant this year.
About the Cummings grants
Now in its third year, the $100K for 100 program awards $10 million in grants annually to nonprofits that are not only based in but also primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. This year, the program is awarding 38 grants in Middlesex County, 25 in Essex County, and 37 in Suffolk County.
The community that will benefit from the greatest number of grants is Roxbury, which is home to nine nonprofits receiving awards. Six grants each will be distributed in Beverly, Lawrence, and Woburn.
Through this “place-based” grants program, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of commercial space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.
Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director, said, “Cummings Foundation is very committed to the local communities where the staff and clients of the Cummings organization live and work. We are delighted to support very worthy nonprofits like Challenge Unlimited that are working tirelessly for the benefit of the people they serve.”
This year’s very diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including underserved populations, education, healthcare, hunger relief, and homelessness prevention. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.
Representatives from the recipient organizations were invited to attend an exclusive Grantee Reception on June 2 at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion of funding into greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. The complete list of 100 grant award winners is posted at www.CummingsFoundation.org.
About Ironstone Farm and Challenge Unlimited
Top doctors and medical institutions refer clients to Ironstone because of its success using horses to provide “therapy with more horsepower.”
Children with special needs learn to walk. People who did not speak before – including those on the autism spectrum – begin speaking. Additional therapeutic programs improve the lives of others, including veterans returning with post-traumatic stress, survivors of cancer, teens at risk and elders with memory issues.
Coming to the 19-acre horse farm, rather than an impersonal clinic, makes therapy a “want to” event rather than a “have to” session.
About 200 volunteers each week come and support Ironstone Farm’s therapeutic riding programs because they know their donated work changes lives.
Ironstone Farm launched a multi-year capital campaign in 2013 to further improve the farm’s programs and facilities.
About Cummings Foundation
Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, MA. With assets exceeding $1 billion, it is one of the largest grant-making 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 in North Grafton, MA. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.