Sydni Raymond
May 29, 2024

Exceptional Lives Awarded $75,000 Cummings Grant

Exceptional Lives is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program.

IMG 4554 1
Exceptional Lives CEO and Co-Founder Anne Punzak Marcus and COO Marisa Howard-Karp

MASSACHUSETTS, MAY, 2024 – Exceptional Lives is one of 150 local nonprofits that will share in $30 million through Cummings Foundation’s major annual grants program. The Massachusetts-based organization was selected from a total of 715 applicants during a competitive review process. It will receive $75,000 over 3 years.

Exceptional Lives helps families and schools work together to support children with disabilities by offering training, tools, and resources to improve student outcomes. The grant funds will be used to further our mission of helping families and schools build collaborative relationships with a focus on sharing resources with immigrant and refugee families.

“The Cummings grant is a game-changer that allows us to expand our reach and support more families with children who have disabilities.” said Anne Punzak Marcus, Co-Founder and CEO of Exceptional Lives. “With this funding, we can enhance our outreach efforts and provide crucial resources to those who need it most.”

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. 

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).

“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.”

About Exceptional Lives

Exceptional Lives is a non-profit organization committed to supporting families and educators of children with disabilities so our kids can thrive. We envision a world where families and educators of children with disabilities work in true partnership, supported by systems that create pathways for all children to reach their full potential. More information is available at

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

Enjoying our content? Sign up for our newsletter to receive useful information like this and updates from Exceptional Lives, straight to your inbox.

Or Call844-354-1212

Enjoying our content? Let's stay in touch!

  • Expert disability advocacy & parenting tips.
  • Customized to your needs.
  • No selling your information.
  • No Spam, ever.
What's your relationship to the disability community?